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AC72 (re)launchings and VOR news—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor on 6 Feb 2013
USA 17 is back sailing / ORACLE TEAM USA Guilain Grenier Oracle Team USA © http://www.oracleteamusamedia.com/
While last week’s headlines were dominated by the great news of US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider’s impressive success at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami where they collected 13 medals, this week the virtual ink is being spent on the AC72 class, as two America’s Cup teams recently (re)launched boats. In Auckland, Emirates Team New Zealand has christened their second-generation boat 'Aotearoa' in a low-key ceremony that was fraught with dark-n’-stormy weather, while closer to home in San Francisco, Oracle Team USA re-launched 'USA 17', their first-generation AC72 that sustained considerable damage in a well-publicized October 16, 2012 capsize on San Francisco Bay.

Not surprisingly, the Oracle design team used the rebuild process as an opportunity to substantially redesign and modify the boat’s sailing platform (hulls and crossbeams), which has been successfully fitted with the team’s second-generation wingsail. According to reports, Oracle Team USA’s sailing team quickly helped rid 'USA 17' of her new-boat smell with a blast around San Francisco Bay.


'We treated today kind of like we had a new boat, so it was basically a sea trial,' said tactician John Kostecki of their first day back on the water. 'With several changes to the boat and a brand new wing, we took everything slow, loaded it up gradually. Everyone was pretty keen to get back out there and it’s hard to hold back, but that’s the prudent thing to do on your first day.'


At the time of this writing ETNZ hasn’t yet reported sailing, but Sail-World’s New Zealand editor, Richard Gladwell, was on hand at the team’s base at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbor for the christening ceremony and to talk to skipper Dean Barker about the challenges of AC72 sailing. Inside, don’t miss Gladwell’s great video interview with Barker, and also be sure to check out the multimedia and still-photography galleries of 'USA 17’s' strong return to the water.

Meanwhile, in ocean-sailing news, Newport, Rhode Island has been named as the sole U.S. stopover in the 2014/2015 edition of the fully crewed, around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race (VOR). Interestingly, while Newport has hosted myriad sailing events, this will be the VOR’s first call on the city.

'We had a positive experience with the America’s Cup World Series last summer, and I look forward to welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race to Rhode Island,' said Rhode Island’s Governor, Lincoln D. Chafee. 'These large-scale sailing events draw impressive numbers of visitors to our state – visitors who make valuable contributions to our economy.'

Also inside, get the latest updates from the RORC’s Caribbean 600, the Les Voiles de St. Barth and the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre Olympic-class regatta.


And finally, for anyone in need of a Vitamin D fix, be sure to check out Christopher Howell’s great image gallery from the VX One’s Midwinter Championships, which took place last week.


May the four winds blow you safely home,

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