For the very first time in this America’s Cup cycle, all five teams were in action at their various locations.
This included Ben Ainslie’s INEOS Britannia finally returning to the water with rig and sails, following the ruling, handed down by the AC Rules Committee, against their towing mast.
It was a light weather first sail and shakedown for the British team including new member of the cyclor unit Matt Rossiter, and who looked very much back in the game.
The on-water recon unit noted that:
The British team’s much awaited first day of sailing was very much a commissioning/shakedown session to find out how the sails fit, and the various control systems functioned.
After rolling out at 09:01 the mast was stepped, and the rigging attached – a process that took an hour and a quarter.
After launching, the support crew and technicians were busy testing the hydraulic systems relating to the rig.
A portable electric winch pedestal was fitted to the foredeck and used to hoist a support team member to the top of the mast to fit three data aerials and the wind instruments.
Soon after the sails were loaded aboard, and dock out took place at 13:21.
Out in Palma Bay in minor flat conditions, the team hoisted the double skin boomless mainsail and attached the hydraulic ram system to the aft end.
A support crew member was hoisted to the top of the mast and appeared to be working on the halyard lock, before the mainsail was taken down again and the support crew member hoisted halfway up the mast to give attention to the aft side of the mast.
A second mainsail hoist proved successful, and the boat was towed over to the east side of the Bay where the breeze had started to fill in.
At 15:45 the boat was released from the tow and sailed in displacement mode for 35 minutes as the crew checked the sail controls. Two slow tacks took place in displacement mode.
Two attempts were made to tow the boat into foiling mode (on one foil) but neither lasted more than a few minutes and the boat looked unstable and on the edge of control.
Take off speeds were estimated to be around 17 -20 knots with peak speed estimated to be in the high 20 knot range.
Recon Report 19 Dec 2022 – INEOS Britannia
Dock out: 13:21 Dock-in: 17:45
Helms: Sir Ben Ainslie / Giles Scott
Crew: Luke Parkinson / Iain Jensen
M1-1 Mainsail: 3 hours 30 minutes
J1-1: 3 hours
Total Tacks: 2 – 2 touchdowns
Total Gybes: 0
Wind Strength: 6-8 knots (pM) 12-15 degrees, Scattered cloud
Take-off speed: N/A