Broken boat to go to NZ
Stars & Stripes USA-77 has now been inspected by Team Dennis Conner's engineers and has had a full ultrasound to determine the extent of the damaged areas where the bow hit the bottom. The whole incident has been analysed and we have determined that it was quite a soft landing because the bulb and bow apparently went into the mud and silt almost together.
The bulb was buried in more than three feet of mud. This explains the gentle stop the boat made as it slipped lower and lower into the water then just stopped going any further and finally came upright. There was never a sudden stop and that is why the damage is localised to the deck, because of the hydrostatic water pressure and forward topsides as a result of the bow impact with no deck support.
USA-77 is presently being readied for her trip to New Zealand. All cracks have been temporarily reinforced and the hole where the rudder tore out has been covered to ensure a safe trip. She will be launched and side-towed to the container ship where Columbus Lines will manage the lift onto the cradle on the ship. Fifteen days later USA-77 will arrive in Auckland where she will be launched, towed to our base and put into our boat shed and the work will begin.
The full extent of the repair work to be done and the exact timetable are undefined until the work begins in New Zealand. There could be more or less work involved as we get into the project but we are confident we will be sailing her sometime around mid-September for continued testing against USA-66 and if we so chose, she would be available to race in the first race of the Louis Vuitton Series, starting October 1.
Details of the rudder failure will be kept confidential due to the sensitivity of the design information that would be revealed. Our designers and engineers do know what caused the failure and can prevent it from ever happening again with one design modification.
Thank you to everyone who has written the team showing your support. We have received wonderful letters of encouragement from Team New Zealand, One World and Oracle/ BMW Racing, along with many New York Yacht Club members and lots of Stars & Stripes fans from all around the world. The morale and team spirit within Team Dennis Conner is very high and we are looking forward to the next phase of our program in Auckland.