Alinghi RedBull, BoatZero back in action

Alinghi RedBull, BoatZero back in action

Alinghi RedBull, BoatZero back in action


24/04/2023 - 17:00

After some absolutely thundering sessions in the AC40 all this week, on Friday it was the welcome return of BoatZero for Alinghi Red Bull Racing who brought back the much-modified AC75 after considerable time in the shed repairing the rudder tower structure that so dramatically failed back at the end of March.

The Swiss reverted back to the old ‘Te Aihe’ rudder of Emirates Team New Zealand whilst the damaged American Magic rudder is still undergoing repairs and the team also took the near month-long shed time to upgrade some internal systems that made today more of a shakedown commissioning day than a full-on sailing session. That’s not to say that stints were, at times, highly impressive with the AC75 hitting through the 40-knot barrier downwind but a lot of time was spent with technicians onboard going through various systems checks and calibrations and manoeuvres were largely cautious affairs.

From a recon perspective the most obvious upgrade was an interesting addition of LED strips to get super-accurate, recorded and repeatable measurement on the jib trim and with this team rooted in scientific data capture to calibrate against the extensive super-computer and simulation work that is going on within Marcelino Botin’s design office, it’s perhaps a small indication and reminder of just where this team is heading with the support of Red Bull Advanced Technologies – the Formula 1 division.

Barcelona again served up a thermal Garbi breeze from the south-south-west with a sharp swell that was always going to be a tough for a day of commissioning, but the team stayed out for nearly five hours and covered in excess of 50 nautical miles up and down the waterfront.

Speaking afterwards, Adolfo Carrau, Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s superb Design Co-Ordinator who spends a good deal of his time on the water assessing and reporting back to the design team summarised the day accurately, saying: “We managed to tick all the boxes after we damaged the rudder and a bit of the structure surrounding the rudder tower and so on. We had a lot of new gear too to commission and that took the first part of the day plus we took the opportunity to change some systems inside the boat as well so that was a big half of the day with just tuning systems and making sure they were up to the task in these conditions which today were a bit on the on the extreme side…and then just getting the guys back into AC75 rhythm which is quite different to the AC40 in terms of more people that need to be co-ordinated in the big swell, in straight lines and manoeuvres, so I think as the day progressed the guys got better at it and I think was a pretty successful day at the end.”

Talking about the switch to the old ‘Te Aihe’ rudder, Adolfo said: “Well, right now we are repairing the other rudder so this is the only one we’ve got, and both are very different in span, in elevator area…in any case it was our plan to go back to this rudder just to see how it behaves in different conditions and we will keep rotating this during the season.” Ever the optimist, Adolfo saw a positive in the rudder breakage saying: “Looking at the glass here half full, you can always learn from these episodes, and it certainly was a big help for the structural engineers as we’re engineering our new boat (the new AC75) when we get these sorts of breakages.”

A positive, glass half full kind of day for Alinghi Red Bull Racing who round out a five-day sailing week on a high. They’ve looked sensational in the AC40 in big breeze and swell this week and with BoatZero now back in commission, next week is going to be fascinating as the young foiling sensations of AC37 wind the big boat up to the max.

You won’t want to miss this big Bull charging.


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