TEAM ORACLE – Wrapped up like a late Christmas present, wing two arrived at the ORACLE TEAM USA base at Pier 80 in San Francisco on a sunny Tuesday afternoon.
With the new wing and a repaired AC72 platform, the team expects to be back on the Bay training by early February as it recovers from its spectacular capsize in October.
“The guys have done a fantastic job in New Zealand. They’ve pretty much got it assembled. I think the wing will be together very quickly and probably early February we’ll be out on the water,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill.
“At this time of year you don’t get a whole lot of wind. It’s a bit hit and miss with the weather, but any day that looks good for sailing, we’ll be out there, trying to put some hours on this wing and the boat.
“The platform is pretty much ready. It still needs a little bit of a fit out, but the guys have really dug it in and just pulled off the impossible. So we’re going to get out there now and from a sailing team point of view, reward those guys who have put all the hours in.”
With the time off from sailing, Spithill says he’s been able to size up the challengers
“I spent a bit of time in New Zealand in December and it’s been impressive. Emirates Team New Zealand has done a good job with their foiling configuration – they looked pretty good. Luna Rossa were pretty early in their sailing program when I was there. And Artemis Racing in the meantime has started sailing a bit out here.
“There’s a big difference in design and configuration in the boats, but that’s something we’re looking forward to. It’s great for us to have another team (Artemis) on the Bay here and hopefully when we get out on the water we can see how the two boats go.”
Spithill says the experience of recovering from the capsize has strengthened the American defender.
“As a group we’ve faced the toughest challenge so far of all the teams. We’ve been able to test ourselves and see how we react. At the time, it didn’t feel great, but it’s been a good test for the team and all the people involved for us to get through this… And now we can get back out there.”