What's happening in the America's Cup, the April recap
What's happening in the America's Cup, the April recap
It has been a big month both on and off the water in this 37th America's Cup cycle with all the teams stepping up their training and testing programmes ahead of their move to their Barcelona bases, which are springing up fast around the Port Vell, for the summer sailing season.
Here's your team round-up for April...
The Defenders had a clear agenda throughout April to find big waves and winds to really push 'Te Rehutai' their much-modified Cup winning AC75 boat from 2021, to the limit. Training out in Auckland, the weather Gods played ball and the speeds just got faster and faster. The observed skittishness when in bigger waves was largely eradicated by the introduction of a deeper rudder and the Kiwis have looked imperious throughout the month as they thundered around, dropping the Chase Boats and recon teams on long runs offshore. A dramatic jib tack failure towards the end of the month was the only real incident that occurred just as Josh Junior was adjusting the leech line – thankfully no injuries sustained - and the team were out sailing the next day.
The British hit their stride in April with a solid block of training onboard their LEQ12 'T6' with the sailors looking absolutely assured and confident through the month in any breeze. The Bay of Palma reverted to type as one of the best winter locations for sailing and the team pushed through the data gathering on their novel W-Foil whilst also showing some very effective 'bustle-skimming' to effectively end-plate the LEQ12 and reduce leeway. A notable sky-rocket was recorded mid-April but no damage incurred.
On a personnel front, Dylan Fletcher-Scott, the current International Moth World Champion was welcomed to the team after a very successful trial period whilst INEOS Britannia also made significant appointments to the cyclor team with Harry Leask, James Skulczuk and Ryan Todhunter joining the squad and training hard on their bikes in the Mallorca hills. Giles Scott has led the sailing programme effectively on the water sharing the helm with Team Principal Sir Ben Ainslie and Fletcher-Scott whilst the crew has been rotated successfully through the month. 'T6' went into the shed at the end of the month for a planned upgrade and its reveal in May will afford a lot of clues as to the direction of the team going forward.
NYYC American Magic
The Americans have been relentless in their on-water sailing through April with the introduction of a new starboard foil that has gone through five iterations since launch and has seen the test team really push hard through daily mode tests, cant and pitch angles to explore the limitations of the foil. Testing has been challenging with some notable nosedives and a slow speed capsize but the team has persisted and found not only consistency but real speed gains towards the end of the month. Paul Goodison, Tom Slingsby, Lucas Calabrese, Michael Menninger and Andrew Campbell formed an effective testing team through April and completed some 12 days on the water. Shoreside the team are getting ready for the move from Pensacola to Barcelona where they will take delivery of their second AC40 and begin two-boat testing.
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
Very much the challenger to watch, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have had a simply stunning month training out of Cagliari in near-perfect conditions and sending their LEQ12 at astonishing speeds and spending a huge amount of time race training at race-pace. The introduction of a new, and final, foil was a refinement of the slender wing approach the Italians are pursuing and they have looked sensational in practice with Francesco Bruni, Jimmy Spithill, Marco Gradoni and Ruggero Tita rotating on the helm through the month and impressing all round. Top speeds in excess of 50 knots were suspected by the recon team on some stunning sailing days and this is a team that remains highly focused on continual development with minimum distractions. The arrival of the team's first AC40 towards the end of the month heralds a new phase of the Italian's campaign but concentration on the LEQ12 programme has remained consistent. All eyes on the Italians who continue to thrill day after day.
Alinghi Red Bull Racing
It has been non-stop with the Swiss in April who completed 14 days on the water and who welcomed back BoatZero, the team's AC75, after significant repairs to its rudder tower after a failure in March. The shore team have been superb in running the AC75 and AC40 programmes concurrently and on-the-water, the sailors have noticeably stepped up their performances with some deeply impressive displays of high-performance foiling. The early part of April was spent pushing the AC40 to the limit in solid Barcelona breezes and swell along the waterfront where the America's Cup racecourse will be sited. On occasion, and particularly on days with the easterly swell in full flow, the Swiss pushed over the limit, but overall, the sailing was impressive. Arnaud Psarofaghis, Maxime Bachelin, Bryan Mettraux and Nicolas Charbonnier have now been joined by Nicolas Rolaz in the Driving Group who moves up from the Power Group and there's a settled, confident air all around Alinghi Red Bull Racing at the moment.
Orient Express Racing Team
Trials for the Youth & Women's America's Cup teams for the Orient Express Team were conducted in April and took place in Quiberon at the ENVSN in collaboration with Team France - Filières d'Excellence - and the Fédération Française de Voile. The final selections will be announced on May 15th when the exciting French team will welcome eight under 25s in a mixed team, and eight female athletes for the respective events. Further trials for the cyclor unit have been underway through April under the watchful eyes of coaches Kilian Philipe and Thierry Douillard with Quentin Delapierre also in attendance. Strength and explosive ability on the static bikes were measured for the invited athletes all hoping to get the nod for the Orient Express Racing Team at the 37th America's Cup in Barcelona.