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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupBarcelona Breeze Unleashes NYYC American Magic's Full Potential in Thrilling AC75 Display

Barcelona Breeze Unleashes NYYC American Magic’s Full Potential in Thrilling AC75 Display

We have waited a while to see it, but today Barcelona delivered a solid 17-20 knots of south-south-westerly breeze and gave NYYC American Magic, the only team out on the water on Monday, the chance to open the throttles and show the outrageous performance of a new-gen AC75 in all its glory. It was almost impossible for the recon teams to keep up, such were the speeds being generated but what a fabulous spectacle and one that every fan will want to see come the racing for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup.

Emerging from the shed at 11.20am ahead of a dock-out at 1.30pm, the first notable detailing was the new rudder, adorned with a classy Snoopy Flying Ace decal that simply looked uber-cool as only Snoopy, everyone’s favourite cartoon best friend, can.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Further down the vertical we saw the new elevator and what a sculpted beauty this is, almost a bat wing detailing with swooping foils and a stubby point to accentuate the water-flow. Brilliant piece of design and the other take-away was the length of the rudder – clearly a nod to immersion in the expected Barcelona swells because the last thing any team wants to do is ventilate in this department.

With the breeze up, it was a solid chance to test through the J3 (briefly for 10 minutes) and J4 headsails that are expected to be the workhorses of these AC75s throughout the competition owing to their lesser drag profile at speed when compared to the J1 (rarely used) and the J2 where the cross-over to the J3 is small. A component declaration issued on Monday evening indicated changes to the J4 with possibly an alteration at the clew area – something the team have been focussed on recently. Also, down on the foils they had switched the cameras on to the port foil to start gathering the data.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

‘Patriot’ was on rails today, her low volume, super-aero design, just revelling in the conditions as Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison put the hammer down immediately on a downwind to Badalona, demanding everything from the almost completely hidden recumbent cyclors (good effort today) and sent the boat through a series of laps at a frightening clip. Clearly in the initial stages of the day, the concentration was all on straight-line sailing and they did a lot on starboard tack with the port foil immersed to really get the all-important ventilation and cavitation data back to the engineers. Ride height with the new rudder certainly looked slightly higher than usual, something to watch for and possibly the Flight Controllers over-compensating for the wind chop of up to 1 metre today.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Patriot stopped on various occasions for the tech team to come onboard – clearly there are minor gremlins still to iron out, but they were soon sorted, and the sailors then set up for some laps of a laid racecourse where, apart from the speeds, the big take-away was the insistence on two-board roundings at the leeward marks for safety first. That will be something they will hone, in the coming weeks, but ‘Patriot’ is still effectively in a commissioning phase. Just after 5pm, as the session was coming to a natural conclusion after a cyclor rotation, the day came to an end when the head exploded of the J4-1 – perhaps an indication of the very high halyard loading they were running to flatten the sail. The boat came to a standstill and sails were down at 5.30pm ahead of a tow back to base.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Speaking afterwards, Performance Analyst Anderson Reggio, summed up the day, saying: “For us we sort of had a tale of two different forecasts on the day and fortunately the windier one came good, so we went out there and were able to put up the smaller headsails that we haven’t seen too much of yet and put them through their paces, a little bit of regimented straight-line testing and then into some race practise.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Talking about the headsails on show today and whether there were any more codes left to come in the inventory, Anderson responded: “Those are the sails that we have in the inventory at the moment. As we progress through different designs and different codes of the jibs will come online as we get further down the path…I think today we saw towards the latter half of the day there we were averaging sort of 17 to 20 consistently and the J4 was doing quite nice for us, we like that sail.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

And speaking about the new rudder, Anderson added: “It’s slightly different from the previous rudder, a little bit different shape to it on the vertical and a little bit of a different shape on the elevator, just the progression of our design path there…I think when everybody starts to look at sailing in the sea state here you know you want to make sure that you have enough water immersion to be able to accommodate bigger waves in Barcelona than what we saw last time in Auckland, that’s just one of the puzzles that everybody is trying to solve…I don’t believe that this is our final rudder, pretty sure we’re going to have at least something else coming out at some stage, but I don’t know exactly when.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

Solid day for NYYC American Magic despite the gear failure at the end, and a great way to kick off the week with a blast of high intensity action. More to come from the hard-charging Americans with the forecast looking good for more high winds on a thermal breeze tomorrow. (Magnus Wheatley)  

On-Water Recon Report – NYYC American Magic: American Magic rolled out Patriot at 11:20, with a new rudder in place. The new rudder (AM-R5), which seems like a development of their legacy rudder (AM-R3), has a longer blade with a flatter elevator. Meanwhile, it was noted that the camera bulbs on the top and bottom surfaces of the starboard foil were moved to the port foil. The yacht was craned in at 11:50 and standard checks were carried out, with further work observed in the port cockpit.

The team docked out at 13:30, hoisting the MN2-1 mainsail (tell tales added at the head, tack and clew) and the J3-1 jib. The team started sailing at 14:15, with a long downwind to Badalona, mostly sailing on starboard tack keeping their port foil with cameras in the water. The J3 was replaced with the J4-1 (new version updated in component declaration), before sailing a long upwind on starboard. Techs then jumped in the helm and trimmer pods as a battery change was carried out.

The team engaged in long stretches on each tack, downwind to Masnou and back upwind to the starting point. With wind speeds reaching 20 knots and an aggressive wind chop, it was very difficult to keep up with the yacht as they tested at high speed. Following this loop, cyclors were rotated at 16:15, two hours after setting sail. Racecourse practice began with a port entry and continued into two laps around the 2NM course set at 200 deg. Both leeward roundings were with two boards down. A second start saw another port entry, but while sailing upwind to the windward gate, the jib broke off from the head of the sail, forcing the yacht to a stop. Sails were dropped on the course at 17:30 as the team decided to end the day and tow Patriot back to base.

The team spent four hours on the water, of which 88 minutes were spent sailing. 33 manoeuvres were observed at 97% fully foiling.

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