America’s Cup 2021: Italian experts claim to have discovered foiling issue with Ineos Team UK’s boat

Ailing America’s Cup challenger Ineos Team UK have been handed a potential lifeline from a pair of Italian sailing experts who claim to have discovered the issue with the British boat.

Quantum Sails president Vittorio d’Albertas and his colleague Pietro Pinucci, who have become YouTube stars this America’s Cup season, have analysed the foiling problems of Team UK’s second-generation AC75 Britannia.

Sir Ben Ainslie’s Team UK have had trouble getting on the foils and staying there, as showcased in their disappointing World Series campaign.

It culminated in a shocking Christmas Regatta performance against Team New Zealand when they were lapped by the Kiwis as Britannia struggled to foil. Light winds eventually spared their blushes as both teams failed to complete the course before the 45-minute time limit.

In their latest video, d’Albertas and Pinucci looked at how to resolve Team UK’s problem in the short time available before the Prada Cup starting on 15 January.

As reported by British website SailWeb, the Italian duo’s theory is that “the problem in the light wind, where Britannia requires considerably more speed before they can start to foil, is down to an incorrect angle of attack of the foil arm, requiring the application of excessive flap angle”.

“They conclude that the Britannia bow shape generates less lift in light airs than that of the other boats as they try to lift onto the foils.

“And to overcome this they are applying excessive flap and/or rudder angle, which actually slows them.

“This poor angle of attack could also be slowing them in manoeuvres, with the result that they lose distance at each tack and gybe.”

Vittorio points out that the British were actually the fastest boat in a straight line during the windy second day of the World Series, but were the worst in light wind.

They believe the Brits would have worked out the issue by now, and if correct, will be able to fix it in time for the Prada Cup.

The Prada Cup will kickoff on January 15 and consists of four round robins of three races each, a seven-race semifinal and a 13-race final between the two leading teams. Each win gets one point.

The highest ranked Challenger at the end of the round robins will be automatically qualified for the Prada Cup final; the remaining teams will then race in a seven-race semifinal and the first team who gets four points will qualify for the Prada Cup final.

The Prada Cup final will then determine the Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup against Team New Zealand.

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