Monday, May 13, 2024
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Zephyr to Zephyr: Light Winds Challenge Alinghi Red Bull Racing and NYYC American Magic in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain – Today in Barcelona, the usual brisk breeze was conspicuously absent, presenting a unique challenge for the teams of Alinghi Red Bull Racing and NYYC American Magic. With the anemometer barely rising above 6 knots, the two new-generation AC75s struggled to gain momentum, hoping to kick off their week’s training with style and continue their positive progress.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing: Persistence in Patience

Over the weekend, during America’s Cup training, Alinghi Red Bull Racing announced upgrades to their foils, introducing new inner tips and altering the flap profiles. These tweaks, aimed at enhancing performance, were put to the test in today’s light wind conditions. Unfortunately, the light winds proved challenging, with the team struggling to achieve sustained flight.

America’s Cup Recon. Monday the 13th of May 2024. Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI) (AC75 Class) boat 2, practice racing with sailing in the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona – Spain. ©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

Technical Adjustments and Challenges

Alinghi’s new foil configurations included symmetrical inner and outer tips and modified flap profiles. These adjustments aimed to provide better lift and efficiency. However, the light winds meant the team had to rely on tow-ups from their chase boat to achieve flight. They attempted this four times, managing only brief moments of flight before the boat returned to displacement mode. Despite three hours on the water, their efforts yielded limited flying time.

Sam Manuard, a renowned naval architect for Alinghi Red Bull Racing, reflected on the day: “Today was a light wind day, we were on the bottom end of the True Wind Speed, so we practised a lot trimming the sails and getting to speed to try and take off.” Manuard emphasized the aerodynamic efficiency of BoatOne’s hull design, highlighting the team’s focus on maximizing performance even in challenging conditions.

Recon Insights

The team rolled out their AC75 at 10:30 after a thirty-minute delay, attributed to light winds. They craned the boat into the water at 10:55 and finally docked out at 13:00 after an additional hour delay. The M1-1 mainsail and J2-1 jib were selected for the session, both hoisted just before heading out of the port at 13:25. The day was dominated by weak easterly winds, staying under 5 knots, forcing the team to focus on take-offs and speed-building.

NYYC American Magic: Upgrades and Adaptations

Similarly, NYYC American Magic faced light wind challenges on the same stretch of water. The team exited the harbor just before 1 pm, encountering only 3.5 knots of breeze. Despite their efforts, achieving flight was initially elusive.

37th America’s Cup recon

Technical Adjustments and Performance

Patriot unveiled new foil detailing today, featuring “four spray rails of different lengths along the port foil arm stock starting from the leading edge, and one spray rail on the starboard foil arm stock below the skeg from the leading edge to trailing edge.” These modifications aimed to improve hydrodynamic performance.

After switching to the larger J1 jib, Patriot managed to achieve brief flight at around 18 knots, although maintaining it proved difficult. However, perseverance paid off later in the afternoon as the wind picked up to 6.5 knots, allowing Patriot to achieve sustained flight and execute several tacks and gybes successfully.

John Croom, the energetic cyclor for American Magic, commented on the day’s focus: “The focus was take-offs in the light wind breeze… we had this light day opportunity and so I think it was a good opportunity for us to figure out if we can get up and get flying.” Croom also noted the benefits of the recumbent cyclor position, which reduces frontal area and enhances aerodynamic efficiency.

Recon Insights

Patriot rolled out at 09:50 for a day dedicated to light wind take-offs. The team docked out at 12:30, hoisting the MN2-1 mainsail and J2-1 jib. With less than 5 knots measured at the harbor entrance, the initial attempts at take-off were unsuccessful, prompting a switch to the larger J1-1 jib. This adjustment allowed Patriot to achieve flight at approximately 18 knots boat speed under six knots of wind.

After a period of displacement sailing, a late afternoon breeze brought 6.5 knots of wind, allowing the team to execute a series of successful tacks and gybes. Patriot docked in at 17:55 after five hours on the water, with a 32% fully foiling success rate from 22 manoeuvres.


Today’s light winds in Barcelona tested the patience and technical skills of Alinghi Red Bull Racing and NYYC American Magic. Despite the challenges, both teams gathered invaluable insights, demonstrating the spirit of perseverance that defines the America’s Cup. As they head back to the drawing board, the lessons learned today will undoubtedly fuel their drive for excellence in future sessions.

37th America’s Cup recon

Stay tuned to NauticMag for more updates and insights into the thrilling world of the America’s Cup, and check out our latest article on Luna Rossa’s new foils and Gradoni at the helm for America’s Cup 2024.

Marc Trujillo
Marc Trujillo
I'm Marc Trujillo, a seasoned maritime journalist based in the vibrant city of Barcelona. My passion lies in exploring the world of sailing, where I delve into the latest yacht innovations, high-stakes regattas, and intriguing personalities shaping the maritime landscape. At NauticMag, I'm committed to bringing my readers compelling stories from the forefront of maritime culture and technological advancements. Join me as I provide an insider's look at the most prestigious sailing events and the unveiling of cutting-edge yachts, capturing the spirit and transformation of the nautical world.
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