17 back on the Bay
“I think everyone was anxious and pretty psyched to get going again,” said trimmer Rome Kirby. “Obviously the first day out, you’re cautious about loading the boat up, and you’re not pushing too hard yet. But all-in-all it went well, and it was a good day.”
The AC72 rolled out of the shed Monday morning and was lowered into the Bay outside the team base at Pier 80. The crew spent the afternoon running through tests and various exercises to get back up to speed.
“We treated today kind of like we had a new boat, so it was basically a sea trial,” said tactician John Kostecki. “With several changes to the boat and a brand new wing, we took everything slow, loaded it up gradually. Everyone was pretty keen to get back out there and it’s hard to hold back, but that’s the prudent thing to do on your first day.”
As a result of the capsize of Oracle Team USA ‘17’ on 16 October, the wingsail was destroyed and the hulls severely damaged. Repair work to the platform began immediately, while the build of wing two was accelerated at Core Builders Composites in New Zealand, arriving on 8 January. After long hours by the entire team, the repairs, plus modifications, were completed on schedule.
“It’s exciting because we’re getting back on the water, and it’s also exciting as this is the first day of testing the modifications we’ve made to the boat,” said General Manager Grant Simmer. “This is the beginning of the next stage.”
Oracle Team USA plans to sail the AC72 several days each week. Meanwhile work also continues on the build of the team’s second AC72.