USA 71 takes a vacation

BMW Oracle decamp to Kiel with one yacht, two containers and a race crew

Tuesday July 25th 2006, Author: Jane Eagleson, Location: United Kingdom
The German capital of sailing is hosting an extraordinary guest these days: BMW Oracle Racing’s America’s Cup Yacht USA 71. The 24-metre high-tech yacht is due to arrive in Kiel this evening at 7 pm after nine days on a container ship from the Spanish Mediterranean to the German Baltic Sea coast. On Monday morning last week, the boat, attached to its keel, was loaded onto a container ship in the harbour of Valencia. A mast, two containers with equipment, and a chase boat were also shipped.

BMW Oracle Racing will race USA 71 from 3 to 6 August when the team joins two other America’s Cup teams for the premiere German Sailing Grand Prix. The crew of CEO and skipper Chris Dickson will compete against Team Shosholoza from South Africa and United Internet Team Germany, the German Challenger for the America’s Cup 2007.

The container ship will be unloaded starting at 8am on the morning of Wednesday 26 July. USA 71 will remain on the dock in its cradle in Osthafen until Thursday July 27 when the event pontoons are in place. The mast of USA 71 will be stepped on Wednesday 2 August in time for sailing on Thursday 3 August.

Chris Dickson is pleased that the team has the opportunity to race in Kiel. “BMW Oracle Racing has many ties to Germany, so this event allows our team a chance to celebrate our German connections by bringing the excitement of America’s Cup Class racing to Germany for the first time. In addition to our partner BMW, our sponsor and supplier family includes many German based companies including Allianz, Geo. Gleistein, Bitburger and Roland Berger.”

A number of Germans are amongst the international team including marketing’s Mirko Groeschner (Magdeburg) and Benedikt Horber (Munich) and two-time America’s Cup winning principal sail designer Mickey Ickert (Berlin). Racing on board in Kiel will be German sailing team member Tony Kolb (Munich). Kolb was part of the winning German around-the-world race team that had a triumphant finish in Kiel in June 2002 experienced by some 250,000 German sailing fans.

An additional strong German component is the partner of the team – BMW. Engineers of the automotive manufacturer are involved in the development of the new high-tech yachts of the America’s Cup challenger – particularly in the field of intelligent lightweight construction which is successfully applied in BMWs automotive research. And at the beginning of the year, the BMW Plant Eisenach completed the manufacture of the new keel fin, thus producing one of the most important component parts of the current America’s Cup yacht.

The sailing team arrives Wednesday 2 August from Valencia in preparation for the first day of sailing on Thursday 3 August.

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