Monday, May 13, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupEmirates Team New Zealand Tests New AC75 in Agile Training Session

Emirates Team New Zealand Tests New AC75 in Agile Training Session

The third day of training for Emirates Team New Zealand down in Auckland on a flat calm Hauraki Gulf was perhaps the most interesting as the sailors began to throw the boat around and put it through its paces over short laps. What we’re seeing is a boat that’s highly manoeuvrable and in the very light has the agility to just stay on the foils where the previous generation would have sunk to displacement.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Clearly the focus is on bedding-down both the control and power systems and starting the long evaluation of sails with the huge variety of pre-sets that AC teams deploy. For the teams into their second AC75 campaigns, such as the Kiwis, the process is slightly foreshortened as legendary sail designer Burns Fallow commented: “Not quite as steep as the last campaign, that was that wasn’t a curve that was a mountain, but still every boat is new, everybody’s different, always learning and you know that’s kind of cool.”

In the light summer breeze today, the team started with a tow out of the harbour before dropping and then trying to get sailing. It didn’t last long with the breeze sub 5 knots but on a day that was punctuated by stop-start sessions, eventually there was enough to get on the foils without assistance. Gradually the wind built through the long afternoon, maxing out at around 12 knots and by then the call had been made to drop down to a J4 which they easily carried in the conditions.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Noticeable today was the vast plumes of spray that the leeward foil arm was kicking up at the intersection with the water at various ride heights. The team will be using legacy arms so this will be an area of big improvement and the legacy wings, with their reduced span from what is allowed, certainly restrict the performance profile. Therefore these days really are all about getting comfortable with the new boat and seeing where the obvious developmental areas lie. Peter Burling was out of his pod on several occasions checking in with Nathan Outteridge and Blair Tuke and looking animatedly at the mainsail skins. Recon today caught dockside images of the very neat mainsail traveller with its below deck-ram that really clears up the clew down low and it’s a trend we will see elsewhere for sure as the other boats come onstream.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Burns Fallow confirmed the outlook for these sessions when asked whether the legacy foil package is informing the sail trim, saying: “Not really I mean if you look at mainsails we only get to build six mainsails in total so we’ve really got to think about what the right main is for when we actually get the full package together, but I mean obviously we’ve got all the systems and methods we’re going to be using so that’s what we’re targeting.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

With a relatively small sail inventory allowed, these first iterations will no doubt be used extensively for training before the race sails emerge as Burns commented on their lifespan saying:  “We don’t know that yet, I mean we’re only three days in on this and you know this main will obviously inform what we do with our next ones, but there’s a reasonable cycle of design and manufacture and then finishing them and so you got to think about how you programme all of that and for us it’s relatively simple because our target date’s whatever it is, October, but for the challengers it’s a little tricky because they’ve got to negotiate their way through a challenger series first as well.”

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

The team came ashore just before 4pm having completed 15 tacks and 12 gybes, the majority foil-to-foil – their longest day on the water so far in the new boat. Another vital, valuable session for the defenders of the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Emirates Team New Zealand: Day 3 for Emirates Team New Zealand’s new AC75 started with a very light south-westerly breeze. The boat rolled out of the shed at 8:40 am, and the team started the now-standard setup procedure. However, having some problems manoeuvring the boat under the crane as there had been some lifting equipment breakdown. Leaving the dock at 11:00am, the team towed down the harbour and out towards Rangitoto Lighthouse.

Hoisting M2 and J2 just south of Rangitoto Lighthouse around 11:15, the team spent about 40 minutes rigging up on the water and getting all the systems tuned up and ready to start sailing. In very light conditions, Chase 1 proceeded to tow the AC75 onto the foils, hoping to build some apparent wind and start sailing; however, as the sailors sheeted on and dropped the tow, they quickly found themselves back in the water, not being able to sail under their own steam. A quick 5-minute break, and the team felt they had enough wind to pop without the tow. Successfully popping onto the foils and sailing out of the harbour down the northern side of Rangitoto Island.

The team spent 10 minutes sailing mainly on port while it could be seen that some of the sailors were walking around onboard the yacht, checking over systems. After a few manoeuvres, the team came out of a tack and proceeded to touchdown and come to a stop. Chase 1 came alongside, and the shore crew boarded the yacht, spending about 20 minutes stopped.

The team then went for a 25-minute sailing session, completing working back towards Takapuna Beach and running down the northern side of Rangitoto Island. Spending time working through manoeuvres. Coming out of a tack, they touched down and proceeded to stop. With Chase 1 alongside, a cyclor swap was completed as well as a change to the Jib head lashing. Stopping for 15 minutes.

Starting sailing around 1:00 pm after the crew change, the team went for another few windward-leeward laps. In the still down-range conditions, the team touched down out of a gybe; however, managing to quickly regain speed and pop onto foils. After roughly 24 minutes of sailing, the team stopped sailing again as they fell off the foils during a round-up. They then completed a Jib change, changing down to the J4, and while this seemed a strange call at the time as the team started sailing again, the wind was building from 6-8 up to around 12 knots.

Sailing again well-powered on the J4, the team went for a longer downwind run then working back upwind towards Rangitoto Lighthouse, spending more time on each board, and completing a few less manoeuvres. Another 20-minute sailing session, the team stopped for about 15 minutes. Not seen making any changes to the yacht.

After this last break, the team started working on some practice starts using one of the permanently laid race marks as the pin and the rest vital marks. They completed 2 starts each with a short 2-lap windward-leeward. Sailing back into the harbour after the last upwind. Dropping sails just east of North Head and heading into the dock.

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