Ultrasound has been carried out on Stars & Stripes, Dennis Conner's America's Cup boat, to determine the extent of the damage caused by last week's sinking off Long Beach
Stars & Stripes USA-77, Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup boat which sunk while out training last week in Long Beach Harbour, has been inspected by the team engineers and ultrasound has been carried out to determine the extent of the damaged areas where the bow hit the bottom.
It seems the yacht suffered a soft landing because the bulb and bow apparently went into the mud and silt at virtually the same time. The bulb was buried in more than three feet of mud. This explains the gentle stop the boat made as it slipped lower and lower into the water then just stopped going any further and finally came upright. There was never a sudden stop and that is why the damage is localised to the deck, because of the hydrostatic water pressure and forward topsides as a result of the bow impact with no deck support.
USA-77 is currently being prepared for her trip to New Zealand for the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup series. All cracks have been temporarily reinforced and the hole where the rudder tore out has been covered to ensure a safe trip. She will be launched and side-towed to the container ship where Columbus Lines will manage the lift onto the cradle on the ship. Fifteen days later USA-77 will arrive in Auckland where she will be launched, towed to our base and put into the team boat shed where work will begin.
The full extent of the repair work to be done and the exact timetable are undefined until the work begins in New Zealand. However, the team is confident that sailing will commence in mid-September.
Details of the rudder failure will be kept confidential due to the sensitivity of the design information that would be revealed.