For fans of the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup, February was a month of tantalisation with the initial announcements in quick succession by Emirates Team New Zealand, Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and INEOS Britannia giving notice to the Recon Management Panel, as they are required to do under the Protocol, of their intention to launch their new AC75s within two months.

The exact dates of the launches remain a guarded secret, but the expectation is that the Swiss will be first to reveal with a launch no sooner than April 5th, 2024, and will be the first to get sailing in the new generation boats followed by Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli soon after. The Swiss boat, named ‘BoatOne’ left the build facility in Ecublens, near Lausanne on the morning of the 26th of February headed for Barcelona by truck for final fit-out. Exciting times ahead.

Here’s a summary of each team for February:

Emirates Team New Zealand

Sam Thom / America’s Cup

Returning to Auckland for the summer months, the Defenders of the Louis Vuitton 37thAmerica’s Cup spent February finalising their thinking on foil design, and honing their technique – which is ever-evolving. All eyes are now looking forward to the launch of the team’s new AC75, currently being finished at the North Shore facility, before some crucial weeks of commissioning in Auckland’s late summer. Then the boat will be packed carefully and shipped up to Barcelona, ready to begin an intense training period in the Balearic Sea and getting familiar with the America’s Cup course area just off the La Barceloneta beacjfront where the racing will take place just metres off the shoreline. It’s an intense time for Emirates Team New Zealand with the clock ticking now to when the business end of the campaign becomes very real. For the Kiwi Youth & Women’s teams, their on-water training will begin in earnest very soon in the team’s two AC40’s having spend a good part of February on the simulator and receiving training from the senior team. Busy times for Emirates Team New Zealand.

4INEOS Britannia

A month of highs and crushing lows for the Challenger of Record who began the month very much on a high with the reveal of their second AC40, named ‘Sienna’ and built for the UniCredit Youth & Puig Women’s America’s Cup events, plus a new sponsor with the tech-innovator Cobham-Ultra coming onboard. Immediately the team went into highly intensive two-boat race practice and enjoyed some five days of really productive pre-starts and short-course racing. Unfortunately, on the 16th February a lithium battery fire occurred on the team’s ‘works’ boat ‘Athena’ causing extensive damage and the team had to revert to one-boat one design sailing for the rest of the month on ‘Sienna’. No word yet from the team on whether ‘Athena’ will be re-built, better news came at the Cobham-Ultra press launch and announcement of the Athena Pathway Youth & Women’s Squads with Sir Ben Ainslie further announcing that on the 1st February the new INEOS Britannia AC75 had left the Jason Carrington build facility in Hythe, Southampton that day.


Alinghi Red Bull Racing

Another big month for the Swiss who sensibly divided their training between the AC75 in Barcelona and a thrilling two-boat AC40 block out in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The sailing days numbered 16 in total in February, easily the highest number out of all the teams and their performances on the water have got better and better as a result. In Jeddah, the concentration was on racing, race management, pre-starts and sail development with Dean Barker jetting in to give a different match-racing perspective and some new start-box thinking – a masterstroke. Back in Barcelona, it was all about systems development and crew-training with the team alluding to new logic on the Foil Cant System controls, mainsheet development and the beginning of linked systems or pre-sets which is work that will continue right up to and throughout the Louis Vuitton Cup that starts at the end of August. Fabulous month for the hard-driving Swiss who put a statement of intent down in February that they very much mean business.

NYYC American Magic 

A productive split month for NYYC American Magic with the main concentration through the first ten sailing days on sail development. Long runs were observed as the trimmers tweaked and extracted the data that the sail designers, working from a sail loft in Valencia where the new AC75 sails are being built, demanded. After a short break, the team came back for two-boat race training on the teams’ two AC40s, which had been modified with the best thinking on their LEQ12 foil design with both boats running them on their starboard foil with one-design foils on port.

Ugo Fonollá / America’s Cup

The two-boat race training programme will now proceed through March with the team mixing up their driving line-up and giving more on-water opportunities for their Youth team, led by Harry Melges. Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison very much look to be the stand-out pairing on the helm however, with a great pool of Flight Controllers in Andrew Campbell, Michael Menninger and Riley Gibbs to choose from. The big team news was the signing of a 10 year lease agreement to create a high-performance sailing centre at the Port of Pensacola, their fabulous home base where the campaign started.

LunaRossa Prada Pirelli

Going about their business quietly over in Cagliari, Sardinia, the Italian Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team put in some mammoth performances in February beginning with an intense four-day block of two-boat race practice pitting the team’s AC40 (in one design mode) against the rapier-fast LEQ12 development prototype over a series of high intensity pre-starts and short courses.

© Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

In a variety of conditions, the merits of both boats was tested and the helming team consisting of Jimmy Spithill, Francesco Bruni, Marco Gradoni and Ruggero Tita, pushed themselves to ever greater heights of performance, developing their pre-start and course-management playbooks. Fascinating to watch, the team spent the last part of the month in full-on, big weather training onboard their LEQ12 as they pushed further the pre-sets and introduced new, unseen, componentry. Arguably blessed with the best Flight Control team in this Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup, in Vittorio Bissaro, Andrea Tesei and Umberto Molineris, the Italians are looking well advanced in their preparations and Bissaro’s tease that the new AC75 is a ‘weapon’ and ‘radical’ whets Italian appetite to go one better in 2024.

Orient Express Racing Team

Beginning February with the announcement that Alpine, ‘the sport specialty French car manufacturer owned by Renault Group, had come onboard as official partner it was very much a transitional month for the French team who finally took their one-boat AC40 out of class and introduced a new LEQ12 mainsail and LEQ12 J3 jib over a four-day training block at the beginning of the month. On those sessions, increasingly the team began the process of turning off the auto-pilot to get to grips with manual flight control and it was a productive period for the French who are eyeing a big ramp-up of training in March. Long days on the water, well into the Barcelona evening were the mark of the team’s training in Barcelona in February and as Team Principle Bruno Dubois opined: “On the sailing point of view I think we’re a little bit advanced on what I thought we would be, so we have another couple of months more sailing that way too. I really want the crew to have indigestion of LEQ12 so they will be sick and tired to be on that boat and will be very happy to join a jump on the AC75, so I think yeah, we’re on track at this point.”

© © Job Vermeulen / America’s Cu


In Summary… The race for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup is well and truly under way. With new boats launching, new breakthroughs in design and advances in sailing technique all around, the chasing pack is getting closer and the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, are left under no illusion as to just how hard it will be to complete an historic third win for a single team in a row in Barcelona in October. The new boats bring an added zing to every team with the designers under the spotlight, the build teams working hellish hours to deliver and the shore crews ready to take on their new charges. The pace all round is quickening and the clock is ticking down to what many believe will be the closest event when two boats go head-to-head for the Louis Vuitton 37th

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