IACC yacht loses keel

Oracle Racing has lost the keel off its training yacht

Wednesday November 22nd 2000, Author: Ed Gorman, Location: United Kingdom
Oracle Racing, the America's Cup syndicate owned by US computer billionaire Larry Ellison, has suffered a setback in its training programme when the keel fell off its IACC training yacht on the Hauraki Gulf.

Emergency services rushed to the scene but a spokeswoman for the syndicate in Auckland said all the crew were safe after the incident on Wednesday. The yacht was later seen lyng on its side for a time before it was towed back ashore. It is not yet known what caused this major and potentially dangerous failure but the syndicate does not believe the boat hit a rock. More likely the keel simply sheared from the hull.

The spokeswoman said she did not believe this was a mjaor setback for Oracle and the team are regarding it as "normal wear and tear" on the yacht. However they said it was still too soon to judge how much damage was done to the hull when the keel parted from it.

The hull in question is one of the old AmericaOne boats raced by Paul Cayard in the last Louis Vuitton Cup. Cayard is now leading the Oracle team alongside New Zealand skipper Chris Dickson.

Oracle also owns the two former Aloha Racing yachts which were also campaigned in the last Louis Vuitton series and featured distinctive dolphin motifs on their hulls. One of these boats is now up for sale on e-Bay: http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=505192937

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