Luna Rossa, next generation in Cagliari
Luna Rossa, next generation in Cagliari
Another demonstration of power sailing today from the very top drawer by the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team who have thoroughly got to grips with all the nuances of their LEQ12 that they make sailing in big breeze look almost mundane.
Efficiency seemed to be the watchword of this session with the team undertaking long runs at stable flight positions with speeds upwind clocked at 38 knots and downwind at 42 knots presumably extracting the maximum amount of data out of the new starboard foil arm and the foils themselves.
Only towards the end of the session in the early afternoon could detectable signs of variance in flight be spotted, with the Italian LEQ12 at a rip-roaring pace, broad-reaching with the chase boats struggling to keep up in the chop – no chance for the recon RIB. ‘Magnifico’ to watch, this is an America’s Cup team at the very pinnacle of the sport and despite the minor crew rotations through the day as the team gave both helms and trimmers/flight controllers turns, the team seem settled and highly professional going about their quest to win the Auld Mug in a no-nonsense fashion.
One of the intriguing facets of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s sailing style is the enormous control they can exert on their mainsail. In higher wind speeds like today, it’s more than noticeable how they can fan the sail the full height to almost mimic a windsurfer sail with an accuracy that just maintains the boat’s balance beautifully. Barely do we see this LEQ12 in anything other than rock-steady stable flight and it’s a huge testament to the team just how well the sailors are re-paying the faith placed in them by syndicate owner, Patrizio Bertelli.
Today the team were docked out on a crisp Cagliari morning at 10.30am to a building breeze and increasing wave pattern right across the Bay so it was a short one by their standards with dock-in just after lunchtime at 1.15pm. But in that time, they recorded some huge foiling runs of up to 59 minutes – and that’s an oil well of data for the analysts shoreside. With the team’s new AC75 design close to sign-off, these days are just gold-dust for the design office, electronics and engineering teams who are monitoring everything so closely.
Jacopo Plazzi, the highly ranked 49er sailor who was a reconnaissance team member for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli at AC36 and is now part of the coaching set-up alongside Hamish Wilcox and Philippe Presti, spoke about the importance of these testing days saying: “Every sailing day is very important, we are learning a lot, giving feedback to our design office, they are progressing on our big boat so the more data we can acquire for them the better it is.”
One of the interesting developments today with the team was the introduction of the Italian team’s potential Youth & Women’s sailors who were invited to the Cagliari base and took to the chilly waters in the exciting Persico 69F foiling monohull dinghies that are becoming more and more popular worldwide.
Indeed, the American Magic Team had no less than three teams competing (and winning) at the weekend in the Persico 69Fs at the Bacardi Winter Series in Biscayne Bay so it’s clear that the America’s Cup teams are really starting to take selection of the next generation sailors who will compete in the AC40s in Barcelona at the Youth & Women’s America’s Cup events, seriously. Plazzi’s eyes lit up at the mention of the new sailors saying: “Yeah it's actually it's a bit of a spoiler, it's the kick off of the programme and we’re getting very young guys (and girls) trying and trialling here, sailing with the 69Fs this week and obviously it’s the start of our youth programme for the youth America's Cup.”
The young Italian athletes have the perfect mentors all around the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team who are seeking and achieving excellence in everything they do both on and off the water.
Compelling to watch. Thrilling to see the next generation too.
On Water Recon Unit Notes: On the day, the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team finds quite productive conditions for a serious sailing session with upper range strong NW breeze of 12kn in the morning and 22kn in the early afternoon with decent choppy water. The day at the Ichnusa Dock started at 8:40 when the Italian LEQ12 rolled out of the shed and was craned in at 9:00 with no major visible technical changes beside a fence with display fittings in front of helmsmen cockpit seat.
Between the usual checks by shore crew, the LRPP seems to proceed on the youth AC front having several young sailors around the base ready to train on a few 69Fs. With the dockout scheduled at 10:30 the team headed off the coast of Petrol Beach to hoist main+J2 and the LEQ12 was boarded with 4 crew members swapping helmsmen and trimmers on different occasions in the following hours.
Throughout the whole sailing session only self-take-offs were observed with occasionally a third crew member sitting on the windward deck before reaching take off speed. The focus was certainly on long straight-line sailing for testing as to be seen by GPS data all across the Gulf offshore of Pula to offshore of Solanas and perhaps running through some foiling modes.
Having completed a flight time with J2 of 45 min and considering the growing NW pressure of 13-15kn, the team decided to switch to J4 at 11:50. With this foresail the Italians kept sailing on straight lines for 59 minutes (5,36,17) and max boat speeds of above 42kn downwind and approx. 38kn upwind were recorded by the Recon Unit RIB which struggled to keep up with LEQ12 pace as breeze increased further to 18-22kn. Several breaks were observed for polishing GoPro screens and checks on jib sheeting systems, cockpit and below deck. In the whole session a total of 12 manoeuvres out of which 7 gybes and 5 tacks were observed. Considering the forecasted gusts of 25kn at 2pm the team decided to call it a day.
Dock out: 1030 Dock-in: 1315
Helms: Francesco Bruni / Ruggero Tita / Marco Gradoni / Jimmy Spithill
Crew: Umberto Molineris / Andrea Tesei (swapping out with Vittorio Bissaro)
Recon Notes: Back to a 4-man crew set-up, swapping helms
Mainsail (MN1-1S): 2 hours 15 minutes
J2 Jib (J2-1-B): 1 hour 05 minutes
J4 Jib (J4-1-A): 45 minutes
Total Tacks: 7 - 5 foil-to-foil, 1 touch & go, 1 touchdowns
Total Gybes: 5 – 4 foil-to-foil, 1 touch & go
Recon Notes: 4 self-take-offs
Take-Off speed: 17 knots at 75 degrees TWA (take off speed has been newly matched approx. by Recon RIB in TWS 17-20kn)
Foiling runs minutes: One foiling run recorded: 59 minutes (5,36,17)
Wind Strength: 10:45 NW-N 9-11kn/ 12:15 NW 13-18kn strong NW Maestrale breeze NW with gusts up to 25kn in the afternoon AM: 7℃, cloudy. PM: 12℃, cloudy.