America’s Cup – Winter is coming

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America’s Cup

The tell-tale sign that the Mediterranean weather is on the turn could be seen most evidently with the Alinghi Red Bull Racing team all breaking out the winter drysuits in sync today for a late afternoon training session amidst falling sea and air temperatures. Gone are the shorts and sun protectors of an endless summer where temperatures touched the low 40’s this year, and it was down to business as BoatZero docked out after lunch at 12.55pm in search of breeze knowing that the ‘golden hour’ which blesses this part of the world on a frequent basis, towards sunset, was where the maximum gains could be made.

Interesting to see today an almost continuous rotation of sailing advisers and the mainsail trimmer standing well aft and as Florian Trub, a very popular member of the power unit and jib trimmer commented: “We did all the testing that we wanted to do today. It was a very good day. We were trying out a lot of different settings and sometimes (the person on the stern) is the mainsail trimmer looking at both sails and whether they are in sync or a coaching consultant to have an overview of both cockpits; because you have a mainsail in between and you don’t see each other; so sometimes it’s good to have a coach on the back of the boat to see what both sides are doing.”

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

This concentration on co-ordination is fast becoming a theme of Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s sailing and getting that almost innate sense of what the other helmsman, power group or trimmers are doing is a key skill to master. The Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, the pioneers of the two-helm system in AC36, developed this ability to such a degree that they were worthy winners of the Challenger series and ran Emirates Team New Zealand extremely close in the Match. Recognising this, all teams appear to be copying the dual-helm approach but it’s the co-ordination between the respective crews in their split cockpits and in particular the power generation and efficient use of that power that will be of the highest importance for AC37 in Barcelona. And with the introduction of cyclors for this cycle, pardon the pun, the increased power generation will be significant.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

For Alinghi Red Bull Racing, certainly one of the teams to watch in terms of development, today very much seemed like a data gathering and systems check exercise with lengthy, straight-line runs performed as the team neglected the manoeuvring in order to long-test in a breeze that struggled to hit 8 knots as the afternoon faded. A couple of early pauses for repairs were necessary but the recon units reported that the exact cause was uncertain. Self-take-offs at 20 knots and a 90 degree TWA (True Wind Angle) were encouraging and it was clear that the team were looking at ride height and going through various modes to find stability – which in the main they did.

Big concentration on the sail trim to foil numbers and we could well have witnessed BoatZero today sailing under the influence of Flight Controller control rather than auto-pilot. A lot of concentration was evident in the power group with sailing advisers Dean Barker and Pietro Sibello demanding ever more and encouraging the young Swiss crew out of any comfort zones.

Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

A good afternoon of training and the Bull was back at base safely as the Barcelona light faded just before 6pm. The team are not scheduled to sail tomorrow but the programme continues shoreside and we expect to see them back on Friday and perhaps into the weekend.

Long days for Alinghi Red Bull Racing. Winter is coming.

On-Water Recon Unit Notes: Alinghi covered more than 47 Nautical Miles over a four-and-a-half-hour session. The conditions were not as forecast, with less wind coming from the South/South West. The team started with a half hour stint on the J1, then changed to the J2 after for the rest of the day. A few problems on the water, with repairs/adjustments to systems being made on two occasions. It was not clear what systems were affected or the cause. Not many manoeuvres were attempted compared to previous days, instead long runs on either tack. The team will not be sailing tomorrow.

Wind speeds were measured with an anemometer 3m above sea level. Wind Log: 3-4kn 190° @ 13:15, 4-5kn 190° @ 13:45, 7-9kn 220° @ 14:35, 6-8kn 220° @ 15:30, 5-6kn 240° @ 16:15. Sailing Log: Sailing 13:50 – 14:25 (J1, 1 Foiling Tack – Fully Foiling) , Repair 14:30 – 15:00 (damage not known, work carried out inboard) , Sailing 15:10 – 15:15 (J2, Foiling) , Repair 15:25 – 15:40 (damage not known, work carried out inboard) , Sailing 15:45 – 16:10 (J2, 1 Foiling Tack – Touch Go , 1 Non Foiling Tack) , Sailing 16:15 – 16:35 (1 Non Foiling Tack , 1 Foiling Gybe – Touch Down) , Sailing 16:40 – 17:00 (1 Non Foiling Tack) . Sails down at 17:10 and tow back to base.

Driving Group: Arnaud Psarofaghis, Dean Barker, Yves Detrey, Bryan Mettraux, Pietro Sibello, Nico Charbonnier, Lucien Cujean

Power Group: Nicolas Rolaz, Thery Schir, Nico Stahlberg, Florian Trub

Sails Used:
M1 (M2-2L): 4 hours 25 minutes
J1 (J1-R): 45 minutes
J2 (J2-1L): 1 hour 35 minutes

Total Tacks: 5 – 1 foil-to-foil and 1 touch and go – 3 displacement

Total Gybes: Zero

Dock-Out: 12.55pm Dock-In: 5.40pm