America's Cup defender, Oracle Team USA is scheduled to relaunch its first AC72 catamaran, next week.
Following months of repair work and delivery and assembly of the second wing, the boat is nearing completion and is on track to be sailing in the San Francisco Bay, again. Following the launch it is expected the AC72 will undergo the usual towing trial, before the wingsail is stepped and USA-17 sails once again.
'After the capsize, the team set the first week of February as the target date to get back on the water,' said General Manager Grant Simmer. 'A lot had to come together for that to happen, and it’s a great achievement to be right on schedule. Everyone really worked hard and put in long hours to meet that goal.'
Last week with modifications wrapping up and painting finished, the assembly began. Nets have been tied back onto the platform, and system installation started – hydraulics, electronics, steering.
'Now the majority of the modifications are complete and we’ve moved on to the assembly process,' said Shore Team Manager Mark Turner. 'We’ll be load testing at the end of the week and getting the boards back in.
'Everyone has been focused and really pushing to get all of the work done,' Turner said. 'It’s meant a lot of long hours for a lot of people, seven days a week. They’ve been working not only on repairs, but also doing the work needed to modify the platform.'
The entire team is looking forward to watching the results of their labor roll back out of the shed, returning to the water for the first time since the October 16 capsize.
In a parallel occasion, in Auckland, New Zealand. Emirates Team New Zealand will launch their second AC72 on February 4, 2013 and is expected to sail three days later. Oracle Team USA are expected to launch their AC72 in April.Currently Luna Rossa and Artemis Racing are sailing their first AC72's in Auckland and San Francisco respectively.
From February 1, 2013 the teams enter their second limited sailing period, when teams are allowed to sail for a maximum of 45 days between February 1 and April 30, 2013, in an effort to limit the cost of sailing the 72ft catamarans. Only one team achieved the 30 days limitation in the first period which ran from July 1, 2012 to January 31, 2013.
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7:12 PM Tue 29 Jan 2013GMT
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