Monday, April 22, 2024
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Magic Moments on the Water

It was getting into the afternoon, but persistence and patience paid for the hard-driving NYYC American Magic Team who docked-out into flat water with the promise of building breeze and sea state to get some valuable race-time on the water with the team’s two AC40s featuring upgraded sails.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Only a minor upgrade but the bigger windows on both the mainsail and jib will have aided the two-boat session that was marked by its intensity. Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison were all muscle on short start-lines, applying the pressure to Lucas Calabrese and Harry Melges at every opportunity. In the end, as is so often the case in match-racing, honours were pretty even and plenty of take-aways for all.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

The off-set sea-state over a south-south-westerly breeze did build but nothing the team couldn’t handle and as soon as the anemometer starting to read above 8 knots, the AC40s were flying beautifully. Still plenty of work to be done in the pre-start arena with the odd falls off the foils negating races and the issue does seem to be around pressure moves where crew co-ordination between the helms and trim teams needs to be super accurate. The learning curve though is steep with this team who are buoyed by the arrival of their raceboat and are all itching to get it launched, commissioned and get sailing.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

The American team have a few more planned days this week and are eyeing a positive weather window to keep the practice up and the intensity high. Kyle Langford spoke to the recon team afterwards and summed the day up saying: “We left the dock at 2:00pm and it took quite a bit of time for the breeze to build. The forecast was a little up in the air but fortunately we got some breeze in the end and we set out in about 7 to 12 knots and the breeze was a little bit further left as a typical sea-breeze direction, but we managed to get some good racing in, couple of pre-starts and it was a little confused with the sea state which made things a little bit difficult, particularly when the breeze was on the lighter side, but overall it was a good day.”

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Talking about the roles on the boat and definition of those roles which will be highly customisable on the AC75, Kyle added: “That’s something we’re still playing around with. For this whole period we’re trying to figure out how to configure the AC75 which is in the shed behind us here. A big part of it is how do we split the roles up and that’s something that we’re still testing between the two boats. And each race we can kind of change the configuration as to who’s doing what because we’ve got quite a lot of functionality on the boat in each position. It makes it difficult to get some consistency with the racing because you see, a couple of times, we do a manoeuvre and we fall off the foil and that’s just a bit of the nature of getting used to the position and the sequence of how you pull off that manoeuvre.”

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

The addition of the increased sized windows certainly seemed to allow for closer pre-start action and some very tight crosses today and Kyle seemed more than pleased with the upgrade, saying: “The visibility on these boats is not great, particularly when you have split helmsman as well and so it just kind of helps visually see the other boat which we know is important in a pre-start as well so you know with match-racing.”

Plenty more to come from NYYC American Magic this week who look settled, calm, well-ordered and prepared. Many people’s pick to go deep at the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup, this is a challenge to watch. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – NYYC American Magic: AC40-8 ‘Magic’ was craned in at 12.20pm and AC40-5 ‘America’ craned in 20 minutes after.  When alongside, sailors and engineers made some regular checks to be sure everything was in perfect condition before the sailing session. America had what we guess is a new camera or scanner located over the hatch from the bow deck.

In the dock we saw Severin Gramm, who has an injury to his right hand and it looked like he will have some weeks off before he will be able to sail. We could see also Steph Roble from the Women’s Team, helping step the masts on the AC40’s and later onboard the chase boat. After a short briefing from all the team involved in the sailing session the team proceed with the dock out at 14:00. 

At 14:10 both boats start hoisting their mainsails: MC-4 for America and MC-5 for Magic. The wind came in around 15:45 with 5-8 kn TWD 200º. At that moment, both AC40’s hoisted their jibs: J1.5 C-2 for America and J1.5 C-1 for Magic. According to the latest component declaration, mainsail MC-4 and jibs J1.5 C1 & C2 were modified. We could see new windows installed at the three sails but anything else could not be appreciated from the chase boat.

At 15:55 they started sailing:

Stint 1 (15:55 to 16:25): Once foiling both AC40’s got into test speed positions and went into an upwind leg on starboard. After approximately 5 minutes they bore away into a downwind and kept speed testing with 4 gybes. After arriving to a start line, set by the team, they started going upwind again in race mode performing multiple crossings between each other (5-6) until arriving to a top mark set at one mile (approx. from the starting line). After rounding the mark, they got back to the start line in 2 gybes for Magic and 1 gybe for America.

Stint 2 (16:25 to 16:40): They performed three pre-starts and then after they stopped for a quick 5-10 minute briefing with their respective chase boat.

Stint 3 (16:40 to 17:15): At that time the wind was around 7 to 12 knots TWD 220º. They proceed with five pre-starts. We could see great fights in between both boats, especially when they were approaching the line on the same tack, the fight was getting more and more intense, we could see very aggressive manoeuvres of bearing and luffing one against the other. At some starts they both managed to start with great speed and well positioned to each other, at one of them they got too early (especially Magic) and at others it was one of them (sometimes Magic, sometimes America) who clearly was winning the start.

After the last start America sail back to port and Magic stopped for 5-10 minutes to sort something with her chase boat. Sails were dropped around 17:40 h for America and 17:50 for Magic. Dock in was done around 18:00. Jose Piñana AC Recon

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