America’s Cup: Italians and Swiss both begin tow testing

America’s Cup: Italians and Swiss both begin tow testing

America’s Cup: Italians and Swiss both begin tow testing


17/04/2024 - 18:00

A day of firsts in this Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup with Alinghi Red Bull Racing launching in Barcelona and heading out for its first tow-test whilst in Cagliari, a mast-less Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli battled worsening weather for a quick, and at times eventful, tow-session in the morning.

For the Italians, there was a large sense of excitement as they docked-out from their Molo Ichnusa base with technicians onboard monitoring everything and the helms, Jimmy Spithill and Francesco Bruni, and the flight controllers (Umberto Molineris and Andrea Tesei) getting to grips with a boat that they had only ever experienced before in the simulator.

Ride heights were tested and the speeds increased as confidence built, but a splashdown caused by a tow-line issue reminded everyone that AC75s have a habit of biting, and biting hard. For Luna Rossa, running the legacy foil configuration, perhaps this was to be expected as they experimented with flight height and for sure, the sailors will be looking forward to the day when the real foils are strapped on beneath them and sails are up aloft.

Speaking afterwards Horacio Carabelli, the highly experienced America’s Cup veteran and now Design Co-Ordinator for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli seemed pleased with the first impressions of the new boat, saying: “I think it's pretty good, the first time that we have the boat out in the water, not sailing by itself but towing, but it was more about checking a little bit of systems now and getting ready for the first sailing. Pretty happy with how everything went today, think a great job from all the shore crew working on it and part of the yard people also involved on getting other bits and pieces ready and we will have in front of us a couple of days more hard work and hopefully we'll be able to go and put the sails up."

Talking about the Luna Rossa hull profile which looks designed to end-plate highly effectively, Horacio added: “I think that everybody, all the teams, are investing in that, how you close, how you seal yourself with the sea level and it's also about what's going to be the conditions at the venue and everybody's looking for something in that direction. I believe that when we have been developing and looking forward, we're pretty happy with it at the moment but let's see how it goes sailing...when we’re pushing hard it's going to give us other answers as well.”

For Alinghi Red Bull Racing, it was a day of team celebration and media interviews before the sailors took charge of their new AC75 and gently towed it out into the harbour basin in the late afternoon.

The new boat is the first of the new generation to feature the longer-span wings and looking at them up-close whilst on the dock the pivot join to the flap is almost completely hidden. At the mid-section there is clear indication of movement with a split but to the naked eye they almost look like a solid piece of carbon running full length. The obligatory cameras are monted on the outer tips and at the trailing edge. As a first iteration, they are a mighty piece of engineering.

The look of the new Swiss boat is all business (detailed analysis in previous article) and the commissioning process starts here with the hard-driving sailors keen to get into it and explore just what this 'radical' design can deliver. A quick tow lasting just over 40 minutes and the newly christened boat was brought back to the dock- long days ahead for sure.


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