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Alinghi Red Bull Racing Achieves Tow-Test and Sail Launch Milestones with New AC75

Another milestone day for Alinghi Red Bull Racing who not only managed to foil tow-test their stunning new AC75 but later in the afternoon also launched and sized the sails. Although they didn’t actually sail, everything is now ready for that first moment, coming soon, when the sheer power of the latest generation Swiss America’s Cup boat is unleashed. For NYYC American Magic it was another day of high-octane training marred by the presence of debris that curtailed their session.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

The Swiss are certainly signalling their methodical intentions in this cycle with the roll-out and launch being monitored by the technicians and every aspect being checked and double-checked over two hours on the dock. With so much new equipment onboard to commission it’s a prudent approach and it was early afternoon by the time the Chase Boat was called in to deliver the first proper towing session. Out along the Barceloneta beachfront, at around 16 knots, the foil flaps were tweaked and up she rose beautifully, looking stable in flight as the sailors and technicians checked through the dynamic controls.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

After two stints that took up half an hour, the team returned to dock with confidence and prepared the new M1-1 mainsail and two legacy jibs to set just inside the harbour basin for first fit. Speaking afterwards Rodney Ardern, the Sailing Team Manager seemed pleased with what the team achieved today saying: “We could have done one more jib, but the day was dragging on and the guys are confident they got enough information about the sizing of the first two jibs so yeah it wasn’t quite the full list but pretty much all of it.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

And seeing the boat on foils for the first time, Rodney commented: “I think that was pretty exciting for everyone, it looked spectacular, of course the first take-off was straight into the waves so a little bit challenging but managed to get it up and probably a harder ride was on the chase boat than it was on the yacht so they looked pretty comfortable there and yeah the feedback so far is good… “I think everyone’s looking forward to the next day when hopefully we can actually sheet the sails on rather than just test them for size in the harbour.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

A lot of attention is being paid to the mainsheet systems on the new generation AC75s but what we saw today was a continuation of the work the Swiss completed on their first gen boat, confirmed by Rodney saying: “Actually it’s the same system we had on BoatZero so it’s exactly the same…the idea was for the systems we could develop on that boat and use and test up to the loads then we will do that and yeah it’s one of those pieces we’ll stick with.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Forecast isn’t looking great for Barcelona tomorrow so the first proper sail of Alinghi Red Bull Racing may well be delayed to later in the week where all eyes will be on just how good this radical design performs. Stay tuned.

On-Water Recon Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Another full day for Alinghi Red Bull Racing saw the Swiss Challenger rig, launch, tow test its new AC75, as well as trying a new mainsail and a couple of legacy J2 headsails for size. The boat was rolled out of the hangar at 0945 – 15 minutes later than scheduled – with the mast stepped by 1013 and set up by 1030 ahead of launching at 1038. A couple of hours of on-the-dock testing and set-up followed before the boat was declared ready to leave the dock.

The Swiss AC75 left the harbour at 1250 on a bow tow and – despite a short opposing 0.5 metre chop – it was soon up on its foils at an estimated take-off speed of around 16 knots. After 10 minutes of towing, the crew made a short stop for technical checks before setting off on a 20-minute tow to the north. After a second 10-minute stop for more checks, the boat was off again on foils on the way back to the harbour. Immediately after docking-in, the boat and support RIBs were quickly loaded with sails before a second dock-out 15 minutes later. After towing to the nearby harbour basin, a new M1-1 mainsail was set up and slowly hoisted. The set-up of this sail took an hour before the sail was put under load. With the mainsail set-up complete, the crew moved on to hoisting and checking two legacy headsails (J2 1L and J2 2L).

Sails were dropped at 1715 with the boat back on the dock at around 1730. No sailing or boat movements are scheduled for tomorrow Thursday April 18th.

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