Alex Carabi / America's Cup
Alinghi's first AC40 arrived, BoatZero sails
Much excitement around the dockside today at the Alinghi Red Bull Racing temporary base out at the western end of the Port Vell in Barcelona as the team’s first AC40 arrived, shrink-wrapped in the distinctive McConaghy’s delivery livery and it will be all hands to the pump now to give the sailors a new, and very exciting, race boat to train on. But for the Monday morning sailors, the arrival of the team’s pocket-rocket was completely missed as they docked-out after 11am just as it arrived, launching their mainsail for what proved to be one of the most productive days on the water, so far, for the Swiss
Clearly the morning briefing had been to ramp up the manoeuvres and as the breeze filled in beautifully from the west bringing conditions that ranged from 10-18 knots and the persistent swell of recent days dying off, it was a near-perfect day to throw BoatZero around. In total the Swiss covered some 63 nautical miles, almost certainly their longest sailing distance covered to date, and a total of 51 manoeuvres were attempted with a success ratio of 63% for tacks being either fully foil-to-foil or touch & go and, on the same metric, 67% for gybes. Far and away their best day, the team came ashore after a five-hour session with a lot to be pleased about.
The recon team noted that manoeuvres to port looked stronger than the ones to starboard with the team struggling to lock in the starboard foil completing some of the tacks and gybes but Lucien Cujean, a double Olympian at both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 in the 49er class for Switzerland, highlighted the difficulties saying: “As you see, we were struggling on one side compared to the other but as everybody knows we have an asymmetric boat with different shapes of foil on port to starboard but I think it's good to do more (manoeuvres) because we also learned the boat and we have no strong argument or conclusion about this type of choice (of foil) yet.”
With BoatZero being a first generation AC75 with two very different foil types – the port anhedral-shaped foil (wings sloping downwards) being one bought from the American Magic syndicate and the starboard, flat span being an old Emirates Team New Zealand foil – the differences are so marked that it’s no wonder that settings or trim on one side will be vastly different to the other. But the Alinghi Red Bull Racing Team did their absolute best today on a session where the intensity was noticeably ramped up and it was a day for the drysuits and goggles as speeds touched an eye-watering 40 knots, sending spray barrelling down into the cockpit trenches as the team drove the boat hard all afternoon.
Big steps were taken forward today and the good mood around the Alinghi Red Bull Racing Team has noticeably amplified. There’s a strong sense of anticipation around getting their AC40 on the water and also spied were a number of Persico 69F foiling monohulls which both American Magic and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli are using as test boats for the Women’s & Youth America’s Cup teams. The Alinghi Red Bull Racing shore team are going to be busy in the next few days.
The Swiss Challenge for the America’s Cup is well underway and as the intensity rises, it only gets harder from here. The team will be back on the water on Wednesday.
On-Water Recon Unit Notes: Alinghi Red Bull Racing rolled out at 08:45, craned in the AC75 and carried out a few systems tests at the dock, raising both wings and turning the mast. The team's AC40 arrived at the base just as the AC75 docked out. The day saw more stable conditions than the previous week, with stronger west winds and less of a conflicting swell having died.
The team managed a total of five hours on the water, covering over 63 Nautical Miles and reaching speeds in excess of 40 knots. Over four upwind/downwind stints, the team attempted a total of 51 foiling tacks and gybes, the most of any sailing day so far, as well as roundings and bear-aways (no physical marks were used). A significant improvement on their frequency of manoeuvres, with many of their touch and go manoeuvres being close to fully foiling.
The team struggled slightly more with tacking/gybing onto the starboard foil, sometimes failing to engage the Emirates Team New Zealand legacy foil after turning through the wind to sustain lift. An end to the session was called after an intense day, the sails were dropped outside the port entrance and the yacht was towed back to base. ARBR will be carrying out a maintenance day tomorrow, organising the base with the AC40 on site, as well as a couple of Persico 69F sailing dinghies.