Despite the lack of breeze AC45 testing continued, and in winds as light as 3 knots the AC45s were able to fly a hull! See footage....
Images courtesy of Gilles Martin-Raget.
There were extremely light conditions on the waters off Auckland today and yesterday (Wednesday 4 May) but despite the lack of breeze, testing continued. In fact, the Race Committee was able to run a full programme of match race tests, in winds as light as 3 knots with the AC45s often able to fly a-hull.
Race Officer Harold Bennett estimated wind conditions during most of the afternoon as being from 3 to 5 knots, and he said he was pleased to see it was possible to race in winds so light.
On board the race boats, the teams were learning the geometry of the race course in a multihull in light winds – the AC45s demanding big tacking and gybing angles in the near calm conditions.
”You could sail in a straight line quite quick,” said ORACLE Racing trimmer Dirk de Ridder. “Tacking and gybing was slow. But that’s just part of the tactics, you have to allow for it.”
Today (Thursday 5 May) it looked more like San Francisco as fog rolled in over the City of Sails. The conditions were expected to dissipate quickly, but proved to be a stubborn nemisis for much of the day. Finally, by early afternoon, the mist lifted, the helicopters took off, and the race committee was able to start the test session.
The wind was light again, but the AC45s proved their versatility in marginal racing conditions. The wing sails are showing enough power in winds as light as 3-4 knots to move the boats well enough to race. Later in the session, winds were up in the six to eight knot range, which made for some spectacular short course fleet racing.
“We’re trying to get the maximum we can with what we’ve got,” said John Craig, Principal Race Officer. “Today we were down to two and three knots of breeze which is difficult. The boats are pretty amazing, they’re still moving around… but it’s been a struggle.
”The fog we had today was maybe what you’d see in San Francisco, but typically you’d see 15 t0 20 knots of breeze with it, so today we had fog where there wasn’t much wind, so a tough day.”
The Auckland test sessions will conclude tomorrow. For more, visit www.americascup.com.