Nose dive but no damage for ETNZ training on AC40 boat

Nose dive but no damage for ETNZ training on AC40 boat

Nose dive but no damage for ETNZ training on AC40 boat


24/01/2023 - 09:04

They’re the gold standard, the Blue Riband, the benchmark by which everyone else measures themselves against, so when Emirates Team New Zealand capsize an AC40 in LEQ12 mode, the analysis and the spotlight is intense. In truth, what we saw today was what can happen even in fairly benign conditions when trim goes out of kilter and the team are caught at the crucial moment by a gust.

A bear-away just as the breeze filtered in at 14 knots and in the blink of an eye, the ETNZ LEQ12 was into a dramatic nosedive and corkscrew just off the Royal Akarana Yacht Club with the rudder elevator out of the water in echoes of their previous capsize that caused extensive bow damage before Christmas 2022. This time however, with the bow beefed up, there were no catastrophic results, just red faces, but down the mine and over on its side the LEQ12 went, offering a soaking to the leeward port pod crew as the boat corkscrewed round and elicited more than likely a groan of concern from the boss, Grant Dalton, watching on in the chase boat.

Blair Tuke was one of those in the wet leeward pods and summed it up saying: “The wind was sort of going anywhere between 6 and maybe 14 knots…and just hit us just as we were bearing away, and we didn’t quite adjust on the controls but yeah it reminds you that the boat’s pretty hard to sail but nice to get back up and carry on sailing after that and get a couple more laps in.”

It was a rare error on a productive 55 nautical mile day for the current America’s Cup holders who are spending this valuable Auckland summer honing sailing technique whilst gathering maximum data from their foil time. New crew were rotated in with Liv Mackay and Leonard Takanashi joining the established test team of Pete Burling, Blair Tuke, Nathan Outteridge and Andy Maloney with clearly an eye to what’s coming up in short order with the team expected to start two-boat testing either this week or next. Josh Junior also rotated in as the wind increased, making it seven sailors in total onboard the LEQ12 through the session.

Nose dive but no damage for ETNZ training on AC40 boat
Nose dive but no damage for ETNZ training on AC40 boat

With the boat well out of the commissioning phase now, Pete Burling and Nathan Outteridge were pushing hard to get on the limit and stay there and day by day we’re seeing more mark roundings, bear-aways and manoeuvres. They say that ‘good amateurs practice until they get things right, whilst professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong’ and as the fleet of AC40s is delivered around the world in the coming weeks, we can expect more spills and capsizes as all the America’s Cup teams revert parts of their resources and programme to flying these exciting additions to AC37 in Barcelona.

In total, Emirates Team New Zealand completed some 51 manoeuvres today with an 82% overall foil-to-foil success rate and covered just over 55 nautical miles. Good numbers once again but the headlines will be hogged by yet another capsize and for sure, the team will be going into a full analysis to understand the reasons why.

Nose dive but no damage for ETNZ training on AC40 boat
Nose dive but no damage for ETNZ training on AC40 boat

From the recon pictures, it’s unclear who had the responsibility for the mainsheet and jib ease that would have prevented the capsize. What appears from a video taken by Justin Mitchell of the New Zealand Sail-World website that captured the incident, is that the mainsail is pinned in whilst a small ease can be seen on the jib just as the boat reaches the intended turning mark. Control definitions as to who does what are somewhat jumbled in the LEQ12 but through the nosedive and corkscrew the mainsail doesn’t move and the mainsheet traveller looks above the median line to windward at the end of the corkscrew.

Blair Tuke was keen to play the incident down saying: “It was all good, we changed down the jib size as the breeze built and then continued for a couple of laps, a bit wet under the jacket and then back in.”

These boats bite. Big lesson learned.

Nose dive but no damage for ETNZ training on AC40 boat
Nose dive but no damage for ETNZ training on AC40 boat

On-Water Recon Unit Notes: Another stunning day on the Hauraki Gulf. Bottom of the wind range today with light S going SW breeze. flat seas but light puffy and fluky breeze made for interesting day. Capsized on mark rounding when caught in a puff right on the bear away. Righted and sailing again straight after.

Dock out: 1030 Dock-in: 1455

Onboard Today

Helms: Nathan Outteridge / Pete Burling,

Crew: Andy Maloney / Blair Tuke / Leonard Takanashi / Liv Mackay

Sail Used:

M1: 4 hours 30 minutes

J1: 1 hour 9 minutes

J2: 1 hour 6 minutes

J3: 1 hour 12 minutes

Total Tacks: 26 – 19 foil-to-foil, 4 touch & go, 3 touchdowns

Total Gybes: 25 – 23 foil-to-foil, 2 touch & go

Recon Unit Notes: Boat on the coast to the windward shore by the piles of Oahu Bay, boat was past 90 degrees wind angle when she was hit with a puff, she rode high, the rudder came out and she pitch poled and gybed at the same time.

Wind Strength: 5-12 knots starting in the SSW and going more SW as the afternoon proceeded. Sunny, Slight cloud

Take off speed: 13 knots at 100 degrees TWA (True Wind Angle)
Rapid and easy. From dead in water to fully foiling in less than 50 seconds.


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