February update for 37th America’s Cup

Published on March 14th, 2023

For the America’s Cup teams, the northern hemisphere winter has been cold and unpredictable whilst New Zealand has faced a poor summer of rain and storms. Here’s an update on the latest activity in this America’s Cup cycle…

NYYC American Magic (USA)
The de-commissioning of Patriot, the team’s warhorse AC75 from AC36, was done in some style. On the penultimate day of sailing, the much-modified rocket-ship was hitting 50 knots on the bear-aways and was given a final run-out on February 5 covering over 100 nautical miles and welcomed back to base with red, white, and blue smoke flares.

Out with the old and in with the new though, as the team took delivery of their AC40 America ahead of launching and maiden sail at the beginning of March. A team very much on the up, their winter in Pensacola Bay has been highly profitable with an assured confidence coursing through the team, now with one eye on the logistics of a move to Barcelona this summer.

Orient Express Racing Team (FRA)
The beginning of February saw the announcement that the French are back in the America’s Cup with Orient Express Team led by Stéphan Kandler and Bruno Dubois. The team will be buying a design package off Emirates Team New Zealand and on the water, the hard-driving Quentin Delapierre will skipper, Thierry Douillard will coach whilst Franck Cammas will advise as Head of Performance and Design/Sailor Co-ordinator. Benjamin Muyl has been appointed as Principal Designer with Antoine Carraz supporting as Technical Director. Orient Express Team will be operational in Barcelona in Summer 2023 with an AC40 in build at McConaghy’s.

INEOS Britannia (GBR)
A tricky start to the month for the British with the capsize and turtling of their prototype LEQ12 T6 on February 8 that caused extensive damage. The ‘INEOS bounce’ though was quick, with the almost immediate launch on the February 15 of the team’s AC40 Athena that had been in the shed since October whilst the concentration had been on T6.

With foiling talent to burn and deep resources all over, INEOS Britannia’s sailors barely missed a beat in getting Athena up to speed and rocketing around the Bay of Palma. The silver-lining for T6 was that it was due an extensive upgrade just before the capsize so any upset to the program was mitigated.

Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
It’s been a month of two-boat testing on AC40s for the Kiwis, as they continue on their path towards AC37. The established helms of Nathan Outteridge and Pete Burling began to be pushed hard in the team’s LEQ12 over short-course racing by newcomers Liv Mackay and Leo Takahashi in the One-Design AC40 overseen by Josh Junior.

A new mainsail head arrangement on the LEQ12 plus some modifications to the port anhedral foil were on display for the shared recon team, whilst the announcement that Te Rehutai – the team’s Cup-winning boat from AC36 – will very soon to be back out on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli (ITA)
The Italians continue to impress, training out of Cagliari in Sardinia aboard their LEQ12, the sailing team look the most assured on the water and confident in their development program that has seen several foil upgrades through February. Marco Gradoni and Ruggero Tita have both enjoyed significant helming time, rotating in for Francesco Bruni and Jimmy Spithill with ease.

Over short courses, the Italians have looked imperious with dynamite technique and boat-handling. In February the team ran a training camp for the next generation of Italian Youth & Women, sailing Persico 69Fs and will take delivery of their first AC40 in March 2023. The Challenger to watch for sure.

Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
February 15th saw a landmark moment for the America’s Cup with the launch and maiden sail of Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s AC40 becoming the first team to sail the new class in Barcelona. Meanwhile, BoatZero went back into the shed for considerable deck modifications to reduce crew numbers from eleven to eight and introduce aero cyclors into the mix that appeared at the beginning of March.

Additionally, a notable a step-change for the sailing team as they took charge of the AC40 and had it flying almost immediately. Just six days later, on February 21, the Swiss joined the capsize club as the sailors pushed harder and harder to find the limits of the AC40 having got loose on a gybe. Being based at the venue, the highly focused and settled Swiss are looking better and better with each passing month.

Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, 2021, the AC75 Class Rule and AC Technical Regulations were finalized on March 17, 2022. The entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender was to announce the Match Venue on September 17, 2021 but postponed the venue reveal, confirming it would be Barcelona on March 30, 2022. The 37th America’s Cup will be held in September/October 2024.

Teams revealed to challenge defender Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL):
INEOS Britannia (GBR)
Alinghi Red Bull Racing (SUI)
Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team (ITA)
NYYC American Magic (USA)
K-Challenge Racing (FRA)

Noticeboard: https://ac37noticeboard.acofficials.org/
Additional details: www.americascup.com/en/home

Source: ACE

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