Renowned Kiwi yachting designer Bruce Farr isn't being blamed for the buckling of Young America

Renowned Kiwi yachting designer Bruce Farr isn’t being blamed by the designer or the syndicate for the buckling of Young America.

The cause of the severe deck and hull damage that nearly sank Young America in the America’s Cup challenger series two weeks ago is still being investigated. Young America’s first boat USA53 cracked its deck and bent its hull shell after striking two two-metre waves during racing on November 9.

Swift crew work prevented the boat sinking, and it is now being repaired. The boat’s syndicate, called Young America as well, are hopeful work will be completed by the middle of next month. Young America were forced to introduce their second boat into the competition early, but not before rapidly reinforcing the boat’s hull and deck areas to avoid a repeat of the first deck failure. A statement from the designer and syndicate today said Farr was not to blame for the failure.

It is the first time Farr, who designed the yacht, has said anything at all since the incident on the Hauraki Gulf. Speculation is rife around the America’s Cup base in Auckland as to whether the design or construction might have caused or contributed to the damage.

“The Young America Challenge and their principal designers Farr Yacht Design Ltd today announced that the evidence presented to date in the investigation of the damage to USA53 conclude that the deck failure was not a result of a fault in the engineering or design of the boat,” the statement said. “The Young America design team has been carrying out investigations and reviewing design work over the past two weeks to determine and understand the causes.

“Work continues on the investigation both within the Young America camp and by insurers of Young America.” The designers, based in the United States, and the crew in New Zealand wanted to determine what caused the failure to avoid it happening to their other boat, the statement said.

USA58 struggled through its last three races in the Louis Vuitton Cup — not starting in one, withdrawing part-way through another and sailing very conservatively in their last match with AmericaOne. Skipper Ed Baird refused to start against Young Australia after loud noises were heard in a mast-boom fitting area and also on the deck.

After New York Yacht Club members provided a confidential internal memo about “disquieting noises” in the deck area to an American journalist in Auckland, Baird admitted the second boat’s deck also had a crack in it.

But he has insisted the crack would not affect the boat’s ability to sail. The Young America syndicate initially indicated they intended “clarifying” the deck issue in a statement, but no information has been released.

The syndicate said today reinforcement work on USA58 had included extra stiffening to support primary load bearing areas. Other work included reinforcing “suspect” hull shell areas, where the skin appears to have been pulling away from the core materials of the hull.

Young America was not responding to calls today. Sailing resumes in the Louis Vuitton Cup on December 2.