Ken Read interview - part 2


Today the Stars & Stripes helm recounts the story of USA-77 sinking, AC sail developments and North Sails' role
Continued from part 1 yesterday. While it is tempting to imagine Long Beach as having San Diego-style perpetually light conditions Ken Read says this was not the case and that almost every day they'd start out with 8-13 knots while in the afternoon a 20-21 knot sea breeze would kick in. "It's an amazing place if you want to go test - I was blown away. We didn't lose a single day due to no wind or too much or storms. I don't think it rained the entire time we were there." It was of course during their training off Long Beach in July that USA-77 suffered a rudder breakage and sank. Read was on board U-77 (as the team have rechristened her) at the time. "It was blowing about 21 knots. We were about to start speed testing. We had full sail up, there was a big bang, I looked over the side and there as the rudder... Robbie Myles jumped down below and came up looking a little pale and said 'we've got major water coming in'." Fortunately their tenders came alongside in a matter of seconds and quickly loaded on board pumps and airbags that they carry for just this eventuality. But running pumps and the buoyancy of three air bags were not enough to counter the effects of gravity. "The guys did a great job steering the boat with the sails to make sure we didn't spin into a tack and possibly lose the rig. I just thank God, that no one was hurt and no one was trapped below when she went down, because, man, did she go fast." U-77 disappeared below the waves in just 4.5 minutes. "Three of the guys stepped off the scoop straight onto the rubber boat as the boat

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