It was a big day in the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli LEQ12 programme with a big mistral breeze combining with an offshore swell that gave the sailors their most thorough sailing test to date.
Clearly the traditional gamesmanship of the America’s Cup is very much in play . . .
Gone was the measuring device on the foils – perhaps a consequence of the recent anonymous Rule Interpretation request #26 that can be viewed on the America’s Cup Official Noticeboard.
This is causing quite a lot of back and forth between the teams after an initial request for clarification on whether a towing-mast could be used was made to the Rules Committee.
The initial response and ruling from the Rules Committee, then triggered the following line from a team, again anonymously, who expanded the scope of the ruling saying:
“We feel that this interpretation will have some unfortunate consequences. Some of these consequences may not yet be fully apparent; please consider the device that was attached to the foil wing of Luna Rossa on 21st November.
This device may be instrumentation and temporary in nature, but it resembles one (or more) aspects of the form and function of a foil wing since it can introduce hydrodynamic forces.”
The result was that, the Italian LEQ12 was shorn of the measuring device that had been attached to the foils . . . on the inner part of the port foil and yesterday on the outer part of the port foil.
Coincidence? We will never know, but worth noting.
The Italians passed the test with flying colours however . . .
They literally rocketed around the Bay of Angels in the 17-20 knot breeze in the morning that saw their LEQ12 staffed with six crew and the smallest J4 jib up front.
As the weather eased into the early afternoon, the crew went down to four – two on each side – with Jimmy Spithill and Ruggero Tita at the controls in the respective pods.
From a sailing perspective, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were exercising long runs in the Bay and Vittorio Bissaro, the Flight Controller onboard gave a fascinating insight into sailing these boats in the upper wind ranges.
When asked about manual control versus flight control, he said . . .
“Well, the biggest difference between the auto-pilot and me, and every foil trimmer, is that so far the auto-pilot is a lot better than humans. So, it’s kind of a target for all of us to reach auto-pilot performance.”
Interesting and he added about the conditions today: “Keeping the ride height with the bumpy sea is not easy…it was the first time we used the J4, and the boat is pretty scary in that conditions because it is so fast, so nervous, it’s shaking massively through every manoeuvre.”
The programme continues and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli is certainly putting in the hours on the water.