Monday, May 13, 2024
HomeRegattaAmerica's CupLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli Unveils Next-Gen Foils and Mast for America's Cup...

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Unveils Next-Gen Foils and Mast for America’s Cup Challenge

The impressive Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli challenge for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup took a big step forward today with the reveal of a first set of new generation foils on the starboard arm plus the addition of a new mast on their aesthetically stunning AC75. But it was not just about looks, today in Cagliari we started to see the enormous potential and power of the new boat in a solid breeze that topped out with gusts at 25 knots.

As a commissioning day, it was all about developing the feel for the new foil and checking the systems and controls. Flight looked easier to attain on port tack with the starboard foil immersed, as we would expect, but some assumed electronics issues caused the team to stop for almost half an hour to fix. However once in flight on the new foil, the boat just took off at pace and the wonderful in-built balance that the Italians have with this stunning design allowed the team to ride super-low, end-plating beautifully and really pushing the boat hard. Top speeds looked easily north of 40 knots and even at that pace, the stability of flight was rock solid.

The new foil itself is a sculpted beauty with thin, long-span, almost flat foils situated aft on a flattened bulb stretching to an extreme pointed nose. The interesting detailing is on the foil connection to the arm with an elongated section protruding forward, below which is a stepped arm, housing what appears to be two fences on the outside. So slender are the wings themselves that the trade-off to minimum weight sees more build into the foil arm – an area the designers call the ‘aero-bomb.’ Wing tips are upturned and for today’s first sailing session with the new foil, no add-on cameras could be seen.

With an asymmetric set-up to the foils, it was impressive to see how they mirrored ride height side to side with the legacy anhedral foil, built for Auckland conditions in 2021, hung from the port arm and in the top-end conditions it was all on for the Flight Controllers. On the new foil, the on-water recon team observed that the sailing team were running quite aggressive windward heel, perhaps to not put too much pressure on the foil on its first day in service – that will change.

Speaking afterwards, Umberto Molineris one of the key members of the Luna Rossa Flight Control and Trim teams spoke about the day saying: “Today was the first day on our new wing and difficult day for a commissioning day obviously the main goal of the day was to check the wing and the systems working so it’s a bit tricky with these conditions with some big gusts of 25 knots…the wing is really good and then we decided to stop because of the big wind…it was a first commissioning day and it was more about testing the systems and I think we will go through all the different moding in the next days.”

Talking about the new mast Umberto animatedly added: “Yes a new shiny mast and today as a first day for the mast I think we loaded it quite well in this big breeze and I think so far we’re happy but let’s see all the checks in the next days.”

On-Water Recon Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: LRPP team rolled out their B3 AC75 at 11:00, preceded by their new mast MT03. While stepping it, the team ran some load checks employing the usual RAM cylinder with one cyclor generating power to trim the jib cunningham. Another update was the new starboard foil wing: very flat spline form, slender pointy bulb, one flap along total span including winglets, spray fences on arm stock and a larger volume on arm thinning towards the trailing edge. On the dock, the team run through the usual checks before docking out 13:55. The forecast was upper range, 15-17 knots with gusts up to 23 knots from 305° closer by the harbour. The team then towed B3 for a while downwind at speeds of 25kn varying starboard cant angles in the choppy sea state further offshore. Then the mainsail M1-7, with a newly added window, was hoisted and paired to the legacy J4 jib. Once all set, a self-take-off was observed on starboard tack before quickly tacking to port, slightly unbalanced, for a first test of the new wing.

Compared to when foiling on the legacy appendage, B3 looked more heeled to windward, and bow down pitched loading the piercing foil while end-plating the hull. Considering the upper limit pressure and the significant chop it was challenging to keep up with B3, which seemed to reach speeds of 42-45 knots upwind. As the yacht suddenly decelerated, perhaps some comms issues were encountered as new helmets were passed onboard to the afterguard. At 15:05 the second stint began on port tack by self-take-off leaning to windward and easily finding stability on the foils.

Then B3 tacked and bore away for a longer straight-line downwind run. As the recon team caught up with B3, an unsuccessful gybe exiting on the new wing was observed ending up off the foils and back on the towline for electronic & hydraulic shore crew checks.

After this break, B3 performed another first easy looking self-take-off on port tack with 15-16 knots of boat speed at 80°. The yacht bore-away and sailed downwind where lower ride heights and more stability in the chop were noticed compared to foiling on the older wing. In terms of boat speed, B3 again easily outrun the recon chase boat suggesting speeds above 43kn.

As the yacht trimmed up on two boards, another impressive upwind straight-line run was observed while occasionally heeling to windward on the gusts depowering main. At 16:10, the yachts gradually decelerated to lower sails and the team docked at 17:25. Michele Melis AC Recon

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