Sail-World New Zealand- October 17, 2012
by . on 17 Oct 2012
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for October 17, 2012
Bows bury in bear away - Oracle Team USA capsize AC72 Oct 16, 2012 Erik Simonson © http://www.pressure-drop.us
As this editorial is written, we are watching two screens. On one, a webcam is tracking Emirates Team NZ's ASC72 as she puts in yet another training session on the Hauraki Gulf sailing in winds that are averaging 25kts gusting 35kts.
And on the other, in San Francisco, Oracle Team USA's AC72 has capsized, and has drifted out into the Pacific Ocean.
We are watching a live video of the boat which is upside down, semi-sunk and surrounded by a coterie of RIBs.
Assuming the boat can be recovered (we're assuming she will come back in when the tide turns) the capsize is a major setback for the Defender.
Their hull repairs may unlimited, provided they don't modify the hulls in which case they are limited to 50% of the original hull surface. However the rule is not 1000% clear on the difference between a modification, repair or replacement, and a trip to the Int Jury for clarification is likely. Exceed the 50% modification and Oracle Team USA could not build a second boat.
The wingsail is destroyed - leaving the team with just two wingsails - to be shared between two boats - assuming the current boat is repairable. The Protocol prevents more that 50% of the original being replaced.
Oracle would be expected to be in the early stages of construction of their second boat, but that is not allowed to sail before February 1, 2013.
The capsize occurred about 3.00pm local time (11am NZT) after Oracle Team USA was out for a training session in an ebbing tide and 25kts. We believe the tide in the area flows at about 5kts and against a 25 kt wind, that would have been quite a seaway.
The incident occurred as Oracle passed through the 'Death-Zone'. That heart stopping moment when a boat bears off and heads downwind accelerating readily. Generally the bows go deep and then emerge with spray and water flying. In this case that didn't happen and Oracle went down the mine. From watching video it would seem at first blush that the issue was a lack of buoyancy forward. The fine wave piercing bows drove in and never emerged, tripping the boat.
It is now night-time in San Francisco, the boat is still at sea, with the wingsail reportedly unrecognisable (and clearly beyond repair). Arrival times back at Pier 8- is projected for 0500hrs, Wednesday morning local time.
Whether the hulls are any better remains to be seen. There is a high risk, due to damage and limitation on hull alteration, that the US Defence just became a one-boat program. That would take away a lot from the 34th America's Cup.
In high definition video not publicly available, taken after the capsize and the collapse of the wingsail, the AC72 seems to be remarkably tight and intact. Whether that is still the case remains to be seen in the hard light of day.
In this edition of sail-World we have the best coverage we can provide, as the recovery is still in progress.
We have two photo sequences from Erik Simonson of www.pressure-drop.us who has captured the entire sequence from the start of the bear away to the full inversion.
We also have the links to various video sequences - live and delayed that have been posted, including one showing the whole sequence from the other side of the Bay.
We'll be updating this story as it unfolds - there is certainly a lot more to come, and when Oracle Team USA's USA-17 is recovered the future will become more clear.
Our sympathies to the team, they have a big challenge ahead of them now.
Emirates Team NZ have had two good training days in the Hauraki Gulf, we have some new image galleries from those sessions in this edition of Sail-World. Certainly the foiling is impressive both watching from the land, on the webcam and in the images.
Also featured are some images from Oracle Racing's USA-17 in better days. Her foiling while appearing a little awkward had improved, although there was a lot more water being thrown around than on the New Zealand boat.
On Friday, the 2012 Coastal Classic gets underway.
In this edition of Sail-World we have full coverage of the build up for the event, and some tips for those who are doing the event for the first time.
We will be covering the Coastal Classic from the water, at the start, and then with other sources as the race unfolds.
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