Skip links

America’s Cup: recon closed in Barcelona and in Italy we are going to hydrogen

Recon. This is the name of the “authorized espionage” program which ended last June 22nd in the waters of Barcelona, ​​exactly 60 days before the start of the 37th Louis Vuitton America’s Cup.
It was the first time that all the teams involved in oldest sporting trophy in the world have agreed on a shared “reconnaissance” program. In short, in a program that, also with a view to reducing costs, prevented each team from setting up its own team of “spies” to see what their opponents were doing. But not only. The Recon program addressed two other aspects. That of security, avoiding a crowd of boats full of “spies” who were in constant pursuit of the boats of the various teams. Another aspect is that of communication. The Recon Programme has in fact made an overall vision of what was happening on the road to the 37th America’s Cup available to the six teams and fans of the more technical websites.

The Alinghi Red Bull Racing AC75 during a test in the sea of ​​Barcelona under the eyes of the Recon Programme’s correspondents. Photo © Alex Carabi / America’s Cup

America’s Cup: the first time in history

Article 41.1 of the Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup. Here, under the heading Joint Recon Programme, for the first time in the history of the regatta the shared detection program is established. An idea from Dan Bernasconi of Emirates Team New Zealand: “We started thinking about a shared recon programme a good few years before the last Cup and really it was all about making it safer on the water by reducing the armada of chase boats but also, it was about opening up the America’s Cup to its fanbase. We watched as a number of new technical websites and YouTubers sprung up to analyse Cup designs and it just felt that it was the right time to formalise an approach to open up the sport and give the media and fans direct access to recon data, analysis and commentary so they can track the developments as they happen.” 

Dan Bernasconi, Head Design Team of Emirates Team New Zealand. Photo © Emirates Team New Zealand   

A unique database

The Recon Programme ensured that information, reports, photos and videos regarding the development of the boats, all data once “stolen” by individual teams, were collected and shared on a platform accessible to teams, media and fans. In practice, each of the six teams was assigned two people, a photographer and a “correspondent”, who followed what the team was doing every day, providing a report at the end of the day also drawn up on the basis of the information that the team itself was required to provide. communicate in case of radical changes made to the boat. The one created thanks to the Recon Program is thus a unique story of documentation on the participants in the 37th America’s Cup.

The members of the Recon team dedicated to Alinghi Red Bull Racing. Photo © Ryan Pellett

America’s Cup: sir Ben Ainslie’s “thank you”

“Just a big thank you to you and the rest of the Recon team I think it’s been a great initiative for the America’s Cup both for the teams in terms of keeping the cost down but also, and possibly more importantly, for the fan engagement. Certainly, we’ve seen on our own team site that we’ve had much more engagement thanks to you guys, and I know there’s so many things that we could do better next time around, but we really appreciate it and look forward to having a beer with you later.” hanks from Sir Ben Ainslie Team Principal and Skipper of INEOS Britannia to the Recon correspondent who followed the English boat.

The track attached to the INEOS Britannia sea trial report of 22 June 2024: last day of the Recon Programme. Frame from Recon / America’s Cup

American Magic’s Bluegame BGH chase boat fills up for the first time  

In Italy, at the Sanlorenzo shipyard in La Spezia, American Magic’s Bluegame BGH, the US team’s chase boat, made its first refueling of green hydrogen. The hydrogen refueling operation for naval use, the first in Italy and among the first in the world, was announced by NatPower H, the leading developer of innovative infrastructures in the green hydrogen and pleasure boating sector, and Bluegame, the shipyard of the Sanlorenzo Group, which developed the Bluegame BGH according to the Protocol of the 37th America’s Cup. Article 31 in fact requires a chase boat at least 10 meters long, equipped with foil and capable, using hydrogen as fuel, of sailing at 50 knots to follow the AC75s which can even exceed 50 knots.

The Bluegame BGH of American Magic. Photo © Bluegame.   

America’s Cup: great experts for an innovative project

The Bluegame BGH was born on the initiative of the architect Luca Santella, designer and Head of Product Strategy of Bluegame, who involved in the project a series of people with important experiences in the America’s Cup such as Caponnetto-Hueber, Schikler Tagliapetra, Fa.Ro. Advanced Systems, Cariboni Marine Hydraulic System as well as specialized Italian companies including Lucchi R. E-Motor Solution, for electric motors, and the Sangiorgio Marine shipyard in Genoa, for the construction of the hull. The first American Magic BGH Bluegame which was launched on March 18, 2024 was immediately followed by the order from the French team of Orient Express. Their Bluegame BGH will hit the water by mid-July.

American Magic’s Bluegame BGH seen from the stern. In the foreground the elevator. Photo © Bluegame.

The Bluegame BGH element of a strategic plan   

“BGH represents the maximum expression of sustainability possible today and its project is part of the global sustainability strategy ‘Road to 2030’ of the Sanlorenzo Group, a pioneer in the sector on the path towards carbon neutrality. The exclusive use of hydrogen as a propulsion system represents an absolute novelty not only for Bluegame and the Sanlorenzo group but for all recreational boating: it is therefore not a point of arrival, but of departure” underlined Carla Demaria, CEO Bluegame. 

“The completion of the refueling of the chase boat is an operation that revolutionizes the Italian and international nautical market, paving the way for new generations of boats with zero CO2 emissions” commented Andrea Minerdo, CEO of NatPower H.

The propulsion system of the American Magic Bluegame BGH. Photo © Top Yacht Design.  

America’s Cup: to start with hydrogen at 180 bar

The green hydrogen refueling of American Magic’s Bluegame BGH took place thanks to the collaboration of the Port System Authority of the Eastern Ligurian Sea which is based in La Spezia, and was carried out in about half an hour. The cylinders on board were loaded to a pressure of approximately 180 bar.

American Magic’s Bluegame BGH during refueling carried out by NatPower H technicians. Photo © Bluegame.  

After the sea tests, a final refueling at 350 bar will follow in July which will make the first Bluegame BGH definitively operational, followed by that of Orient Express.

Emilio Martinelli  

Leave a comment