©Paul Todd/America’s Cup
American Magic, a complex test matrix
American Magic once again put serious hours and miles on the clock sailing inshore in Pensacola Bay as the team ran through what Paul Goodison described as: “a complex test matrix” with a focus on ‘hydro’ (meaning the cyclors and crewing), and ‘aero’ with the sails. It was a long session late into the evening light with Patriot covering some 50 nautical miles on no less than sixteen windward/leeward courses. Attaining down range flight in the 6-7 knot breeze wasn’t easy as that’s right on the cusp of self-take-off, so for six of the nine flights, the chase boat came in and offered assistance to tow Patriot up. But once airborne and flying, the team put in long straight stints to gather maximum data for the design office as they enter the final stretches of design sign-off this quarter and achieved a total flight time of some 82 minutes – gold dust in data terms for the naval architects, sailmakers mechatronics team and foil designers.
Riley Gibbs was back on the helm sharing duties with Paul Goodison whilst Lucas Calabrese was seen trimming and the power unit on the cyclors had a full-on day. Speaking afterwards, the ever-affable Paul Goodison offered a terrific insight (as he always does) into the day and the overall programme. When asked, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, whether a day like today was productive and whether they’d learned everything already, Goody offered: “You’ve never found anything in this game! You’re always looking for new things and striving for new things. In these kinds of conditions, we’re working a little bit on the take-offs but there comes a wind speed where we definitely can't take off with this hull shape, so we then get towed up and then we work on some of the manoeuvres we’re going to do. But we ticked off a lot of hydro and a couple of aero tests today in this light stuff and every day you learn something more and see how one thing affects the other.”
And when asked about the difference when some days the team goes long whilst on others they throw in a huge number of tacks and gybes, Goodison snapshotted it saying: “So we have a quite a complex test matrix we are trying to get through and some days we’re more focused on the long straight line stuff and that just gives us the ability to collect a lot of data before we make a change, then collect more data, and keep things consistent and then the other days I guess we kindly call it ‘crewming and grooming’ where we're trying to bash in loads of manoeuvres and trying to get lots of information on the systems while we're making different changes to the bikes and the guys are trying to give us feedback of how hard it is, what we need to change in the hydro world, and any new stuff we want to try looking forward to the to the next AC-75 boat.”
Asked about the crew rotation that has seen several crew-members in a variety of positions, and whether anyone else would be looking to helm aside from Riley Gibbs, Goodison commented: “Well at the moment no we are just looking at Riley getting a bit more training in and Tom’s (Tom Slingsby) obviously back next week when he will be back on board but we did a good session today, Dan Morris was flying the boat for a very good stint, we had Lucas Calabrese on the trimming side so we just rotated. We devoted a bit of the day to getting the tests out of the way and then we devoted the second part of the day today to the crew training and the guys are coming along really well, the boat’s sailing better under their control I think and for one part, two days ago, we had the boat completely sailed by the new guys which is impressive to see.”
Very impressive indeed. American Magic has hit the ground running in 2023 and simply look better and better with every passing day from the shore team to the chase boat to the sailing team. Valuable days indeed.
On-Water Recon Unit Notes: Patriot sailed inshore today, covered approximately 50 nm, comprised of 16 W/L legs. Five headsails were loaded into the support RIB, 1 of them were used. Sailing began at 13:01, completed 23 manoeuvres and ended sailing at 16:01. Patriot had a total flying time of 82 Minutes. Top speeds were approximately 32k upwind/ 36k downwind according to the RIB GPS. Sailing was postponed one hour this morning as the team waited for the sea breeze to fill in. The breeze was not filling in as expected and there were a couple of minor issues with the crane resulting in further delays. The team were able to get in 3 hours of sailing despite looking like the day might have been cancelled. Patriot is not expected to roll out tomorrow.
Total Tacks: 13 – 9 foil-to-foil, 4 touchdowns
Total Gybes: 10 – 7 foil-to-foil, 3 touchdown
Notes: Patriot was on foil a combined total of 82 minutes. Flight times ranged from 1 minutes to 13 minutes (9, 1, 9, 9, 13, 10, 9, 9, 2, 3, and 8 minutes respectively).
Take off speed: 16 knots at 90 degrees TWA (True Wind Angle)
Initial take-off was tow, 4 self-take-offs/ 6 additional tow-ups.