Fourth consecutive sailing day for Ineos Britannia
Fourth consecutive sailing day for Ineos Britannia
It was short but sweet today out on a tricky Bay of Palma with the winds frustrating the meteorologists, and when they did arrive, they came in weaker than expected. Nonetheless, INEOS Britannia made the absolute most of it, venturing out for a fourth day of training in a row and after a tow out to the kiteboard mecca of C’an Pastilla, the test-team once again had T6 popping with ease, even with the low-horsepower J3 jib up. It’s becoming a feature of the ‘Silver Bullet’ this ease of flight and one that other teams will be analysing closely.
The Brits are on to something and it’s very impressive to watch as a couple of quick fans on the traveller equates to a fast-pop and stable flight. From there, and as the wind increased, the cunningham was much in play to control the top of the sail and de-power – only really visually noticeable as the boat came off flight and to rest with the cunningham still wound on hard and the resultant creases to the mainsail tack, appeared more than evident.
So effective is the control on the mainsheet traveller and so much effort expended through it that no surprise we saw the first breakdown of the affixed line today and as Bleddyn Mon, who was on the coach boat with Rob Wilson today, commented: “It does see plenty of action and…is one of the most highly loaded lines on the yacht so yeah obviously got a bit worn and reached the end of its life today… so that was a slightly small glitch but the guys quickly got on board and replaced it, we’ve got the spares on the water, so that wasn't really too much too much of an issue.”
A further issue with the jib track box momentarily stalled the session with technicians coming aboard and it’s an area that the shore team are very much working on to achieve perfection. The trimmers don’t seem 100% comfortable with it, and as Mon said: “we've still got a few kind of teething issues going on,” so it’s a good head-scratcher for the Mercedes Applied Science team back at Brackley to get on to.
With flat water, Giles Scott and Leigh McMillan were tasked with driving T6 on data runs as much as the light conditions would afford and Iain Jensen and Luke Parkinson showed deft skills, once again, in the flight control department seemingly able to hold T6 accurately through various ride height modes with consummate ease. They do make the impossible look easy and one thing’s for sure – the Brits know how to fly.
All in all a productive, if short, two hour sailing session today to end what has been a very good week for the INEOS Britannia team. Bleddyn Mon summed it up to perfection saying: “Yeah I think we've had a great week to be honest, we've had quite a few days on the water and yes they've been long days but I mean that's what we're all here for, and we’d much rather see the boat out on the water sailing and just learning from that and that's the case for us sailors and the shore guys here that are busy working hard keeping the boat operational each day.”
It's a big effort the whole team have put in this week and the data gathered has been exceptional. Impressive to witness the team on the water as the sailing has been top drawer. INEOS Britannia is looking like the real deal.
No sailing at the weekend, the team will roll out on Monday weather permitting.
On Water Recon Notes: INEOS Britannia’s fourth consecutive sailing day this week turned out to be a short and sharp afternoon affair sailed in 7 - 10 knots of breeze and on a flat sea.
After docking out shortly after 1230 in zero breeze, once the mainsail was hoisted in front of Palma Cathedral the silver T6 LEQ12 was towed at 20 knots at a bearing of 120 to the shallow waters off Ca'n Pastilla – a popular spot for the local kite and wing foiling community – where a 7-10 knot breeze from 040 was blowing steadily. Presumably because they were expecting more wind soon, the British crew opted for the J3 headsail and were quickly and easily foiling at an estimated take off bearing of 090 and speed of 13 knots.
After a couple of minutes of sailing in the mid to high 20 knot range the boat bore away in a gust to a bearing of around 190 and accelerated in what seemed like an instant to high thirties/early forties. With the flat water and solid breeze making for excellent data gathering/testing conditions the crew appeared to be concentrating again on straight line sailing – though they weren’t afraid to throw in some foiling gybes and tacks when required.
We witnessed three stops for breakdowns/technical issues: one for a broken mainsail traveller line (which caused a windward heel splashdown), one to work on the headsail traveller, and one unidentified one at around 1530, which appeared not to get resolved putting an end to sailing shortly before 1600. After a 30-knot foiling tow into the harbour the team docked in at 1615.
Dock out: 1235 Dock-in: 1615
Conditions: 1316: 7-10 knots from 040, 1400 8 knots from 360, 1530 8 knots from 280
Helms: Giles Scott / Leigh McMillan
Crew: Luke Parkinson / Iain Jensen
Mainsail (MN1-1P): 2 hours 50 minutes
J3 (J3-1): 2 hours
Total Tacks: 8 – 3 foil-to foil, 2 touch & go, 3 touchdowns
Total Gybes: 3 – 1 foil-to-foil, 1 touch & go, 1 touchdown
Take-off speed: 13 knots (estimated) self at 50 degrees TWA (True Wind Angle)