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Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup Teams: June Update

There was a palpable sense of tension rising around the Port Vell throughout June as the business end of the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup gets real. The time for thinking is over, it is all about execution now and every team is working flat-out, at the max and beyond to deliver a race winning package and sailors at the very peak of their conditioning and form. June was brilliant. Barcelona’s conditions, for the large part, were epic champagne days and the Challenger teams certainly didn’t disappoint. It was all action day after day. Here we summarise the key moments for each team:

© ©Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand:

With ‘Taihoro’ packed onto a container ship for its 28 day passage up to the Port of Tarragona before a midnight transfer to Barcelona by road, Emirates Team New Zealand got some useful two-boat race training in early-winter Auckland pushing their two AC40s at the max. Pre-starts were the order of the day over a five day, intense period with Peter Burling and Nathan Outteridge pressed hard by Josh Junior and Sam Meech.

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

The ‘A’ team were still in development mode, carrying an LEQ12 foil on the starboard side whilst running a one-design spec foil on port to even out the final approaches to the line. It was intense and thrilling to watch and also the Youth & Women teams got valuable time on the AC40, docking-out early and sailing to dusk.

At the end of the month ‘Taihoro’ arrived in Barcelona and was sailing by the 29th June with two new foils on, similar in design to what the team tested at a smaller scale on the LEQ12 and featuring the anvil-shaped surface breaker prodder forward. Early video released by the team, after the recon programme had concluded, showed ultimate stability of the platform in the Barcelona swells. Big couple of months coming up for the team as they catch-up on AC75 sailing time relative to the other teams.

Behind the Fence: Taihoro’s first sail in Barcelona: 

INEOS Britannia

Perhaps the great unknown package of this Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup cycle, INEOS Britannia has shown more than just glimpses of outright performance as they spent June testing and engaging, looking very impressive.

Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

Development is still very much ongoing with the race rudder in focus being swapped in and out through the month whilst the team ran Pitot tubes on their foils alongside hefty cameras so outright speed is still very difficult to gauge. Britannia is oozing with innovation everywhere and up aloft they are the only team experimenting with a fixed rod jib halyard to accurately measure the loads and a clue is offered in the crew rotations as to how the team are sailing the boat with the experienced Ben Cornish staying onboard in a dual cyclor and sailing role as the other three cyclors rotate.

© ©Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Sir Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott and Dylan Fletcher-Scott worked hard on race practice and starting throughout June, sailing for 11 recorded days up to the end of recon on the 22nd June and thereafter. The British proved their strength in depth with various iteration of trimmers including Bleddyn Mon, Leigh McMillan, Luke Parkinson and Iain Jensen. All round, INEOS Britannia looks to have strength in depth and the Challenger of Record is putting up a mighty challenge in 2024. Get excited if you’re British.

Behind the Fence: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team take flight on America’s Cup Race Boat ‘Britannia’

Alinghi Red Bull Racing:

The headline for the month of June for Alinghi Red Bull Racing was a dramatic mast failure on the 13th June that kicked-off wild speculation about the cause and sent shockwaves through the Port Vell.

Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

The team have remained tight-lipped about what happened but interviews, particularly with Bryan Mettraux the team’s stalwart Flight Controller, indicated that they are well aware of the cause of the failure and it’s not what the visuals suggested with high mast bend and cunningham loads. Despite the failure, four days later the team were back into training having stepped their old mast and even brought their AC40 in to do pre-start practice against the AC75. This was perhaps the most revealing part of the month from a recon perspective with ‘BoatOne’ showing incredibly manoeuvrability in a tight pre-start box against the far more nimble AC40 with Phil Robertson and Dean Barker on the wheels.

Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

This could be a real key to Swiss success in the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup and with skipper Arnaud Psarofaghis connecting supremely well with co-pilot Maxime Bachelin, Alinghi Red Bull Racing look to be peaking just at the right time. The team conserved their sail allocation through June, and it is hoped that a new mast can be made, shipped and worked up in time for the start of the third Preliminary Regatta at the end of August. In total the Swiss sailed for 11 days in June up to the end of the recon programme on the 22nd June and thereafter.

Behind the Fence: Cycling on a flying sailboat: 

NYYC American Magic

Certainly a month of intensity and tuning, NYYC American Magic spent June really into the detail with their sail setting, plenty of race practice and a lot of unofficial line-ups on the water with the other Challengers. The team that you just can’t take your eye off, they even endured a pretty spectacular nosedive when coming back into harbour on a windy day that will have sharpened the senses.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

‘Patriot’ looked supremely fast and stable throughout the month however, and the low-profile bow section simply looks right on the money with a low-riding mode upwind and downwind. Development was centred around a new rudder profile with its Flying Snoopy decal, but the team did seem to be fighting the jib tack area and the faring over the track through the month, losing parts on more than one occasion before a new solution was found.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

The afterguard team looks to be relatively settled with Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison as the ‘A’ team helming duo joined by Andrew Campbell and Michael Menninger on trim and Flight Control although Lucas Calabrese did a superb job stepping in when Slingsby was away, and Riley Gibbs is a brilliant back-up on trim if required. The recumbent cyclors had their cyclor pits upgraded with mesh covering in June and there seems to be no loss of power from this unique arrangement. Arguably the best Challenge from the New York Yacht Club in history, the Magicians are looking very much the real deal and a team that everyone fears. Ten valuable days sailed in June up to the end of the recon programme.

Behind the Fence: Inside American Magic: Exclusive Monthly Update #14 June 2024

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli:

Now permanently onsite in Barcelona, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have excelled through June and are undoubtedly the front-runners in the Challengers based on what was seen throughout the month. The team hit June running and completed 14 days of training from the beginning of the month through to the end of recon on June 22nd.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

It was relentless and it was productive with the sailors showing off a very stable all-round package that looked super-rapid across nearly all conditions. Issues with the race rudder dogged the early part of training however and this caused a couple of days where training was cut short and it’s clearly a big area for development going in and out of the shed for modifications through the month. Sailing with almost symmetric foils, both featuring the anvil-shaped water-piercing design certainly evened out Luna Rossa through the tacks and gybes from what we had seen in Cagliari with the asymmetric set-up and running a legacy AC36 foil on port.

© Job Vermeulen © America’s Cup

Jimmy Spithill is looking like the stand-out helm and skipper on the starboard pod, but the big question remains as to who will join him on the race boat. Francesco Bruni and the 20-year-old Marco Gradoni have been swapping in and out all month but with Gradoni nominated as the Youth skipper, it may only be later in the Louis Vuitton Cup or the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup Match when he features. Time will tell. The Italians are looking mighty.

Behind the Fence: HOW IT’S MADE | BOAT BUILDER: 

Orient Express Racing Team:

A month on an almost vertical learning curve, Orient Express Racing Team managed ten days on the water up to the end of the recon programme on 22nd June, getting to grips with their box-fresh AC75 running an asymmetric foil set up. Having bought the design package from Emirates Team New Zealand, it’s now all in the details for the French who suffered a few hydraulic leaks around the mast base and some very teething steering/control failures caused by water ingress.

© ©Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Minor things that the team are very capable of sorting out, June was very much a commissioning month with the sailors growing in confidence on every session. A big nosedive mid-month just off the beachfront was a stark reminder of how tricky these AC75s are to sail but Quentin Delapierre and Kevin Peponnet pushed harder and harder, finding the limits and building consistency into their tack and gybe protocols and communication.

© ©Job Vermeulen/ America’s Cup

Long days on the water in a full variety of conditions are the marker of this team as they seek to bridge the gap to the more established syndicates but there’s a lot of optimism around the design package and the detailing that they have been provided with by the Kiwis plus there is plenty of top talent all around the team. Symmetric foils will make a big difference to the sailors’ confidence and we can expect the next two months to be highly productive for Orient Express Racing Team.

Behind the Fence: Orient Express Racing Team x BWT Alpine F1 Team:

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