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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupLuna Rossa Prada Pirelli Steps Up America’s Cup Challenge with First Sailing...

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Steps Up America’s Cup Challenge with First Sailing Session in Barcelona

The impressive Italian challenge for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup stepped up a gear today with the first sailing session from their Port Vell base in Barcelona. Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli received a baptism of fire with the Barceloneta racecourse offering 12-16 knots of solid easterly breeze and a short chop – almost certainly what the design team had in mind when crafting a Barcelona-specific AC75. And in those prime conditions, the aesthetically stunning Luna Rossa bristled with outright power and pace.

With now symmetric foils, having fitted a new port foil in Cagliari before shipping to Barcelona, life should have been easier for Jimmy Spithill who steers from the starboard pod but the recon team noted some instability, particularly downwind, so for sure there’s still some bedding in to do. Francesco Bruni, steering in the port pod commented on the foils saying: “I mean it’s easier, the asymmetry that we had was a little bit hard to manage in some manoeuvres, so now that we have everything symmetric it’s easier in a certain way.”

The Italians also introduced a new windshield for the flight controller/trimmer on the starboard side in the forward pod position that gives a much clearer view than the arrangement they had before with the trimmer able to see the sails and foils. With this very much a commissioning day, the team executed some long upwind and downwind legs, stopping in between to let the tech teams onboard to check everything was running as it should. Finally with the use of Chase Boats and virtual marks, they went into a race format before calling it a day having recorded some 68 minutes of flight time over the two-and-a-half-hour session. A great first day at the venue for the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team.

Speaking about the first sail here in Barcelona, Francesco Bruni, port helm on Luna Rossa commented: “Well first of all we are very happy to be in Barcelona and to train in the official venue. It’s a different piece of water for sure, the waves we knew it and today it was proved that they are different from what we trained in Cagliari so it’s very important that we do as much sailing as possible in these conditions. We know that it can be also worse than this and today was possibly an average day for the waves so yeah we’re super happy to be here in Barcelona.”

And talking about the stability issues that his co-helm Jimmy Spithill appeared to be having when steering on starboard gybe downwind, Francesco commented: “I felt unstable on port as well! I think the waves were definitely something new and it was the first time for Jimmy on that foil so it’s a little bit different, also the waves were a little bit asymmetric at times so I think that overall we saw everything today, I don’t think they were more stable than us let’s put it that way and a lot of the time stability doesn’t mean speed so sometimes you are stable and you’re faster so we don’t know that but we felt pretty good, the boat felt good, Jimmy was happy to steer for the first time on that new foil and yeah it was a very good day for the team.”

On-Water Recon Report – Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli: For their first sailing day in Barcelona, LRPP team rolled out their B3 at 11:20 with the new port wing, modified starboard wing and with a see-through windscreen on starboard flight controller. It is yet unclear whether there are changes between starboard and port wings, while slender cameras cases were fitted on both wings on lower and upper sides.

The team ran through the usual dock checks before leaving the dock at 13:15. The main M1-7 was hoisted at 13:30 and paired to the J2-7 as the breeze was measured 9.5-11 knots from 80-85° with 0.75m chop from 95°. For the first stint of 15 minutes, B3 self-took-off at 14-15 knots on starboard tack and sailed upwind and completed two fully foiling tacks. A short break followed with technicians diving below deck before the next stint commenced at 14:15.

Up foilborne by self-take-off on port tack, B3 headed for a short upwind before bearing away for a long straight-line downwind on starboard tack. Sailing downwind, the yacht seemed to struggle slightly more on starboard tack compared to port tack. Chase boats and virtual marks were then used to setup a course and an unofficial starting practice was observed followed by an upwind and downwind leg. As the yacht decelerated at 14:40, several shots were taken by the team on both lower parts of each appendage.

The breeze increased to 12-13 knots and the J2-7 was lowered to hoist the J3-7. The third stint started at 15:00 via self-take-off on port tack, developing in additional straight-lining on port tack before a second pre-start drill was observed. No cyclor rotation or battery swaps were observed during the day. The yacht decelerated at 15:25 right after the starting drill and the team began to lower sails. Quite hard to keep up with B3 in the chop.

Overall, the team seemed to have a confident first day of sailing in Barcelona with approximately 65 minutes foilborne, 12 tacks and 9 gybes, out of which 80% fully foiling. Michele Melis AC Recon

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