America's Cup: Ineos Britannia measuring, testing, innovating

America's Cup: Ineos Britannia measuring, testing, innovating

America's Cup: Ineos Britannia measuring, testing, innovating


13/06/2023 - 06:10

One of the questions that comes up time and again around the 37th America’s Cup is: where will the innovation come and what will it be? In Cup after Cup, we see new takes on long-standing theories that modern construction, materials and understanding allow the teams to investigate and it’s becoming a pretty safe bet that INEOS Britannia, the team with technology coursing through their DNA, is going to be at the forefront in this cycle.

Today out in Palma, almost routinely, the team revealed a bunch of new technology dockside including what looks like digital measurement patches at the first set of spreaders, a Pitot tube on the rather beautiful new starboard foil, a new wired in plastic box low down at the gooseneck and a fairing at the mast base which is an area of high concentration for the overall flow-dampening that the team are aiming for. It’s a bunch of new tech as we would expect from a team backed by the engineering might of Mercedes Applied Science and it’s coming onstream at a canter now as the clock ticks down to the America’s Cup Challenger Selection Series in September 2024. 

Below is the full recon report from Justin Chisholm but really worth a look is the interview with ‘Supercoach’ Rob Wilson who explains the day and gives an insight into what the team are working on with the new tech that also included on-water applications of what looked like flow paint to the foils. This is a team high on measurement, testing and innovation – it’s a tantalising mix for the Challenger of Record.


On-Water Recon Notes: Any ideas that the British team might be winding down as the end to their time in Mallorca looms, were dismissed today when the British LEQ12 T6 test boat was wheeled out of the hangar sporting several changes to its set up.

Most obvious was the addition of a forward-facing pitot tube on the starboard foil, but a new rectangular open enclosure was spotted near the bottom of the aft face of the mast, as was a (perhaps) Mylar patch on the forward edge of the mast above the spreaders which appeared more bulky on the starboard side. Also new was a fairing encircling the bottom of the mast – believed to be a way of smoothly tapering off the bottom front edge of the twin skin mainsail.

Out on the water the crew – helmsmen Giles Scott and Ben Cornish with Bleddyn Mon and Iain Jensen on flight control/sail trim (with Luke Parkinson in the fifth man / observer spot at the back on the starboard side) – had clearly been given a list of manoeuvres and tests to perform. The most interesting of these involved the application of some sort of coating to the upper outer surface of the starboard foil. Once applied the team would set off on starboard upwind, tack, sail for a few hundred metres in bow up mode and then stop. A crew member would photograph the foil and then reapply the substance. This process was repeated three times.

Later the focus switched to fast straight-line sailing with the crew first sailing upwind on one tack from the Palma city front, south out of the confines of the Bay, where – after a tack or gybe – they would sail the reciprocal angle back downwind. After three rounds of this a stop was made for new batteries and to change from the J3-2 to the J4-1 headsail (wind now around 15 knots with gusts to nearly 17).

To round off the day coach Rob Wilson laid a windward/leeward practice course with a single windward mark and a two-buoy leeward gate. Only one practice start was made with the crew sailing three fast laps before a prolonged stop at 1630 to remedy an unidentified issue (perhaps with the mainsheet system as this seemed to be getting a lot of attention) ended with sails starting to be dropped at 1645. Dock in was at 1715. The team will not sail over the weekend.


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