Sir Ben Ainslie came back onboard T6 his LEQ12 in Palma, alternating wheel time with Giles Scott.
He joined the senior test team of Luke Parkinson, Leigh McMillan and Iain Jensen rotated in the flight control and trimming positions.
Plenty of new tech was spotted today by the recon team with what looked like laser optic ride height sensors embedded into the bow plate housing the wind wand and forestay ram . . . whilst most noticeably on the sails were heavily enhanced orange camber strips up aloft.
Conditions outside the Bay comprised 9 knots of wind from 240 to 260 with a bumpy unpleasant sea state made up of a characteristic Mallorca short steep chop overlaid with a half metre swell.
Not ideal conditions for foiling perhaps but Ainslie and his team made the best of them to rack up plenty of flying time during a 50 nautical mile day.
In the slightly marginal conditions and the choppy sea-state, mainsail control was key and the huge ‘fanning’ that INEOS Britannia were able to generate, often with the mainsail traveller car above the median line certainly helped with maintaining power and flight.
One thing that T6 has really shown in the stickier conditions is its ability to ‘pop to flight’ with consummate ease.
Clearly the team are on to something with this and an early practice session drill saw multiple take-offs – target speed attained – before splash down and repeat, proved that the British really are making strides in this area – crucial perhaps in Barcelona if conditions are marginal.
Later in the day there were several extended foiling runs with multiple foiling tacks and gybes – some clean and others involving touch downs.
The only issue the team encountered was a break required to fix an issue with the J1 (used all day) halyard lock which had released itself while the boat was in flight.
With the sun only just above the horizon at 17:15 the breeze finally began to fade, putting paid to chances of anymore foiling. Sails were dropped shortly afterwards before a long (10 nm) tow back to port.