Emirates team new Zeland unveil new foil

Emirates team new Zeland unveil new foil

Emirates Team New Zeland unveil new foil

Sport

19/05/2023 - 12:42

It was the end of February when we last saw Emirates Team New Zealand sailing onboard an AC40 but ahead of the team’s two boats being loaded on to a ship imminently alongside the AC75 ‘Te Rehutai’ for the slow journey up to Barcelona, the team ramped up their programme with both AC40’s out on the Hauraki Gulf.

What the team were so keen to test out ahead of the European summer season was a new long-span starboard foil on the AC40 (that they’ve moded as an LEQ12) set off a moderately slab-sided bulb with the intersection to the foil arm forward in the bulb – not as extreme as the new Alinghi Red Bull Racing ‘Tubercle’ foil that hangs off a desperately shallow bulb but more similar to the American Magic port foil that they revealed at the end of their Pensacola sessions last week, at least in terms of bulb wall and presumably to reduce leeway. The gentle anhedral of the Kiwi foil is very much along the lines that the ETNZ Design Office favours, replacing the version that they broke cover very early soon after the initial launch of the world’s first AC40, and with rumble/flow strips mounted on the bottom of the foil arm and wrapped around the front of both the inner and outer foil, a camera mounted underneath on the inboard foil was there for the analysis.

However, a collision with a log at speed on the second tack of the day just off North Head very nearly brought the day to an early conclusion for the LEQ12 with the starboard foil suffering damage just below the intersection with the foil arm. Immediately the sailors lowered the sails, and the chase boat team were in quickly, taking the boat back to the Wynyard Dock and hauling out for a thorough inspection. The maze of wires running down the lower foil arm could be clearly seen exposed, and the carbon fibre shards were quickly cut out and at double-speed, the repair was affected. Top job from the relentless shore team. The LEQ12 was dropped back into the briny a little under an hour later and towed out to join the AC40 with Liv Mackay and Josh Junior aboard for an entertaining afternoon session that stretched into the evening.

The recon team noted that for the LEQ12 it was very much a commissioning run with all manner of modes and pitches being rifled through quickly by Pete Burling and Nathan Outteridge and as Ray Davies, the team’s coach, commented afterwards: “Yeah, for sure with the new foil there’s heaps to learn, there’s obviously cameras on it and so forth and designers pouring all over it and yes just some fast modes, some slow modes and different drops, accelerations all sorts…Yes, happy overall. Against the one design board you’d like to think it’s going well so we’ll do some to some two-boat racing probably next week now so that helps us get an understanding of its performance. It is quite hard to tell purely off numbers so it’s quite nice when you can line a couple of boats up.”

Talking about the incident early in the session Ray gave his analysis saying: “Big day, big week. Having the two boats on the water is always a logistical handful but it's going well but we hit a bit of wood out there and with all this weather there’s quite a lot of debris out there, just off North Head, first tack of the day so that was a bit of a shame and we thought that was potentially going to end our block but the boat builders were able to do a bit of work on it, patch it up and we got out there for a good session at the end of the day which was nice ‘cause it was obviously our new foil there and we were able to get some good numbers on it. We’re probably blown out for the next five days - another ‘cyclone’ coming to New Zealand – it’s just a low this one, so all good.”

And talking about the effort to get the LEQ12 back in the water in such quick time, Ray was full of praise for the team saying: “It was a good day, a massive team effort. The team’s just charging at the moment, we’ve got a lot going on when you look around the yard it's like crazy how much we’ve got going on, but we’re smashing it out and looking forward to getting up to Barcelona later in the year and getting a bit of this kit up there.”

More to come soon from the Kiwis as they wait for the weather to clear in Auckland but the new foil very much signals that the arms-race in this America’s Cup cycle, is well underway.

 

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