Yachting: Pelican to blame for Oracle sail damage?

By Paul Lewis

Oracle Team USA yesterday damaged a wing sail but are not expected to be seriously affected in preparations for the America's Cup match against Team New Zealand.

An Oracle spokesman last night confirmed that a 40m wingsail, which provides the power and speed for the 72-foot AC72 catamarans, was damaged but said it was probably "an overnight fix".

It's understood the yacht involved was Boat 2, considered most likely to be the one Oracle decides to field against Emirates Team NZ, starting on September 8.

It is not clear how the wing was damaged; one report said a pelican strike (there are many of the birds in San Francisco Bay) might have been to blame. However, the wings take an enormous load and can come under enormous strain or even be blown out if the trim is wrong. Whatever happens, Oracle are well served - they have at least three wingsails and possibly four.

However, the damage meant a short day on the water which will not please them as time training, especially when speed modifications are being made, is vital.

There is certainly plenty of action in the Oracle shed right now. It is understood that 10 boatbuilders from New Zealand, many from Warkworth's Core Builders Composites, have been flown up in the last week or so to help with modification work before the Cup match.

- NZ Herald

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