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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupAlinghi Red Bull Racing Pushes Forward with BoatOne Commissioning in Tricky Conditions

Alinghi Red Bull Racing Pushes Forward with BoatOne Commissioning in Tricky Conditions

Blue skies, flat water, temperate air and a light breeze that barely registered above 8 knots made Saturday afternoon in Barcelona a tricky prospect for Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s continued commissioning of BoatOne. In conditions that would have been un-sailable in ‘BoatZero’, they made the best of it in the AC75 they’ve internally nicknamed as the ‘Batmobile’ that certainly appears to have all the firepower of its comic creation.

Light, nimble and very responsive, Alinghi Red Bull Racing was towed around the immediate vicinity off the harbour, looking for breeze lines and when they came it was easy-flight that was achieved with a dial into the wind and the boat popping on her large foils, staying up for extended periods over the three-hour session. One observation is just how bow-down she looks in flight whereas with the Italians and Kiwis the bow profile barely skims the water. The chine was certainly in evidence today and seems a logical addition for the sailing profile. It will be interesting to see how she goes in wind and sea-state.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Adolfo Carrau, the key Design Co-Ordinator who has interfaced so superbly between the sailors and the design office, gave his overview on the milestones the team are hitting at the moment: “We’re very pleased, very proud as well, it was a huge team effort and now we’re into commissioning so it’s also nice to getting to this stage of the campaign.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Asked about the extent of the design brief, Adolfo added: “We’ve been here for two years so we came here to find out what are those typical Barcelona conditions and really the answer is that you can get a bit of everything here in Barcelona, so really the design brief was pretty broad though the sea state is a classic for sure but the sea state is never the same, the angle of the direction of the waves, the period and the height is always changing, and then it depends if you have sea breeze or if you have some sort of pressure system coming the wind changes a lot, so we did have to consider a wide variety of conditions and that made the design bit more tricky but also more interesting for us.”

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

Seeing ‘BoatOne’ fly in the marginal conditions brought a smile to Adolfo’s face as he commented: “This is the first time we have foiled in these sort of conditions because with ‘BoatZero’ we couldn’t, so that’s why it was such an interesting day for us as a team to learn what it means and that’s why during the day I think we improved a little bit and there’s a huge margin for improvement still.” And the big question regarding the bumps on the bow and whether they were causing a Venturi effect was flatly denied by Adolfo saying: “No. This is an aero feature that we think is interesting and we pretty much optimised every single millimetre of this boat, so that’s another optimisation we’ve done.”

The Swiss are eyeing a big block of training next week and we’ll hopefully start to see the after-burners lit on this fascinating and ultimately radical design for this Cup cycle.

On-Water Recon Report – Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Alinghi Red Bull Racing made the best of a light wind day in Barcelona to practise their take-off technique aboard the new Swiss AC75. On flat seas and in winds that never registered more than 8 knots as measured from the recon boat, the Alinghi Red Bull Racing crew nevertheless demonstrated their new boat’s ability to get airborne with a series of short flights during the three-hour afternoon session.

The boat was rolled out on time at 1030 and was rigged and launched by 1102. A two-hour period of testing and checking followed before the boat left the dock at 1301. Out in the harbour basin the team hoisted the M1-1 mainsail and the J2-2L headsail and there were more system checks before the boat was bow towed out of the harbour at 1355. With the breeze at no more than 4 knots at this point the team opted for a short tow to the south in the hope of catching any new breeze sooner. It was noticeable that the boat left a distinct wake immediately behind itself while being towed in displacement mode.

At 1405, in 6-7 knots of breeze the boat set off on starboard and after a few minutes of sailing managed to take off at around 90 degrees to the breeze and at an estimated speed of 18 knots. After a touchdown gybe on to port the boat sailed for several minutes without foiling before making a displacement tack on to port again (the headsail needed to be backed for quite a while to get the bow round). After a 15-minute break the boat set off again on starboard and after a couple of minutes was able to get airborne. After another touchdown tack the crew was again unable to get the boat foiling on port before another slow displacement tack.

After immediately setting off in barely 6.5 knots of breeze the sailors found enough of a gust to get airborne on port and after a touch and go gybe were able to continue foiling on port. This flight lasted around 8 minutes in total before a stop as the breeze once more faded. A short foiling tow to the north was followed by an around seven-minute flight that saw one foiling gybe and ended in a touchdown. Two more flights of similar length were made before the breeze began to drop away to sub-six knots. Time was called at 1636 close to the harbour with the boat arriving back on the dock around 1710. No sailing is scheduled for tomorrow Sunday April 21.

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