© Ivo Rovira / America's Cup
America's Cup: technical issues for Luna Rossa
For Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli it was ‘one of those days’ out on a choppy Bay of Cagliari with technical issues curtailing the sailing day without a tack or a gybe thrown in anger. Almost immediately after exiting the harbour, an electronic issue was identified, and the technicians came aboard quickly to work below decks.
It was not an easy fix and several hours passed before a resolution was found but the early afternoon gentle Mistral had suddenly built into a chunky 15-17 knots and the team towed over to the Sella del Diavolo to try and find flatter water. It never came, and with issues on the mainsail at hoist, particularly on the lower third starboard skin, the team called an end to the session with a pretty despondent chase boat team watching on.
Speaking afterwards Marco Donati, the electronics supremo within Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli saw positives in the day as he described the issues, saying: “The issue was a little thing, but it just takes time to fix it because there’s a lot of stuff that you have to remove to access to that…it was something that we couldn't sail without, so let's say it was not a major thing that will stop us sailing but, because we are not in a regatta, you want to have the data to analyse so sometimes it doesn't really make sense to go sailing without getting the data to analyse what you want to try. Otherwise, it's a waste of time. So, we knew that the breeze was getting up, but we wanted to try the exercise of fixing something outside (the harbour) and it's also something that we should train for, for when we arrive at a regatta and understand not sailing-wise but maintenance-wise what we can do outside (on the water). So, it has been, by the way, a good exercise and we learn from that too.”
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli are now running a dual programme with the delivery of the team’s AC40 which they have unpacked and checked over ahead of a maiden sail which is, as yet, unscheduled. Marco Donati was clear though that the testing work on the team’s LEQ12 is of prime precedence at the moment, saying: “We just unpacked the boat and we started looking at those systems…we just turned on the boat to see that everything is functional, but for us at the moment we are little bit more concentrated on finishing testing what we want to test on our boat and in parallel we are trying to make the boat sailable as soon as possible. So let's say we are running the two boats in parallel but at the moment we give a little bit more priority to our LEQ12.”
New technology was spotted on the LEQ12 with an upgraded mast base and gooseneck arrangement which is the area the team appeared to be struggling with on the starboard skin hoist, whilst cameras were also seen and photographed on the new port wing to measure and capture flow data. The team had also removed the aft ride-height sensor on the port side of the LEQ12.
No real sailing today with no jib hoisted, the Italians were under tow all afternoon. Better days ahead for sure but it underlines just how complex and inter-connected these prototype boats are and why all the teams employ first class shore crew, engineers, electronics experts and design teams to be able to hit the water day after day. More to come, for sure, this week from the Italians.