Hopes that Conner’s new AC boat, USA 77, survived its undignified dunking were thrown to the wind yesterday, when a preliminary assessment revealed two fairly serious fractures…
Hopes that Conner’s new AC boat, USA 77, survived its undignified dunking were thrown to the wind yesterday, when a preliminary assessment revealed two fairly serious fractures?
Rich Roberts writes:
As Team Dennis Conner’s boat was raised near sundown, observers were alarmed to see an 18-inch-long crack on the starboard gunwale opposite the mast. Later, it was learned there was a similar wound on the port side.
“We heard some cracks when it went down, so we’re kind of confused a little bit on whether it was the pressure of the water in the bow or whether it touched the bottom, so we’re still trying to sort that out,” said Bill Trenkle.
“But those other failures happened back by the keel area, which is much more highly stressed, well aft of the mast where the keel is in a much more highly stressed part of the boat. That’s where you don’t want to have a failure. In the bow of the boat forward of the chainplates, the only structure is some centerline beams that hold the headstay tension. It’s not really a critical part of the boat.”
The boat was designed by the Reichel/Pugh team of San Diego. John Reichel inspected USA 77 the next day, while Jim Pugh expressed cautious optimism. “We don’t have a complete damage assessment,” Pugh said. “What you can see doesn’t always tell you how much damage there is, [but] it’s very repairable. We’re confident that it’ll be sailing in September, probably better than it was.” “USA 77 will go down to New Zealand and be repaired and we’ll be sailing by the end of August, as we planned,” Trenkle said. “We have all the boat builders in-house that can do it in our shed. We’re pretty sure it’s not going to make a big impact.” Then USA 77 will be placed on a container ship Wednesday across a narrow channel from the team’s training base on Terminal Island in L.A. Harbor. USA 66 will follow a week later on Aug 6.