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Cup Spy May 17: Impressive sailing session for two AC75 teams

by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World NZ 20 May 12:43 NZST 18 May 2024
INEOS Britannia - AC75 - Day 13 - May 17, 2024 - Barcelona © Job Vermeulen / America's Cup

Two teams (USA and GBR) sailed AC75s on Friday out of Barcelona, on a day blessed with a good solid sailing breeze ETNZ sailed both their AC40s in contested training for all three sailing squads - Womens, Youth and Defence.

It was an ideal foiling breeze in Barcelona, but with an off-axis seastate.

What happened in the Cup - May 17, 2024:

  • INEOS Britannia sailed in their AC75 - completing a four and a half session achieving some good dry foiling tacks (33/36) and had a perfect record 26/26 on foiling gybes. So far with their new AC75, the Brits are having a dream run, and look to have put the issues of the 2017 and 2021 Cups behind them, as well as a stutter-start to the current cycle.
  • Emirates Team New Zealand continued to train in the AC40s with three sailing squads - Defence, Youth and Womens switching around the two AC40. The experience level within the squads on the water today varied from sailors who had won two America's Cups to those having their first ever sail in a foining monohull. ETNZ's AC 75 has been decommissioned and is in the process of being shipped to Barcelona.
  • American Magic sailed their AC75 in an intense five hour session, involving 80 tacks/gybes with a 95% dry foiling percentage. While conditions were ideal for foiling, but there was some residual swell from 180°. The wind angle was recorded at 045-060°. The US team had an early start and were back on the dock just after mid-day having sailed for just under five hours.
  • Alinghi Red Bull Racing did not sail.
  • Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli have decommissioned their AC75 in preparation for relocation to the team's America's Cup base in Barcelona.
  • Orient Express Racing Team: Were on the water sailing in One Design mode in their AC40. Their AC75 is in Barcelona however a launch date has yet to be publicly advised.

INEOS Britannia - AC75 - Day 12 - May 17, 2024 - Barcelona

Team Ineos Britannia rolled out RB3 at 07:00hrs today and crane in was done at 07:45hrs after some regular checks and maintenances on the different aero and flight control systems.

Today just the camera from starboard side foil was seen installed. Lidars for main and jib sails were also on board.

Dock out was done at 09:00hrs and RB3 was towed to the entrance of the harbour where sails were hoisted. Main sail MN1 was hoisted and paired to a J3 jib. A breeze of about 7-8kts from 50º (NE) was blowing at that moment but rapidly increased to 10-14kts. The sea state was about 0.8-1.3 m and grew a little bit more after mid-day.

Around eight upwinds and downwinds with legs of different lengths were sailed today and also some reaching courses were done.

It was the first day that we could see Britannia sailing with medium winds from the NE direction with its respective tricky wave. We could see the boat flying higher than we are used with the SW winds and flatter waters and delivering a high percentage of clean manoeuvres.

Starboard tacks and gybes were found a bit more faster than port side ones, we thought it could be due to the waves direction but most probably it was just because of the camera that is located in the starboard side foil.

Upwind legs were sailed at about 45-50º and downwind legs at about 140º to the wind.

Three cycling swaps were done: first at 1100hrs (after 1 h 15 min of effective sailing), second at 1200hrs (after 1hrs of effective sailing) and third at 14:50hrs (after 75mins approx of effective sailing).

Batteries were changed at 1300hrs when also jib J3 was replaced by jib J2 (9-11kts from 75º). This stop took almost one hour. At this moment also Dylan Fletcher got on board as a backup from Ben Ainslie as a starboard helm.

When sailing with J2 very similar upwind and downwind angles were seen but it was in the tack manoeuvres were we could see a lower level of performance than when sailing with J3.

Sails were dropped at 15:20hrs and dock in was done at 15:50hrs for INEOS Britannia team.

As a summary of the day, the British team sailed 100 miles, 4hr 30mins approximately were fully foiling around eight upwind-downwinds with long straight lines. 33 tacks (2 touch and go and 1 touch down) and 26 gybes, almost all of them fully foiling. Some reaching courses were also done and diverse upwind and downwind round markings were done.

[Jose Luis Piñana – INEOS Britannia AC Recon]


Sailing: Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott; Dylan Fletcher, Bleddyn Mon, Leigh McMillan.

Power: Jim Ratcliffe, Harry Leask, Matt Gotrel (->Ryan Todhunter, Ben Cornish), James Skulczuk, Luke Parkinson (->Freddie Carr, Neil Hunter).

Session Statistics: INEOS Britannia - AC75 - Day 12 - May 17, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 21 degrees Clear skies, Sunny
  • Wind Strength 7-14kts
  • Wind Direction: 50°-75°
  • Sea State: 1.0-1.5mtrs from 188° (S)
  • Crane In: 0745hrs Dock Out: 0900hrs
  • Dock In: 1550hrs Crane out: 1625hrs
  • Takeoff Data: Boatspeed 16kts, Angle 85 degrees, Windspeed Not stated
  • Total Tacks: 33 - Fully foiling: 30; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 1
  • Total Gybes: 26 - Fully foiling: 26; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 0

American Magic - AC75 - Day 7 - May 17, 2024 - Barcelona

American Magic rolled out Patriot at 05:35hrs in an effort to catch the morning breeze. Following an 06:05hrs crane in, standard checks were carried out before dock out at 07:55. The MN2-1 mainsail and J2-1 jib were hoisted under the breakwater, with the J2 subsequently replaced with the J3-1 jib just before setting sail at 08:40hrs. A residual south swell combined with 10kts avg. wind chop from the NE made for an aggressive sea state, but not large enough to impact sailing on the foils.

The team started off testing the starboard foil, still with cameras mounted to the top and bottom outboard surfaces of the foil, was carried out at varying angles, from very high and slow, to low and fast. Following these tests, the team sailed down to the leeward gate and completed a lap of the 2nm windward/leeward course, set at 55°. Race course practice commenced at 09:30hrs, with Patriot entering on port and sailing two laps of the course, finishing with a JK manoeuvre (270° turn) round the leeward gate, as technicians jumped on board and headed below deck. A second pre-start was practiced, entering on port and performing a 360° (tack and gybe) after the start. This start was not on GPS time. Following, the J3 was exchanged with the J1, as cyclors also rotated.

A third start (port entry), continued into two laps of the course, with a touch down noted on approach to rounding the leeward gate after the first lap. The J1 was exchanged back to the J3 ahead of one practice pre-start (starboard entry) and a final start (port entry) which was subsequently abandoned. Sailing resumed, with an apparent focus on the jib system, as the team sailed a final upwind leg, before turning downwind and continuing to the port to end the sailing day.

Sails were dropped by 12:30hrs and the team docked in at 12:40hrs, after just under five hours on the water, of which 155 minutes were spent sailing, divided into seven phases. 80 manoeuvres were observed, with a fully foiling rate of 95%. All starts (on GPS time) were clear and on time.


Sailing: Tom Slingsby, Paul Goodison, Michael Menninger , Andrew Campbell.

Power: Madison Molitor , Ashton Lambie , Trevor Burd , James Wright , Ethan Seder , Tim Hornsby

American Magic - AC75 - Day 7 - May 17, 2024 - Barcelona

  • Weather: 22° Partly Cloudy
  • Wind Strength: 7-13kts
  • Wind Direction:045-060°
  • Sea State: 0.7-1.2mtrs Residual S swell and NE wind chop
  • Crane In: 0605hrs Dock Out: 0705hrshrs
  • Dock In: 1240hrshrs Crane out: 1330hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: 60°-80° Boatspeed: 18-20kts
  • Total Tacks: 39; Fully Foiling: 38; Touch & Go: 1; Touch Down: 0;
  • Total Gybes: 41; Fully Foiling: 38; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 1;

Emirates Team New Zealand - AC40 x 2 - Day 77 - May 17, 2024 - Auckland

An early start for ETNZ this morning, heading out for another day of two-boat sailing. Docking out with the AC40 OD at 09:30hrs, they headed out for a training session with the Youth and Women's team before being joined by the rest of the sailing team and LEQ 12 later in the afternoon.

Starting sailing in a very light southerly, the full women's team completed a good sailing block. This was the first time they had the entire team present, with Erica Dawson, Gemma Jones, Liv Mackay, and Jo Aleh, while Molly Meech observed from the chase boat. Erica Dawson is a 2020 and 2024 Olympic representative in the Nacra 17 class. This was Erica's first time sailing onboard AC40 as she has just returned from campaigning the Nacra 17 in Europe. They sailed laps in the inner harbor around Mechanics Bay. Initially requiring a tow to start and a tow restart out of most maneuvers, they quickly began completing maneuvers fully foiling and sailed some clean laps with visible improvements over the session.

After the morning session, the team was joined on the water in the early afternoon by LEQ 12 and the AC sailing team. They did a crew swap and started sailing with Josh Junior, Sam Meech, Marcus Hansen, and Gemma Jones (2016 Olympic rep in the Nacra 17). LEQ 12 and the AC40 OD spent some time sailing around the harbor, eventually heading out to the area just north of Rangitoto Lighthouse and got into some practice starts on a laid course.

With the wind light, the AC40 OD stayed with the J1 while the LEQ 12 had a J2 up. This resulted in some differences between the boats, with AC40 having more drive out of maneuvers but lacking some top-end speed, especially reaching. Even with these differences, the teams had some close starts with no great dominance shown by either team.

The style of starting was much more focused on picking a lead-back time and minimizing maneuvers to keep boat speed up as falling off the foils was a major concern for the teams. During the starts watched today, the team that chose the best lead-back time would win the start. This went both ways, with different teams getting it correct. The lighter wind made it harder to hook and push the opposition towards the start line early. Only pre-starts were completed today with no full lap races.

Wrapping up the sailing block, the Women's team swapped back into the AC40 OD and sailed into the harbor, with LEQ 12 practicing some boat-on-boat maneuvers. AC40 OD stayed out on the water to use all the daylight and training time available, while LEQ 12 headed for the dock.

Recon had an interview with Thomas Leigh, ETNZ Mechatronics engineer.

[AC37 Joint Recon Team - Sam Thom and Connor Mashlan]

Emirates Team New Zealand - AC40 x 2 - Day 77 - May 17, 2024 - Auckland

  • Weather: 14-18° Overcast
  • Wind Strength: 5-10kts
  • Wind Direction: 180° S
  • Sea State: Flat Inner Harbour
  • Crane In: 0830hrs Dock Out: 1200hrs
  • Dock In: 1600hrs Crane out: 1635hrs
  • Takeoff Angle TWA: NA - AC40s
  • Total Tacks: NA; Fully Foiling: NA; Touch & Go: NA; Touch Down: NA;
  • Total Gybes: NA; Fully Foiling: NA; Touch & Go: NA; Touch Down: NA;

Photos of Interest:

These images were mentioned specifically by the AC37 Joint Recon Teams in their reports, sent to all teams. These draw the teams' attention to new aspects or features of the AC75s which have not been seen previously, or are requested specifically by the teams as part of the Recon process.

American Magic:

INEOS Britannia:

None supplied

Additional Images:

This commentary was written and compiled from video, still images and statistical content extracted from the AC37 Joint Recon program and other material available to Sail-World NZ, including photo files and other on the water coverage from the 2010, 2013, and 2017 and 2021 America's Cups. Its format is intended to give Sail-World readers a snapshot of all teams' progress on a given day or period.

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