There’s a new speed machine on San Francisco Bay, namely Oracle Team USA’s newly 'repaired' (read: rebuilt and heavily modified) first-generation AC72, 'USA 17'. Back in October the boat sustained a wing-shattering crash, which provided Oracle Team USA’s designers with an opportunity to do some rethinking, both with the hull platform and with the wingsail. According to the latest reports, the team has already successfully had the boat up on its foils; moreover, they have also exposed the boat to some good working loads, also with success.
According to reports, the team seems excited with their 'new' boat. 'We made quite a lot of modifications,' reported skipper Jimmy Spithill. 'It just feels like a brand-new boat, and more importantly, it feels even better.' John Kostecki, Oracle Team USA’s tactician, agrees. 'Everything on the boat is improved. The boat’s a lot easier to sail, which is going to make it faster.'
Interestingly, the 'new' 'USA 17' appears to carry a bow-up trim while on her foils-a trait that she also carried in her original mode (pre-crash) and which is generally not believed to be particularly conducive to sustained foiling. While there’s certainly a lot of shakeout and shakedown that needs to transpire before the starting guns sound for the 34th America’s Cup this September, it will be interesting to see if the team continues to sail 'USA 17' with her bows up, and moreover, if the team’s second-generation AC72 (due out of the shed this Spring) also carries this bow-up attitude. Don’t miss the video footage of 'USA 17' riding high once again, inside.
Also in Cup news, Sail-World’s New Zealand editor, Richard Gladwell, caught up with Nick Holroyd, Technical Director of Emirates Team New Zealand to talk about different concepts for designing AC72s. Inside, be sure to check out this video interview, as well as another video interview that Gladwell conducted with ETNZ’s Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Shoebridge, to get a pulse on where the Kiwi-flagged team is at, some seven months before the Cup.
Closer to home, a strong fleet of Melges 20s are gathering at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, on Florida’s Biscayne Bay for the 2013 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series this weekend. Currently, 47 boats are slated to be on the starting line, with racing starting on Saturday and continuing through Monday. Stay tuned for more from this event, as it becomes known.
Meanwhile, in the solo, non-stop-around-the-world Vendee Globe Race, skippers Jean Le Cam (Synerciel), Mike Golding ('Gamesa') and Bernard Stamm ('Cheminées Poujoulat') all recently crossed the race’s finishing line in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Check out the post-racing Q&A with these skippers, as well as the other associated Vendee Globe media, inside.
Busy, close racing is to be a feature of the TP52 Southern Cross Cup. - TP52 Southern Cross Cup - John Curnow ©
And finally, if you’re in need of a sunny, Grand Prix monohull fix, don’t miss the reports from the TP52 Southern Cross Cup, which is unfurling now at the Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne, Australia. Eight tricked-out TP52s have gathered for the inaugural running of what sounds like a wonderful event that promises to be a lot warmer and drier than our local winter sailing scene here in Seattle. Enjoy!
May the four winds blow you safely home,
by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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2:34 AM Fri 8 Feb 2013GMT
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