It has been a very busy lead up to the Christmas break with the America’s Cup teams all at full tilt either on the water or in preparation for what is shaping up to be a very intense New Year. Here’s a brief recap of where all the teams are at.
Emirates Team New Zealand – Defender
As the defenders of the America’s Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand endured an interrupted end of year session following their nosedive and subsequent bow damage on 21st November. But the mark of this team is that when faced with adversity they double-down on their efforts and come back stronger.
The shore team were sublime, working round-the-clock shifts to affect a repair and on the 16th December, ETNZ rolled out the fully restored LEQ12 and barely looked like they had missed a beat.
Then came the second AC40, , the following day and immediately the sailors had the boat flying, straight out of the box at warp speed. Make no mistake, the Kiwis are the team who are setting the level in this America’s Cup.
A final session on the 22nd December saw 100% tack and gybe foil-to-foil manoeuvres and it’s the standard to match for the challengers. Expect to see two-boat testing of their AC40’s early in the New Year.
INEOS Britannia – Challenger of Record
The launch of T6, the INEOS Britannia testing platform was waited on with much anticipation and its angular design saw the rest of the Cup world sit up and take notice.
The planned tow-testing at scale with the fitting of a towing mast was eventually outlawed by an AC Rules Committee ruling that changed the course of the early British programme.
The shore crew set to work at pace, completing a remarkable transformation of the platform in double-quick time and on the 22nd December, the team led by multi-Olympic Gold medallists Sir Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott had the ‘Silver Arrow’ flying around the Bay of Palma.
Meanwhile shoreside, the power group have welcomed a new member of the team in Matt Rossitter and have been training with the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team. There’s much to cheer now for the British supporters and certainly a team that everyone will be watching in 2023.
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli
After suffering from a crane protocol mis-fire saw the rig crash to the dock and some minor boat damage on the 7th November, it has been all one way traffic, forwards, for the fast-driving Italians. Sessions out in the Bay of Angels off Cagliari have been intense with Jimmy Spithill, Francesco ‘Cecco’ Bruni and Ruggero Tita driving the LEQ12 through all conditions with real style.
Technique has been something for all Italian fans to cheer with their upwind windward-heel, super-fast tacks/gybes, and highly consistent flight a marvel to watch.
In terms of technology, the team have been hard at work data gathering through their heavily sensored LEQ12 and the programme has been both logical and relentless.
This is a team with the burning ambition to go one better than last time and bring the America’s Cup back to Cagliari.
On this form, it’s hard to bet against them. 2023 will be a fascinating year for Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli.
New York Yacht Club American Magic
The team very much of the moment. American Magic have completed a sublime and intense pre-Christmas training session bringing in new recruits in the power group manning the cyclors and bedding-in the superstar talents of Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison.
There has been no let-up in the systems development, and this has been equalled by the commitment from the sailors who day after day have been out in Pensacola Bay throwing in huge numbers of tacks and gybes and long, long flight times.
‘Impressive’ doesn’t do the team justice – this is a team that has fully recovered from the travails of AC36 and are busy writing a very entertaining and positive next chapter of the America quest to win back the America’s Cup. With AC40’s coming in the Spring and the design for the new AC75 benefitting from the at-scale testing of Patriot, this is a team that everyone has their eyes on in 2023.
Alinghi Red Bull Racing
Based in Barcelona, the Swiss team enjoyed some late summer training through to the middle of November before taking BoatZero into the shed for some extensive surgery to fit a new self-tacking jib system.
With no on-water stories to report, this young team kept themselves very busy in the gym and on the cycle trails around the hills just outside the city centre.
They are looking increasingly comfortable as a collective and this was beginning to show in the sailing sessions that were getting more intense under the guidance of Sailing Team Advisers Pietro Sibello and Dean Barker.
The New Year will see the team enter the most intensive period of training and testing whilst construction on their new team base has just begun literally a few hundred metres from their existing temporary base at the mouth of the port.
The learning curve is steep for the Swiss but as two-time winners of the America’s Cup, you can never count them out. 2023 is very much the year for the Swiss to shine.
Source : mysailing.com.au