First dates are never easy. And that of Luna Rossa Prada, one of the six entries in the 2024 American Sailing Barcelona Cup, with Barcelona Sea not the best. Little wind or severe bloating. The team arrived last week to adapt to the conditions in the competition area and to sense their prudence. It doesn’t sound serious: practically the same thing happens to the rest of the teams when they arrive. The sea of Barcelona always challenges its sailors.
Sailing in Cagliari (Italy) is not the same, with Luna Rossa set in a much calmer sea, than in the Catalan capital. “The waves in Barcelona are higher and more frequent, which makes it difficult to navigate Chips [las aletas inferiores que levantan el barco utilizando los principios físicos que las alas de un avión]”, points out Chico Bruni, one of the captains of the team that is facing its seventh participation in the America’s Cup. A few days ago, the rudder came out of the water during training and the boat capsized.
Experts say that continuous waves increase the risk of Chips Out of the water and the boat loses stability. Without a support or payment point Chips, The front of the boat can hit the sea. The situation becomes more complicated when the winds do not go in the same direction as the sea currents, as sometimes happens on the Catalan coast. “We’ll have to adjust a few things in the boat’s design to adapt,” Bruni admits. He did not give details because secrecy is the routine in the America’s Cup, but he talks about “technical issues” and “stability”. This is not Auckland [sede de la última edición]which was flatter.” On each training day, engineers collect navigation data to assess performance at sea and suggest adjustments to the simulators. The challenge is to strike the perfect balance between stability and speed.
Luna Rossa will combine fortnightly stays between Barcelona and Italy between July and September to “get to know better” the Catalan coast, but refuses to settle permanently in the city until 2024, as does Alinghi Red Bull Racing, the Swiss team. “It’s a matter of strategy,” Bruni gushed. “If we stayed, we would know the conditions better, but we would sail less.” In winter, the team sees that the conditions for going out to sea in Barcelona are worse than in Cagliari, so the officials realize that they have more chances to train at home than in Catalonia. Besides the Swiss and Italians, the American Magic New York Yacht Club (USA) also trains in the city. The defending champions, New Zealand (NZ) have yet to arrive; Eneos Britannia (UK), Challenger; Orient Express (France). As a general rule, this summer everyone has to train in Barcelona for at least a few weeks.
Navigation difficulties don’t seem to worry the teams at the moment. “It’s a new challenge for everyone and maybe even things out,” defends Ruggero Teta, 31, an Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo in the Nacra 17 class and currently in the Luna Rossa ranks. Expressing herself confidently from the deck of the Amerigo Vespucci, the imposing training ship of the Italian military navy that intends to circumnavigate the world in two years, Tita dropped anchor on Sunday a few miles off the coast of Barcelona to merge. Maritime traditions with the latest technology of the so-called Formula 1 of the sea. Vespucci’s students continue to learn how to orient themselves in the sea with the help of the North Star and sextant; America’s Cup sailors generate electricity on board to lift Chips In a full race “We are two extremes of navigation, but the rules of the sea are one,” Vespucci’s captain, Luigi Romagnoli, and Checco Bruni agree. “If there is no wind, don’t go forward; if there are waves, everything becomes complicated.” Near the command post of the military ship, there is a plaque giving clues to what the sailor’s spirit requires: “It is not he who begins, but he who perseveres.”
With a year to go, the teams’ chances of winning the America’s Cup depend on the boat’s design. Grant Dalton, captain of the New Zealand team, the winner in 2021, and thus the organizer of the competition, usually confirms, “Before the competition begins, design is the advantage.” The champions of each edition become the defending champions: they choose a venue and only compete in a final regatta against the opponent who bests the rest in what is known as the “Challenge Selection Series”, a series of preliminary heats. The Copa del America tournament in Barcelona in this version includes the women’s and youth competition and will be held between August and October 2024.