The new wing sail for Oracle Team USA arrived to San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon, completing a journey from New Zealand and around the South Bay before pulling into the team base at Pier 80.
The wing is the second built by the team and will be fitted into the Defender’s first AC72 to begin sailing again in the coming weeks.
'The guys have done a fantastic job to get the wing built, and it will go together very quickly. You’ll see it out on the water in early February,' said Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. 'We’re really excited to get out there again, and from a sailing point of view, sort of reward those who put all of the work in to get the boat ready again.'
The wing was built at Core Builders Composites in Warkworth, New Zealand, and loaded onto a Hamburg Süd ship in Auckland that departed on December 23. The ship arrived to Ports America in Oakland Tuesday morning, January 8, where the wing was loaded onto a truck. With height and weight restrictions on the Bay Bridge, the truck traveled around the South Bay and back north to San Francisco.
'The wing left Core Builders Composites in a good state, even with the compressed timeline to complete it. It’s far more finished, and more details were sorted out,' said Oracle Team USA shore team manager Mark Turner. 'We’ve basically got another few weeks of work to get the new wing commissioned. Once that happens, we’ll be in a situation to be able to do load tests.
'We’ve made all of the repairs to the platform, and over the next few weeks we’re reassembling the platform and finishing off some modifications,' Turner said. 'We got to where we needed to before Christmas, which was a big effort by the guys, and I’m confident we’ll be ready to go sailing again in February.'
The timeline on the completion of the new wing was pushed up as a result of the capsize of Oracle Team USA ‘17’ in October. The wing will be assembled and fitted into the repaired boat. Remaining repair work includes installing systems and painting, which will involve a 24-hour work schedule.
'To see this turn up inside the shed is a big psychological boost for the whole team,' Spithill said, as the entire team is anxious for the AC72 to return to the water. 'Any day that looks good for sailing, we’ll be out there, capitalizing and really trying to put some hours on this wing and the boat.'
Oracle Team USA is the Defender of the America's Cup, and will race in early September 2013, against the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup for the Challenger Selection Series. The 2013 America's Cup will be sailed in 72ft catamarans driven by wingsails, bigger than the wing of a jumbo jet.
Under the Protocol governing the 34th America's Cup, teams are limited to building just three wingsails, and if one is damaged, as Oracle's was in the capsize of October 16, then the repair is restricted to 50% or less of the surface area. It is believed that the damage to Oracle's first wingsail exceeded 50%, and therefore they will be restricted to just two wingsails for the rest of the campaign. Each team is allowed to build two boats. Oracle Team USA badly damaged their first AC72 in the October capsize.
Oracle's second wingsail will be fitted to their repaired first boat (known as USA-17) scheduled for launch after her repairs in February 2013. Their third wingsail, currently under construction in the Warkworth facility, will be fitted to Oracle's second boat due for launch in April 2013.