Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupIntensive Training Session for Emirates Team New Zealand in Perfect Conditions

Intensive Training Session for Emirates Team New Zealand in Perfect Conditions

The Hauraki Gulf served up some more perfect conditions of 12-18 knots of building south-westerly breeze for Emirates Team New Zealand to conduct a short, but highly intensive session concentrating on pre-start shadow-boxing against a virtual opponent and some big technique mark roundings putting their LEQ moded AC40 into some deeply uncomfortable positions.

Another day, another upgrade with the Defenders of the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup rolling out their AC40 with a modified port foil arm. Gone was the “not the best looking” forward protruding, anvil-shaped aero-bomb at the top of the foil shoe, replaced by a more conventional design with the weight corrector trailing smoothly aft but still with the requisite sculpted camera mounted on the middle of the foil looking both at the inner and outer foil arm. Plenty of thought going on in this area by the design office.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

On the water it was all business for Peter Burling and Nathan Outteridge as they refine the communications within a tight starting box where the concentration appeared to be on accuracy but also flight control in the ducking and diving on the final time-on-distance into the line. What the Kiwis look to be nailing is fast execution out of the scalloping with higher exit speeds and this could be crucial in the match-racing to come. Blair Tuke and Andy Maloney have an uncanny knack of keeping the boat flat and fast as their helms adjust course with only occasional ride height misdemeanours or slight broaches. Impressive to watch and some of the single board round-ups at the leeward gate were quite simply akin to combination boxing sequences, requiring the highest level of co-ordination.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Upwind, the Kiwis do look to have a fast-tacking procedure where they appear to rock the boat to leeward just ahead of the tack to induce a very fast turn followed by windward heel on the exit to keep maximum power on. Again, efficiency in the details and accuracy of the execution are the by-words of this training. The day was cut short by a small electronics issue and the team were back on the dock after a two and a half hour session.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Blair Tuke summed up the day saying: “We just had a little issue at the end, an electronic issue, so we’ve got a lot going on back at the base, probably could’ve worked through it but just thought we would be efficient and get back in. So all in all a good day, we got what we wanted out of it so it was part of the reason why we just called it at the end there so yeah another pretty short session, they’ve been mostly really short recently, not long now until we get into that two boats sailing when our other AC40 gets back from Jeddah finally, so we just put a few marks down just really getting those systems and processes back in place more sort of behind the scenes stuff to make sure we get some efficient racing coming up over the next few weeks.”  

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Asked about racing against the computer or racing around marks on the water, Blair added: “A bit of both, sometimes you’ll see us going around virtual marks while getting a course set-up or something, we only had a couple of marks today, and then there was no channel marks to line up so yeah we use software a bit but also it’s nice when you get the visual map of all the physical marks, you can see where you’re going a little bit more but it was good for the whole team to start back into that, it’s been a little while since we’ve done that…so yeah it’s good to get that started again and hopefully it can lead towards some good training over the next few weeks.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Addressing the fact that the team haven’t been on the water quite as much recently, Blair commented: “We’ve got other priorities going on the moment so we’ve mostly got through what we wanted to on the water so just focusing back inside the building a bit more and there will be a bit more time come out on the water in the next few weeks or months but at the moment most of our focus is inside and just checking on a couple of things on the water.”

Good session from the Kiwis and potentially two more sessions for this week on the water, weather permitting. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: Day 70 of LEQ12 sailing. Standard rigging procedures and crane in around 10:30 a.m., the team set up for the day. Recon observed that the addition to the port foil arm had been removed. Running through some standard dock checks, they departed at 11 a.m. towing down the harbour.

Hoisting the M2 and J3 sails under the lee of North Head, the team proceeded to sail out towards the northern shoreline of Rangitoto. With flat water and a building south-westerly breeze, the team sailed a few quick windward-leewards. Chase 1 set up a start line with 2 marks in the water.

The team set out working on some starting manoeuvres involving some aggressive roundups and bear-aways, with a range of board combinations. After the “start,” the team was sailing a simulation race using the start line as a bottom gate. Recon observed many different combination manoeuvres such as late gybe into the bottom gate and tack bear-aways at the top mark.

Just before 12 p.m. the team stopped for a drinks break and removed the outboard sensors. Starting sailing again, they got back into the same drills seeming to really be focusing on start manoeuvring. Completing another 3 starts and 2 lap windward/leewards around a virtual top mark.

During an upwind lap the team completed a tack bear-away early gybe combination falling off the foils out of the gybe then coming to a stop. Then after about a 20-minute break the team dropped sails and headed in for the day. Towing in from the northern shore of Rangitoto back to the base.

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