``Mr Quirky'' will come racing out of the shed on Thursday in a final attempt to keep the Hawaiians in the America's Cup yachting regatta.
“Mr Quirky” will come racing out of the shed on Thursday in a final attempt to keep the Hawaiians in the America’s Cup yachting regatta.
Abracadabra 2000 needs to pull a lot of wins out of the hat to survive the cut for the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger semifinals. So skipper and boss John Kolius has pulled out the untried USA50, a boat he describes as a little erratic, to sail in the final round-robin starting on Thursday.
USA50 was the first boat built by the Hawaiian syndicate and was tested at length off Ko Olina before being shipped to Auckland. But once it arrived it stayed at the back of the compound shed while the more conservative USA54 was finished off to race in the first two rounds.
But the Abracadabra team have found themselves holding a plane ticket that will have them home for Christmas if they do not better their eighth placing in this round to make the top six.
“We’re bringing USA50 out of retirement,” Kolius said. “It hasn’t been that patient waiting for its turn, either. “The guys call it `Mr Quirky’ because when it’s hot, it’s hot, and when it’s not, it’s pretty average. It’s more difficult to sail, but it has more potential.
“We’ve had some pretty long days out there this last week getting used to it. We towed home in the dark once.” The boat has a similar sealife paint job to USA54, but the similarities probably end there. It is also a lot different from when it left Hawaii. Among other things, it has a new bowsprit. “The hull is the same but nothing else is,” Kolius said.
“We’ve got the platform off the bow now so the bowmen have somewhere to stand while they’re putting the jib up.” Not that anyone is about to jump ship, despite Abracadabra’s disappointing performance and unlucky breaks so far. The Hawaiians are eight points off sixth-placed Young America, but a win in this round is worth nine points.
“We’ve dug ourselves a big enough hole and I never enjoy getting beaten up,” Kolius said.
“We pretty much need to win seven races [from 10] to pass through. Anything less than that and we’ll need pretty serious help from the other challengers. No one here is giving up.” The Hawaiians are not the only ones changing boats for round three. Prada are standing down the pacy ITA45 for sister ITA48. The Japanese may also opt for their second boat this time around.