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America's Cup- Bob Fisher checks out the Oracle Team USA's AC 72

by Bob Fisher on 26 Aug 2012
Bob Fisher renews his acquaintance with the America’s Cup in San Francisco for the first of the America’s Cup World Series Rod Bauer

America's Cup Race Management supremo, Iain Murray, commented on Russell Coutts' starting line collision with the committee vessel, perhaps aptly named Regardless: 'When the event is in need of publicity, you can rely on Russell to produce something!'

The Oracle boatbuilders almost certainly had other comments as the damage kept them busy all night in order to have their leader back in the competition the next day.

Those boatbuilders already have their hands full completing the first of the Oracle AC72s that is due to be unveiled on Tuesday. For the few who have seen this creation, there were gasps of admiration and there is no doubt that it is different from the other 72s which have seen the light of day - the ETNZ one in Auckland and the Artemis boat that was partially revealed when the Juan K boat was taken to nearby Alameda three days ago. Just how different, it is not possible (by virtue of the embargo imposed) to disclose, but different she definitely is.

Gleaming black - a clear lacquer over the carbon fibre - Oracle has a purposeful look and will present few surprises to those who understand the limits of the design rules. Yes, the daggerboards are not straight and the grinders will be accommodated in the hulls - four pedestals in each hull. And there is a mid-line structure, closely resembling a one-sided mast with one-inch diameter carbon rod rigging to support the 'soft' sails, but more than that cannot be told until her official unveiling.

The boatbuilders have been busy, but it should be noted that Mark Turner has not lost any weight by worrying about the project. He is simply getting stuck in to boat number two, the tooling for which could be discerned in the vast shed at Pier 80. One unforgettable comment came from Grant Simmer, the General Manager (a role similar to that he held with Alinghi), who said: 'We are not looking for hundredths of knots or even tenths of knots [of improvement], we are looking for knots!'
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