Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupAlinghi Red Bull Racing Takes Advantage of Training Opportunities in Jeddah

Alinghi Red Bull Racing Takes Advantage of Training Opportunities in Jeddah

In Jeddah, with temperatures soaring at 36 degrees, the wind took its time to fill in the afternoon, but Alinghi Red Bull Racing got some serious pre-start and short course training under their belt with some great playbook tactics on display.

One team that knows all too well just how hard it is to climb that trajectory is Alinghi Red Bull Racing who are living, breathing, snorting proof that time on the water is the absolute key to success. Out in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sailing from their wonderful Obhur Creek base, it was a compelling light air session that pitted Arnaud Psarofaghis and Maxime Bachelin against the hired guns oozing with experience and class of Dean Barker and Phil Robertson.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

On balance the ‘young guns’ had the best of the day once again and showed some superb technique to keep on the foils and when engaged, some really mature match-racing skills. One beautiful sequence caught on camera was an anti-sync lead-back into the line with the chasing boat ducking as the lead boat luffed. Expect to see plenty of this come the Louis Vuitton Cup – and in AC75s! It’s electric to watch even in the AC40s.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

The weather in Jeddah was the issue today. The region has been hit with a heatwave topping 36 degrees (Yves Detrey no doubt is more than happy – he likes warm weather sailing) but the technicians were onboard monitoring the heat generation and unfortunately the wind didn’t quite filter in as much as the team had hoped with the majority of the session conducted in just 5-9 knots of breeze.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Julien Pilate, the always affable Sail Designer for Alinghi Red Bull Racing gave an interesting interview talking through the sail programme, always looking ahead with one eye to the AC75 ‘BoatOne’ that will launch soon in Barcelona. With both boats running slightly different J1 jib plans, Julien commented: “I guess we are playing a bit with the size, you know with the AC75 rules you are able to play with the area but also the luff length, so the J1 we had today is part of the development. We had one pretty recent J1 and another one was a bit older and it’s just a continuation of the sail development that we had for the big boat and that’s what you’ve seen today… you might have noticed the J2-5 has one more batten so we play a bit with some sail design tricks to see what was the impact on the flying shape and how the sail was behaving aerodynamically so those feedbacks for us are really important for the sail of ‘BoatOne’ that we’re about to launch and we’re pretty close to submit a few designs for ‘BoatOne’ so it was good feedback.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Talking about the sail programme overall, an area that Alinghi Red Bull Racing have wisely invested a lot of testing time to, Julien commented: “I think it’s good learnings. So far we have managed to learn a lot from those sails and especially to have two boats I think for us was really good learning and we can have direct feedback, there is no way to lie, that’s usually what’s happening on the water – you compare one boat to another and if one is performing better you can draw your own conclusion.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

With speculation around the design features of the, as yet, unseen new boat that is being prepared back in Barcelona, Julien responded to suggestions around the deck/sail connection with a very interesting answer: “The pressure distribution around the sails through the hull design is something that we’re all looking at, even an AC40 has some aero devices that are announcing this part so yeah it’s in the design brief and yeah for sure we will see some of those aero features on the boat.”

Make no mistake, the race for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup is ramping up and we are just days away now from seeing the pinnacle of foiling yacht design from some of the greatest designers, engineers and scientists in the world. Are you getting excited yet? We are. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s continued their Jeddah trip with the AC40-7 (Black) and AC40-4 (Red) rolled out at 09:15 and 09:40 respectively. After standard systems checks, both boats docked out at 12:00, full LE sail plans. J1 sails were hoisted, with a LE J2’s and J3’s on each chase boat. The crew combination remained the same, but on a different boat to yesterday.

Stint 1 (12:23 – 12:44, 5-8kn 295° @ 12:20) The Red boat set off alone while Black continued with setups, stopping briefly to adjust jib sheet position on the clew board. Black then joined, as they began sail testing upwind then downwind.

Stint 2 (12:55 – 13:46, 5-8kn 290° @ 12:50) The team set off on a long upwind, with 20 fully foiling tacks observed of the Red boat, up to and round a stationary chase boat to windward. Red undershot the layline and pinched to make the rounding, but fell off the foil in the process, allowing Black to catch up and round cleanly, escaping downwind. Red was recorded taking off at 18 knots, before turning downwind to join Black for split gybes to the course start line. The course was set at 290°. Once the boats were at a stop, techs jumped on board to attend to issues on the Black boat, perhaps due to the heat.

Stint 3 (14:12 – 15:14, 4-6kn 290° @ 14:15, 5-9kn 290° @ 14:50) With a decrease in wind, the yachts struggled to maintain flight, despite multiple tow start attempts. Three starts were run, with Black entering on port. Start 1 saw Black maintain flight as they entered the start box but touched down while tacking back to the line a long distance away, which consequently saw them start far behind Red, who sailed close to the line in displacement mode from before the two minute signal. Start 2 saw both boats flying as the wind increased, with Black winning the start after pushing Red over the line and off the foils. The third start continued into a race, which was won by Red, who led from start to finish.

Stint 4 (15:25 – 15:42, 4-6kn 280° @ 15:30) The wind decreased again, as both boats were tow started and another start was attempted. Red fell off the foils while Black maintained flight and started on time, but touched down on the first tack at the boundary. Both boats continued to race upwind in displacement mode, but the race was abandoned, and sails were dropped to end the day.

The yachts were towed back to base and the team docked in at 16:00, with both boats craned out by 16:45. The team spent four hours on the water, with 150 minutes spent sailing (including towing). 77 manoeuvres were observed of the Red boat, achieving a 91% fully foiling rate, despite the light wind conditions and a fairly flat sea state with a small wind chop.

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