Monday, May 13, 2024
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NYYC American Magic Return to Business

The dockside chatter is ablaze at the moment in buzzing Barcelona. The reveal of the Alinghi Red Bull Racing AC75 kicked it off, followed quickly by the arrival of the INEOS Britannia and Orient Express Racing boats by low-loaders over the weekend fuelling the intrigue further. With the unbelievable sight of the NYYC American Magic AC75 coming in by air freight on an Antonov AN-124-100 – and wow, the denizens of the lively cafés and bars dotted around the Port Vell have had plenty to muse over.

Keeping a lid on the excitement is the job of the coaches and team leaders, so today for NYYC American Magic, it was back to business out on an ugly Barceloneta sea state and a breeze that teased, delivered and then faded to zero all in the space of three hours. With the breeze banging around the east-north-east across to the north-north-east where the waves were coming from, this was a tough day for the two American AC40s who struggled to build in any kind of consistency.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

From a recon perspective there was some interesting detail on the custom MC-5 mainsail with all eyes trained on the mainsheet control system panelling at the aft end of the sail. America today had a squared off finishing, as opposed to Magic’s more sympathetic, and arguably aesthetic, curvature and it was interesting to note the application of tell-tales on this ‘flap’ – one for the drone to pick up no doubt as there was little chance for the trimmer to arch his head back and spot windshifts on the tell-tales. Pure flow analysis is certainly the game here, to be analysed by the sail tech team shoreside.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

After an interminable hour’s wait close to the harbour for the breeze to settle, finally the team got going just before midday and it wasn’t long before the J1s were over-powered making a change down inevitable. More time lost but once flying, it was a series of straight-line speed testing followed by one quick pre-start that Lucas Calabrese and Harry Melges on Magic looked to ace. Pretty soon after, it was another wind shut-down and the team called it a day. Short yes, sweet no, but valuable all the same.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, the fast-coming star of many an America’s Cup to come, Harry Melges, spoke to the recon and was asked how close the team are to nailing their pre-start playbook after so much training in recent weeks: “I’m not quite sure to be honest, we’re never going to completely nail our pre-start playbook but we’ve been putting a lot of focus into it in the last few weeks and spending a lot of time in the simulator trying to do that as well so yeah it’s been good, we’re learning a lot and progressing a good amount.”

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

It’s been noticeable how well the Melges/Calabrese connection has clicked over the past couple of weeks and once again, it was fabulous to see Puig Women’s America’s Cup sailor Sara Stone, trimming behind Harry on the port side of Magic. The integration of the Youth and Women sailors fully into the American Magic team, aross multiple disciplines both on the water and shoreside, right from the outset of the campaign, has been peerless.

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Harry expounded on what sailing in a messy sea-state in marginal conditions is like saying: “On a day like today, it’s really tricky to keep the boat in the air so you can be as special as you want with all your strategies in the pre-start but really the most important thing is just keeping the boat flying, so that was the biggest focus for today.”

© Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Eyeing the reveal of Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Harry echoed the sentiment of the Port Vell gossip when asked what he thought, saying: “It’s a cool looking boat, be cool to see it sailing…it’s definitely pretty interesting.” But he couldn’t contain his excitement at what was hiding in the NYYC American Magic shed just a few metres away, adding: “We’re super, super, excited it’s been really cool seeing the boat, Boat 3, arrive on the base and seeing it being put together in the shed, and I can’t wait to see it on the water.”

Not long now until Barcelona will be the scene for some of the most incredible boats ever created by mankind to strut their stuff. The tension is rising and the expectation is tangible. The race for the Louis Vuitton 37thAmerica’s Cup feels very, very, real now. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – NYYC American Magic: AC40-5 ‘America’ was craned in at 08:20 h and AC40-8 ‘Magic’ craned in 25 minutes after. Dock out at 10:25am with Sara Stone onboard as the port side trimmer on Magic again.  At 10:35am both boats started hoisting their mainsails: MC-5 for America and MC-4 for Magic paired them with a J1 custom jib on America and J1 one design jib on Magic. Just as they finished hoisting the sails, the wind dropped. A big and messy sea state was found today so both AC40s waited inside the harbour until the wind increased again as per the forecast prediction. After waiting for 1 hour, a nice wind of about 8-12 knots TWD 80º started blowing around 11:45am, so both America and Magic started sailing.

From there, the sailing session proceed as per the following stints:

Stint 1 (11:45am to 12:10pm): America started sailing first and did a 5 minutes upwind with four tacks as a warm-up and then sailed downwind to meet Magic and when got close, both started an upwind speed test on starboard tack. After a few minutes they tacked and continued the speed test on port tack. It looked like both boats were struggling to sail with the J1 with the big messy waves, so they decided to stop and replace for the J2s (both custom).

Stint 2 (12:10pm to 13:00pm): The wind was about 8-15 knots TWD 70º. After replacing the jibs, both boats did a small upwind to trim the boat settings to the new jib and then went to the starting line that was set by one of the chase boats from the team in front of the Port Olímpic.

They performed one pre-start exercise. With such waves America and Magic, were taking some distance in between them at the pre-start manoeuvres. If Magic was on time, she won that start over America, and after crossing the line they went for a small upwind and came back to proceed with the next start. Suddenly the wind dropped to 3-5 knots TWD 55 º and as the forecast was also not very promising, the team decided to tow back to port. Dock in was complete at 13:30pm.

As a summary Magic and America foiled for 55 minutes, America performed 13 tacks and 12 gybes, Magic around 7 tacks and 12 gybes and they both made 1 pre-start. Jose Piñana AC Recon

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