Monday, May 13, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli's AC75 Shines in Sunday Commissioning Sail

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s AC75 Shines in Sunday Commissioning Sail

After the disappointment of the session on Saturday being curtailed by a small technical issue, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli docked-out their achingly beautiful AC75 into near-perfect conditions for a Sunday commissioning sail of the highest order. Bristling with power, poise and real stability despite the legacy appendages, Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni (later swapped out with Marco Gradoni), ramped up the intensity and began releasing the boat’s potential.

Tentative at first with understandable over-trim on the mainsail, as the session wore on the trim team of Andrea Tesei and Umberto Molineris, became more confident, dialling the AC75 close to the water’s surface and getting the beautiful rockered bustle to do its work. Flight was smooth with occasional windward heel on display, and in the 8-15 knot, pitch perfect conditions on the Bay of Angels, Luna Rossa looked mighty. The un-laminated sail design that leaves the mainsail and jib colour co-ordinated with the team’s livery, looked easy to trim although the extended clew board was noticeably flapping and the in-skin control bar could be clearly seen.

Power delivery was on point with the cyclors tucked into the aft two pods either side and extremely aero in profile. A series of upwind laps with some sharp low angle tacks, and downwind VMG gybes that were noticeably flat and low to the surface, were completed. In total the Italian team were on the water for almost four hours with a total of 72 minutes of high intensity foiling time. Impressive performance straight out of the box and a good work through of the J1.5, J2 and J3-7 jibs as the wind increased. Top speeds were well into the 40-knot range.

Speaking afterwards, Jimmy Spithill was buzzing with enthusiasm for what the team accomplished and the milestone they registered today saying: “It was fantastic, just a great day for the entire team it’s been a lot of work from the boys in the shed just getting to this moment, so it was great to have a good forecast when the past couple of days everyday we’ve gone out we’ve had sort of 18-20 knots plus, and today we could finally tick through the list and put some laps in.”

Talking about how the boat felt to steer, Jimmy commented: “The boat felt great, great in the take-offs and just good to get that day under our belt. Now the work really starts and putting some hours on…The big thing we’ve got to remember here is we haven’t got the race foils on the boat the appendages, so to take too many lessons from what we’re sailing in now would be a wrong conclusion but for sure the boat set up nice, felt great, and yeah now we just got to wait to get the proper appendages on the boat…hopefully as soon as possible.”

The commissioning phase is now well and truly underway for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli who will be looking forward to the weeks ahead to build even more momentum in a team that are squarely gunning to go one better and bring the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup back to Italy. What an historic feat if they can pull this off – they certainly look like they have the boat, and the talent, to do it. (Magnus Wheatley)

On-Water Recon Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli rolled out their B3 AC75 at 10:20, stepped mast and craned the yacht in by 10:35. The boat appeared with the older appendage configuration and with an added hull window for the flight controller pod.  After running the usual FCS, flap, and rudder rake checks, the sailors proceeded with the sail control checks involving the power group cycling. The M1-7 was placed on deck before dock-out scheduled for 12:00. Out of the harbour, the sea breeze had filled in over flat waters, blowing 7-9kn from 175° as the main was being hoisted. The latter was then paired to what seemed to be a J1.5, yet to be confirmed by declaration.

The first foiling stint began with a self-take-off in flat waters with 16-17 knots and 85° TWA and lasted 6 minutes with top speeds of 35 knots. As the breeze had increased to 10-12kn, the J1.5 was lowered to hoist the assumed new J2, yet to be declared.

Another self-take-off on starboard tack took place started the second foiling stint which lasted approx. 25 minutes. The yacht sailed upwind slightly heeled to windward and executed two foiling tacks before bearing away quickly on starboard tack. Then the yacht executed two gybes, trimmed up, tacked and bore away on port tack, sailed downwind for a while and trimmed up to stop. During this break, the team had lunch, port helm and one starboard cyclor swapped with others boarded on chase1. At 13:45 the offshore sea breeze was measured at 8-10 knots and the team was foiling on port tack after another self-take-off. Here, the team focussed on light air manoeuvres beginning with three foiling/touch & go tacks, bearing away on starboard tack and executing two touch & go light air gybes.

While sailing downwind, the pressure shifted to 180° increasing to 13-15 knots and the yacht tipped boat speeds of 43 knots before trimming up to swap headsails after an approximate 20-minute foiling ride.

The fourth foiling stint of the day began on port tack with a take-off initiated by the chase boat and lasted another 20 minutes. During these, several board drops/raises were observed upwind and downwind and perhaps some upwind moding. In between, the yacht executed three tacks before bearing away on starboard tack for a longer straight-line downwind run before trimming up to decelerate. 

The fifth and last foiling stint of the day commenced at 14:50 as the yacht took off on port tack and the focus was on ride height adjustment fully end-plating the hull upwind. Then, B3 tacked to starboard tack before bearing away and executing three more gybes heading towards the harbour. During this run, it sailed through the increased choppy sea state where occasionally the yacht seemed to lose pitch and lift through the largest waves.

During this first sailing day, the Italian AC75 looked very stable and in control. Sails were lowered and the team docked in at 15:50 with 72 minutes foiling time, approx. 9 tacks and 8 gybes. [Michele Melis AC Recon]

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