America's Cup: Luna Rossa reveals New Tech as British and Swiss train in stunning Barcelona

America's Cup: Luna Rossa reveals New Tech as British and Swiss train in stunning Barcelona

America's Cup: Luna Rossa reveals New Tech as British and Swiss train in stunning Barcelona


04/05/2024 - 07:00

The impressive Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli challenge for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup took a big step forward today with the reveal of a first set of new generation foils on the starboard arm plus the addition of a new mast on their aesthetically stunning AC75. But it was not just about looks, today in Cagliari we started to see the enormous potential and power of the new boat in a solid breeze that topped out with gusts at 25 knots.

As a commissioning day, it was all about developing the feel for the new foil and checking the systems and controls. Flight looked easier to attain on port tack with the starboard foil immersed, as we would expect, but some assumed electronics issues caused the team to stop for almost half an hour to fix. However once in flight on the new foil, the boat just took off at pace and the wonderful in-built balance that the Italians have with this stunning design allowed the team to ride super-low, end-plating beautifully and really pushing the boat hard. Top speeds looked easily north of 40 knots and even at that pace, the stability of flight was rock solid.

The new foil itself is a sculpted beauty with thin, long-span, almost flat foils situated aft on a flattened bulb stretching to an extreme pointed nose. The interesting detailing is on the foil connection to the arm with an elongated section protruding forward, below which is a stepped arm, housing what appears to be two fences on the outside. So slender are the wings themselves that the trade-off to minimum weight sees more build into the foil arm – an area the designers call the ‘aero-bomb.’ Wing tips are upturned and for today’s first sailing session with the new foil, no add-on cameras could be seen.

With an asymmetric set-up to the foils, it was impressive to see how they mirrored ride height side to side with the legacy anhedral foil, built for Auckland conditions in 2021, hung from the port arm and in the top-end conditions it was all on for the Flight Controllers. On the new foil, the on-water recon team observed that the sailing team were running quite aggressive windward heel, perhaps to not put too much pressure on the foil on its first day in service – that will change.

Speaking afterwards, Umberto Molineris one of the key members of the Luna Rossa Flight Control and Trim teams spoke about the day saying: “Today was the first day on our new wing and difficult day for a commissioning day obviously the main goal of the day was to check the wing and the systems working so it's a bit tricky with these conditions with some big gusts of 25 knots...the wing is really good and then we decided to stop because of the big was a first commissioning day and it was more about testing the systems and I think we will go through all the different moding in the next days.”

Talking about the new mast Umberto animatedly added: “Yes a new shiny mast and today as a first day for the mast I think we loaded it quite well in this big breeze and I think so far we’re happy but let’s see all the checks in the next days.”

Meanwhile back in Barcelona, Alinghi Red Bull Racing and INEOS Britannia trained in amazing sea-breeze conditions with winds peaking at 20 knots and allowing both teams to unleash the monstrous power and performance of their respective platforms. For the Swiss, this was a big day and they capitalised on it, looking solid and steady in flight both upwind and downwind and starting to work in the crucial pre-sets in the upper wind range.

In a swell that was rising to approximately 1.5 metres, the Flight Controllers grappled with ride height, treading the fine line between staying above the waves and keeping the bustle immersed for end-plating. On balance there's still a slight bow-down tendency in flight but the sailors don't seem in the slightest concerned and on long stright-line legs they were pushing hard for VMG and target speeds.

Towards the end of the session, the team felt something on the rudder and speculated that they may have struck a piece of wood so sent a diver in to inspect before calling a day with a small ingress of water found in the hull and towed back to base after just over two and a half hours of super-dynamic training. Impressive to see the team beginning to push this platform hard now and plenty of confidence in the team about the overall design.

Speaking afterwards Nicolas Charbonnier, trimming from the port pod for Maxime Bachelin today, was buzzing from the day saying: “We had a beautiful day sailing in the sea breeze that picked up to 20 knots and everything went really well we had a really flat sea-state also, so it was perfect sailing day for us...We just had a minor issue on the boat and it was a bit difficult to change it on the water so we decided to pull it up and will give more time to the guys to change it tonight and get ready for sailing's a little something we struck with the rudder, maybe a piece of wood so we just wanted to make sure the rudder was in a good shape and everything was alright.”

Talking about how the boat felt today, Nico added: “The boat felt really well balanced, it was the first day for sailing above 15 knots of breeze but everything was really under control and the boat was actually really nice to sail, we had lot of good feelings so it was a beautiful day for us...We are planning to sail tomorrow, it will probably be really good conditions again so we're looking forward to going on the water again to just push the boat as hard as possible and learn a lot.”

For INEOS Britannia it was the second day of commissioning the muscular and highly technical ‘RB3’ so understandably the byword was ‘caution’ for the day with flight only taken upwind as the team get used to everything onboard. The boat popped quickly in the waters off Badalona to the north of Barcelona and from there the team started to quite easily execute foiling tacks on the bigger span foils.

One of the early observed tendencies of ‘RB3’ is to sail quite bow down and for the Flight Controllers it’s a case of building in the pre-sets for all the various conditions in order to maintain optimal flight. The on-water recon team noted that at times they looked a little unstable when up on the foils and were grappling with ride height to correct the issues onboard. At the end of the session with sails down the team played with ride height and take-offs under tow on the way back to the base just after 1pm.

Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Ben Ainslie were charged with helming duties today and for Dylan it was a whole new experience as he reflected: “It's my first time sailing the AC75, it's fantastic and RB3 really is quite a fun boat to sail so it's got some similarities to the simulator, it's been a great tool for us, so yeah fantastic to get out there and experience what they can achieve...Certainly there’s some limits that we've got, and we will slowly open those up as everything looks alright, we've got to be careful with it, it’s our race yacht, so all in all good so far.”

On one particular reach, the recon team observed that RB3 was easily into the 40 knot + bracket of boatspeed and Dylan was impressed with the performance saying: “It was fantastic to open it up a little bit and just tick through the commissioning list so yeah she was going alright and certainly feels like there's lots of performance there and we are looking forward to extrapolate that over the next few months.”

Busy days ahead for all the teams now as the clock ticks away relentlessly. The race for the Louis Vuitton 37thAmerica’s Cup is well and truly on.


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