The Orient Express Racing Team got their Thursday training spin in Barcelona off to a stuttering start with a low-speed capsize.
It looked to be caused by an electronic shut-down rather than anything sailing related – the foil arms failed to move – and after some technical shore-team assistance and repairs, it was back to busines.
Sailing their AC40 now modified to LEQ12 format with Quentin Delapierre and Kevin Peponnet driving and Matthieu Vandame and Jason Saunders on the sail controls they managed 69% foil-to-foil over 48 tacks and gybes.
The French look increasingly assured and there’s a growing confidence, certainly in the sailing team that they are making steps forward and getting more comfortable with the boat, preparing for the jump to the AC75 cup boat.
Talking America’s Cup strategy, it was assumed that the French would build early and get their AC75 on the water ahead of everyone else.
However, campaign CEO Bruno Dubois gave a great insight into the team’s tactics saying: “It’s coming soon so don’t worry about that, we will not launch a boat in August!”
“We had some choices to make at one point and it was about having a very ‘performance’ boat late or something different with less performance but earlier. So, it’s a balance between those two that we had to make, and we decided to go for a later launching.”
“We bought a design package from Emirates Team New Zealand, so we are not going to redevelop what we think from those people who are the best last time, we’re going to just go with what they are giving us and it’s fine, and our challenge will be to understand what they’re giving us because when we launch the boat, that’s it.”
With the British AC75 reported to be on its way to Barcelona to meet its two month April launch date, Barcelona will see a step-change as the teams arrive prepare and then roll-out their America’s Cup boats.
The first AC75 racing will be at Barcelona from 20 to 25 August 2024.