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America's Cup; Jury rigged Oracle Team USA sails in San Francisco

by Sail-World on 18 Sep 2012
Oracle Team USA sailing the AC72 - USA-17 on Day 2, September 17, 2012 AC72 Guilain Grenier Oracle Team USA

Oracle Team USA 17 returned to the water today on the San Francisco Bay. A full team of sailors, engineers and designers ran the new AC72 through various tests, taking the next steps in preparing the boat to sail at full speed.

'We continued the commissioning process of our AC72,' said Grant Simmer, general manager. 'It was only our second day on the water, so we were focusing on loading the boat slowly to make sure there are no structural issues. We sailed with the Code Zero and the Gennaker for the first time, and we were checking all of the systems.

'It went well,' Simmer said. 'We went out a little bit jury rigged, but it was still a valuable day for us. As we’re limited to 30 days of sailing between now and February 1, we want to get as much out of each day on the water as we can.'

The boat was sailing for the first time since August 31 when testing was cut short due to daggerboard failure in the starboard hull. Temporary daggerboards were used during today’s exercises. Under America's Cup rules, teams are limited to a total of just 10, or five sets of daggerboards.

'We had a great day out there today – we ticked through all of the sails in the morning, and in the afternoon we concentrated on the wing,' said helmsman Jimmy Spithill. 'We have a list of things to work on now, but it was a very good day and fantastic to get the boat back out on the water.'

The sailors’ attention now turns back to training on the AC45s in preparation for the upcoming America’s Cup World Series in San Francisco from October 2-7. The crews will be sailing on the AC45s throughout the week.

From the shots released by the team, they were running L-Foils - being a straight board with a right angled foil at the lower end. A full size board is apparently being used on one side, and the other running a shorter L-foil. If this observation is correct the change would allow the team to test properly on one tack only. But would give some useful performance data, albeit for one tack only. The downside being that the boat in this configuration would still burn off one of their testing days. Oracle are now on two days used, while Emirates Team NZ had another day on the Hauraki Gulf and have used eight days out of their allowable 30 days testing before 31 January 2013.

Emirates Team NZ are using a curved foil, also with and angled end foil, which forms into a V-Foil when fully immersed providing a more typical and balanced hydrofoil.

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