Tuesday, February 01, 2011

USA 17 is on its way home!

With the next America’s Cup returning to the States, we're keeping an eye on preparation for the 2013 event.

By Sean McQuilken
Special to the Daily Boater

Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget / oracleracing.com

After over a year in Valencia, Spain USA 17 - Oracle Racing's 90 foot America's Cup winning trimaran and all its support equipment were loaded onto a chartered cargo ship to be shipped to San Francisco. The ship is the Star Isfjord a 650 foot (198 meter) by 102 foot (31 meter) cargo ship flying the Norwegian flag. The reported shipping cost was $35,000 per day and it is estimated that it will take 30 days to get to San Francisco.

In addition to the trimaran and its equipment, an International America's Cup Class Yacht, USA 76, a mobile crane bought to handle the trimaran, and a variety of support vessels and equipment were loaded. Loading a 90 foot carbon fiber trimaran and the world's largest wing is not an easy project; this video shows some of the complexities of the preparation for the move:

The official word from Oracle Racing is they haven't decided if or even when USA 17 will sail again. This is due to the large amount of work it takes to maintain the high tech yacht and all its complex systems. Estimates are the team spent 20 hours doing maintenance for every hour of sailing. Other sailors and myself would love to see USA 17 sailing, as it would be a great promotional tool for the upcoming America's Cup which is slated to take place from August - October 2013 on San Francisco Bay.

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