© Ivo Rovira / America'sCup
Commissioning day for Luna Rossa in the AC40
It was a first proper commissioning day for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli in the AC40 with Ruggero Tita and Marco Gradoni given charge supported by the ace trimmers and Flight Controllers of Umberto Molineris and Andrea Tesei. All was looking good with a calm Bay of Cagliari welcoming one of the prettiest of the new AC40 class with 9 to 14 knots of breeze and a gentle swell for what looked like being potentially a solid day to tick through a full checklist on the systems side.
First take-off looked assured on starboard tack with the port foil immersed and the one design M1 and J3 sails set but very quickly the team discovered a rotor sensor issue with the starboard foil and the realisation quickly dawned that they could only sail on the port foil. This was never going to be a long session in the circumstances, but the team enjoyed the 1 nautical mile run, playing around with ride height and windward heel, understandably a bit erratically at first, but looked pretty solid by the end of the short blast after some hairy high flight initially.
With the issue detected, the technicians were in down below quickly and the call was made to lower sails and head back to shore. Enrico Voltolini, the AC40 boat captain and also one of the team in training to join the power group on the AC75, was pretty clear with the issue saying: “Today we just did a take-off, we got a problem on the rotor sensor on the starboard flap, so we were not able to sail on port and we did a structural test and soon we go back in the water. Yeah, they boat is not so easy like it seems, I mean if you steer and sail the boat it's easier than the prototype or AC75 but on the technical side it is a ‘full of mechatronics’ boat.”
And asked if the issue was something easily solvable, Enrico responded: “It’s solved! In this boat we have five very sensitive valves, and we have some dirty oil, so we just clean the oil and seal back…it’s just that we cannot control the boat sailing just in autopilot mode so without the sensor on the flap we cannot sail manually.”
Early teething issues but this is a team that bounces back very quickly, and the next five days are blocked out on the shared recon calendar as potential sailing days. More to come from the Italians.