America’s Cup: stunning Barcelona delivers again

America’s Cup: stunning Barcelona delivers again

America’s Cup: stunning Barcelona delivers again


02/08/2023 - 19:31

Emirates Team New Zealand put in another solid afternoon of training after an initial delay to allow for the wind to fill out on the designated America’s Cup racecourse off the Barceloneta beachfront. It was a slow-build followed by a slow-fade weather pattern that tested their light air technique in sub 10 knots of breeze before filling in briefly mid-afternoon and giving the team a thorough and highly productive work-out of pre-start practice.

Staying close to the shore and doing short laps on the racecourse built valuable data for the analysts and sailors as the vagaries of that coastline with its sunken man-made reefs make for a very unique profile of chop, swell and wind bends. Temperatures were scorching with the mercury touching 32 degrees in the afternoon as the thermal south-easterly ‘Garbi’ wind blew in to mercifully cool the city, but Barcelona is really delivering superb sailing conditions out on the water day after day.

The concentration for the Kiwis was clearly on race-type situations to really test the whole crew and dial in Pete Burling and Nathan Outteridge with their Flight Controllers to achieve the critical co-ordination required to take these AC75s into a start box and be effective. Much technique was on show, particularly in the speed burns as they approached back to the line with time to kill whilst some of the team’s most exacting runs were on fast straight-lines to the start-line at full speed. Incredible to watch. The team were really on it and some superb footage was caught on the recon video.

Sam Meech summed up the day afterwards saying: “It was a great day out there, we were into bit of a slow-build but it came in the end and we had some good laps around and I think we had about 8- 12 knots so awesome day for the team…it's good to get into it especially on the race course, you know, we did a lot of work in the AC40s around pre-starts earlier in the year and it's nice to put it onto the course here.”

The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist in the ILCA 7, Sam is one of the super-fit cyclor team members who rotate in through the day and in those conditions, with the power demands of short-course racing, it looked tough. Clearly though the rotations were working well as Sam confirmed saying: “We were swapping people in and out during the day just to keep everyone fresh in this heat. It's pretty hard work when you start, it's not too bad as the day goes on especially on a day like today where it's that hot, you know it's pretty nice to have a little break… actually I haven't found it too difficult as long as we're drinking well before we go out and then again afterwards it's not been too bad. We haven't done any mega long sails so yeah, so far, we’ve have been alright.”

Meanwhile it was a different story entirely for Alinghi Red Bull Racing who brought both of their AC40s down from their temporary tent to their new base situated near the Mare Magnum complex in the Port Vell but only elected to sail this afternoon with AC40-4, their modified AC40 with the latest iteration of their foil design on the port side. Having docked out at the same time as the Kiwis at 1pm, the session was over quickly after a blistering low-ride run just outside the harbour entrance before being forced to retire slowly back to base with issues on the new foil arm.

The Swiss limped back to shore and as the Recon Team noted: “The port foil arm was lifted as the yacht was slowly towed back to base. Michel Kermarec and Adolfo Carrau were on the water, then joined by more foil designers who arrived at the base imminently when the boat docked in, to inspect the damage to the foil. After crane-out, it was noted that the interior surface access hatch of the foil arm dislodged, revealing the inner workings of the foil.”

Speaking afterwards Adolfo Carrau, Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s Design Co-Ordinator played down the issue saying: “We have to lift the boat and figure it out. It must be something small, but we thought it was prudent to stop it and return and evaluate things in the shed.”

Adolfo also gave a wider interview talking about when the team’s new AC75 would be delivered to the Swiss sailors who are more than keen to get sailing on the second generation of these foiling monohulls, as he said: “I think as soon as the weather gets you know sailable here I think that's the right time, so I think we are tuning our design deadlines and also all the logistics around it to have the boat whenever is the most productive.”

And talking about the Delta Tubercle foil that Alinghi Red Bull Racing ran as its first upgrade on the One Design AC40 foils, Adolfo was asked if the design team were happy with what they saw, and he said: “Very happy. It was probably the most interesting foil that we tested ever, so yeah, we got a lot out of it.”

Plenty more to come from the Swiss in the coming days.

Over at the INEOS Britannia base, just around the Port Vell from the Swiss, it was declared as a non-sailing day but for the first time we saw the highly technical LEQ12 ‘T6’ being rolled-out, rigged and measured by the engineers on the dockside in Barcelona. The process of commissioning such an exact boat is a lengthy task and the team toiled in the afternoon heat for some seven hours, measuring everything with extraordinary accuracy and dialling the onboard systems in.

Remember, ‘T6’ is the boat that live links back to a ‘Mission Control’ centre at the Mercedes Applied Science headquarters in Brackley in the UK so accuracy is everything and one can only imagine the data being gathered on a daily basis. The foils appeared exactly as we left off in Palma with the promising long-span starboard anhedral and the ‘Spitfire’ foil on port – both now with quite large Pitot tubes extending forward and the usual impressive array of cameras.

First sailing day is now scheduled for tomorrow for the Challenger of Record and they will make a very welcome sight on the crystal blue waters of Barcelona to continue their high-intensity training and testing programme that they started last week with their AC40 ‘Athena.’

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli was also out on the water today, continuing their AC40 One Design training schedule and as before, with the boat in One Design mode, there is no official recon to report and the AC40 was only briefly seen in the background when passing Alinghi Red Bull Racing or Emirates Team New Zealand.

Plenty more to come this week from Barcelona.

41 Copa del Rey MAPFRE: the King and Aifos win coastal race
Peters & May announces three-year sponsorship with NYYC RA