USA 98 reaches Valencia
Saturday February 24th 2007, Author: Jane Eagleson, Location: none selectedBMW Oracle Racing‘s new race yacht, USA 98, and support equipment arrived to Valencia today by Antonov cargo plane from Auckland, following conclusion of the team’s New Zealand winter training session. The shore team greeted the plane at the Valencia airport to unload two masts, two keel bulbs, sails, a chase boat and the new America’s Cup Class race yacht for trucking to the team base in the Port America’s Cup.
The focus is now on final preparations for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the Challenger Selection Series for the 32nd America’s Cup, starting here on 16 April. BMW Oracle Racing will continue its sailing programme in Valencia starting in early March with USA 87 and USA 98. The New Zealand winter training session was deemed successful, paving the way for the final ramp-up to competition in Valencia.
"Our time in New Zealand exceeded our expectations on all fronts," Chris Dickson, CEO and Skipper of BMW Oracle Racing said. "We sailed in a full range of conditions which gave us the chance to fully sea trial USA 98 with new rigs, sails and appendage packages. While it is still early days with USA 98, we are all pleased with the performance to date. Even more importantly, our in-house racing programme has the crew closer to being ready for the Louis Vuitton Cup now less than two months way," Dickson said.
In a two-part session in New Zealand, the team took advantage of the Southern Hemisphere summer conditions. The new America’s Cup Class yacht USA 98 was delivered by container ship in early January to New Zealand from its construction site in Anacortes, WA in the USA. The team selected New Zealand as a winter training base due to the existing marine infrastructure, the proximity to many of the team’s suppliers, the range of conditions and long summer days. With more than 50 percent of the team
from New Zealand, many of the team had the opportunity to enjoy extended family visits before returning refreshed to Valencia for the competition..