Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupTraining for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup is in full swing...

Training for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup is in full swing worldwide

Busy times for all the teams in the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup with training taking place all over the globe. Today in Barcelona the French and American teams kept up their relentless training schedule whilst Alinghi Red Bull Racing made another trip, their fifth, to their beautiful base in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for a continuation of their warm-weather two-boat training.

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

For Orient Express Racing Team in Barcelona it was a terrific medium wind day, that built steadily towards 20 knots and was described as ‘champagne’ spring conditions, that allowed the team to put the hammer down and start racing on a short virtual course after intense pre-start practise. The boat-handling is noticeably improving, especially in the key manoeuvre moments and confidence is coming fast despite a down-speed capsize towards the end of the session that was righted in around two minutes – top work from the sailors and the chase boat team.

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

Quentin Delapierre, skipper for Orient Express Racing, seemed pleased with the trajectory the sailing team and the wider team are on, saying: “The big goal for us now is just getting into the racing area and then making the crew used to do tack and gybe inside the boundaries also getting used to the tactical tool and how our timing during the pre-start, so big goals for us so it’s kind of a really good period for us to catch up these kind of goals and it was really good at the beginning, I think the condition and the wind specially was increasing and yeah we handled quite well, was super happy with how we set the boat handling and how we were confident with the tactical tool.”

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

Talking about the slow-speed capsize that saw the AC40 take on a good deal of water, Quentin added: “Those boats are quite difficult to manage when they are slow speed and the wind is quite high, we were like 20 knots and the RIB was on site too, I mean really tricky when the wind is shifting, and we had a ‘slow down’ capsize I would say. I mean it’s part of the game and it’s part of the campaign, we just have to improve a little bit more our process and nothing damaged, it’s all good and we move on.”

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

The skipper also paid a nice compliment to his electronics department when talking about the aftermath of the capsize, saying: “Everything is working well, I think that the electronics department did really well, all the things are waterproof and it’s a good sign for the AC75 that those guys are pushing hard to have a reliable boat and systems and for example today we had a really good recovery after the capsize, all the systems were working so really nice.”

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

With their AC75 ‘BoatZero’ now de-commissioned and all eyes on what’s nestling behind the security gates at their base in the Port Vell, Barcelona, Alinghi Red Bull Racing took the opportunity to fly out for some Red Sea training where their focus can be solely on honing the match-racing skills that will be so important come the Louis Vuitton Cup starting in August. Jeddah has been a fabulous base for the Swiss team and the sharpest of foresightful moves by the Alinghi Red Bull Racing management. There they can really zero-in on the task in hand with few distractions, not too many prying eyes other than the recon team, and almost perfect daily conditions.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Today was hot though and the technicians were onboard on stops to dive down below and check through all the systems for any over-heating. Once sailing, the team set two different J2 jibs where the devil is in the detail of the finishing and the control systems that will be translated up to the team’s ‘BoatOne’ when it launches at the beginning of April. This is perhaps the last time they will sail in Jeddah ahead of the launch although further trips to the Kingdom have not been ruled out…or in…so it’s an important time for the sailing team. Places are very much up for grabs come the crunch and a good performance here is paramount.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

The pressure will come on more than today however, with the team just checking through systems and protocols in very light airs (see activity report below) ahead of what is expected to be an intense week. Arnaud Psarofaghis, very much the figurehead for the team as skipper spoke afterwards saying: “I think we ticked off all the boxes today, we wanted to test the J2 in the mixed range and we just tried to push it as far as we could and then ended up on the J1 and the breeze just died a bit more than expected so we just did a few take-offs under the tow and came back.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Speaking about the debut of the new J2-5, competing against the older version J2-4, Arnaud commented: “The two jibs are really different, they all look the same, but there are small details that will make the difference for the big boat…we’re trying to get every performance that we can get out of the sails but in details I’m not really allowed to say so you will see it next coming on the big boat.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

With so much media and intrigue swirling around what is expected to be the first launch of the second generation AC75 at the beginning of April, this is valuable team-time away from the noise and the sailors look keen to push on with match-race training. Dean Barker and Jason Waterhouse were the opposition today to Maxime Bachelin and Arnaud Psarofaghis so expect fireworks over the coming days. It will be a fascinating watch.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

NYYC American Magic meanwhile continued their two-boat training in Barcelona after a later than expected dock-out due to a mechanical/engineering issue on one of the flaps on the foil of ‘Magic’ – the shore team worked efficiently but with the team wanting to continue the two-boat race training, it was 2pm before the boats got away. What greeted them was incredible conditions off the beachfront with a building afternoon south-westerly breeze and a challenging sea state later on.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Lucas Calabrese was joined again by Harry Melges on ‘Magic’ who seemed to have the best of the day today, despite a big nosedive. In the racing they performed extremely well, nailing the time-on-distance to the starts and looking consistent both upwind and down. With Riley Gibbs and Kyle Langford providing the trim and flight control, this was a good day for what is assumed to be the understudy team. Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison sailing ‘America’ seemed dynamite in spells but had tech-issues in the races.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Team Coach Tom Burnham summed up the day saying: “Today was an amazing day. Barcelona really put on a good show for us today, we started the day with flat water and a good sea breeze built, we had 20/22 knots of wind and out there being able to go race boats head-to-head and pushing really hard on a day with this much wind was really nice. A bit of chop built in the day, but the sea state was pretty flat for the most part and sailed in 18 to 22 knots of wind with a bunch of racing and starting so it was a really great day.”

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Talking about the crew line-ups and the eventual team that will sail on the new AC75, Tom was non-committal saying: “I mean the whole team here is the people that are going to be sailing on the new boat so I wouldn’t read too much into whoever is on which but it’s just the sailing crew that we’ve got at the moment, and we’ll see how it goes moving forward.”

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

The team have been using the simulator extensively to sail the new boat in a virtual environment and it’s clearly a big part of the sailing team’s training now as Tom confirmed, saying: “For sure we’re using the simulator quite a lot for the AC75 to practise racing and just general sailing of the AC75 in the SIM, and so it’s been really beneficial for us, it’s a great tool and something that’s really an important part of the programme so we’ve definitely been integrating a lot of simulator time in with all the other AC40 sailing we’ve been doing here in the training.”

More to come on a busy Friday in Barcelona and more sailing in Jeddah. Stay tuned. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Orient Express Racing Team: OE Racing Team craned their AC40 to the water at 10:20, that had been left with the mast up and out of the shed overnight. The team docked out at 12.00, as planned.

An extra media chase boat with photographers and videographers joined for most of the session.

The LEQ12-J3 and the LEQ12-MN-A mainsail were hoisted while heading out of the harbour at 12:05 and 12:10, respectively, and were the only sails used during the day.

Just before the start of the training, adjustments were made on mainsail´s luff lower part of both skins, possibly on the lowest battens. 

A building south-westerly prevailed during today’s session, providing the best sailing conditions of the last two weeks in Barcelona. For the first forty-five minutes, Orient Express Racing Team warmed up sailing upwind and downwind, doing a few tacks and gybes. The boat captain had to get onboard on two opportunities during this period, to make some adjustments on the lower back part of the mainsail, next to the clew.

By 13:20 the warmup was finished and the AC40 did some “zeros” and “eights” around chase one, intentionally dedicated to media photographers and videographers, so that they could get some close shots.

At 13:30 the team switched into racing mode and did the first upwind-downwind two-lap race with a virtual starting line, marks, and boundaries, performing two to three tacks and gybes per leg.

Right after the start of the second race at 14:05, there was ten-minute break in which there was a battery substitution.

Twenty minutes after, once the replacement was finished, when the AC40 tried to get released from chase one to resume sailing, the boat capsized to the port side. Immediately after, the boat was towed to help to get it head to wind and a few seconds after it was upright. This process did not take more than two minutes. Nevertheless, a lot of water got inside the port side cockpits.

At that point, the team decided to put an end to the training and proceeded to lower both sails. The AC40 entered the port on the tow with no sails at 15.30 and docked at 15:38. The boat was craned out twenty minutes later, indicating the end of the day. Sebastian Peri Brusa – Recon on Orient Express Racing Team

On-Water Recon Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Alinghi Red Bull Racing commenced their fifth trip to Jeddah with the rollout of their AC40-4 (Red) and AC40-7 (Black) at 09:15 and 10:15 respectively, each equipped with One Design appendages.

Other than standard systems checks, a small angle grinder was used in the port cockpit of the Red boat, but it is unclear exactly what was modified. Full LE sail plans were prepared for the day, including the new J2-5 LE jib. GoPros were set up on extensions at the mast head of both rigs.

The team docked out at 12:30, with Arnaud Psarofaghis and Maxime Bachelin at the helm of the Black boat, with Bryan Mettraux and Nico Charbonnier trimming. Phil Robertson and Dean Barker helmed the Red boat, with Jason Waterhouse and Nico Rolaz trimming. Sails were hoisted in the Obhur Creek before being towed out to the Red Sea for the day’s session.

Stint 1 (12:55 – 13:17, 6-9.5kn 210° @ 13:10) Both boats started with free sailing upwind. The Red boat paused to work on sail set-up, dropping and re-hoisting the J2 to fine-tune sail settings. Black continued an upwind/downwind in the meantime.

Stint 2 (13:20 – 13:30) Both boats came together to sail downwind, not in sync, stopping shortly after as techs jumped on board.

Stint 3 (13:36 – 14:10, 7-10kn 200° @ 13:35) The team sailed a long upwind stretch, where both boats executed tacks in sync, followed by split tacks. This led to competitive tacks up to a stationary chase boat at windward, with Red rolling over Black as they touched down during a tack around the chase. Both boats then sailed a long downwind together back to the course start line. The course was set at 210°.

Stint 4 (14:18 – 14:35, 5-7.5kn 200° @ 14:20) With a decrease in wind, Black struggled to take off, as Red managed to fly only briefly after being tow started. Attempts to maintain flight during manoeuvres were unsuccessful, leading both boats to drop their J2 jibs in favour of hoisting the J1-5 LE on Red and J1-4 LE on Black.

Stint 5 (14:54 – 15:16, 4-6kn 190° @ 14:50) Both boats were tow started with Red falling off the foils and Black maintaining flight briefly but touching down during a tack. Despite a successful foiling tack by Black, both boats eventually dropped sails after multiple attempts to foil and towed back to base to conclude the first day of the trip.

The team spent three hours on the water, of which 105 minutes was spent sailing. A total of 55 manoeuvres were observed of the Black boat, achieving an 87% fully foiling rate.

On-Water Recon Report – NYYC American Magic: When we arrived this morning at the American Magic Team base, boat AC40-5 ‘America’ was already afloat, we guess it was rolled out around 9 am and it was craned in around 9:45. AC40-8 ‘Magic’ was not rolled out until 12:40 and craned in at 13.45. According to coach Tom Burnham when interviewed today: yesterday they had some problem with one of the flaps from Magic, they diagnosed it last night and this morning it took longer than what was expected to fix it, but they managed to have Magic sailing on today’s session.

America still had the cameras we commented on the past days, which are installed on the bottom of the side of the hull, a couple of metres forward from the foil arms. No LiDAR devices installed today on any of the boats.

Operations team and sailors made some regular checks on America in the morning, while on Magic they were working on finishing a repair on the one-design starboard foil.

At around 13:30 all crew team involved in the sailing session made a quick debrief and at 13:45 the team from America AC40 docked out. Magic docked out just 15 minutes later.

At 14:00 America had the MC-5 mainsail already hoisted and paired it with a custom jib J3-C-1. When sails were hoisted, she started sailing to the training racecourse that the team had set a bit leeward to Port Olímpic. At that time the wind was around 14 to 24 knots at TWD 220º. Around 14:15 Magic hoisted its MC4 mainsail and paired it with a one design jib J3-4. When sails were hoisted, she went to find America on the training racecourse.

From here the sailing session was conducted as follows:

Stint 1 (14:20 to 15:05): Warm up for the two AC40s with some lines up and down, manoeuvres and stops to verify that all systems were running correctly.

Stint 2 (15:05 to 15.30): Magic went for one pre-start exercise while waiting for America to join. Just after Magic finished the exercise, America joined, and they went for another pre-start exercise together. Magic crossed the line first on port tack and America after on starboard tack. They both managed to start at the right moment and equal. They raced for one lap on an upwind / downwind course and stopped after rounding the downwind gate mark. Magic won the race.

Stint 3 (15:30 to 16:25): The team moved the course a bit more offshore as there was plenty of people windsurfing around and it was feeling a bit dangerous to sail around them. While doing that Magic was practicing some pre-start moves and went into a heavy nosedive. They broke the bow Windex and had to replace it. When fixed, both boats started sailing together back to the start line and proceeded with another pre-start. As before, Magic went into the box first on port tack and America some seconds after on starboard tack. Something happened to America that lost foiling some seconds before the start and only Magic managed to start on time in that exercise. America stopped and Magic also stopped after a short upwind and downwind line. They both changed batteries @16.25.

Stint 4 (16:25 to 18): The first half an hour for this stint was focused on changing batteries, some maintenance and a debrief at each AC40. At 17:05 they went for another pre-start and came into the box in the same order than before. Magic won the start and they continued into a two laps race which was also won by Magic.

At 17:36: they go for the fourth pre-start of the day (together). America came into the box first on port tack and Magic on starboard tack. After a nice battle in the box, they managed to start on time with Magic leeward to America. They did one upwind to the top gate, downwind to the bottom gate and final upwind to port. This race was also won by Magic.

Dock-in was completed at 18:20 for Magic and 18:25 for America.

In summary: America today foiled for 130 minutes, performed around 75 manoeuvres: 80 % fully foiling and Magic foiled around 150 minutes, performed around 81 manoeuvres: 80 % fully foiling. Both did 4 prestart together (Magic +1 alone) and 3 upwind / downwind courses against each other. Jose Piñana AC Recon

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