In a press release posted to their website, www.stars-stripes.com, Team Dennis Conner today announced the final plans for the repair of USA-77, which sank off Long Beach, Calif., in July. Due to the structural damage caused when USA-77 impacted with the bottom, and the desire not to add the extra weight that would result from the necessary repairs, the bow from the mast forward will be completely replaced. The new section is being constructed at New England Boatworks in Portsmouth, R.I., the builders of USA-66, and USA-77.
After being flown to Auckland, the new bow will be spliced to the remainder of the hull in Auckland and the syndicate says that they expect USA-77 will be sailing again by mid-September. Boatbuilders are creating the splice in a zig-zag pattern that will supposedly make the monocoque hull just as strong but no heavier than the original hull.
The sinking of USA-77 may even have some backhanded benefit for Team DC; the new bow section will not be a carbon copy of the original bow. Using data collected during the extensive two-boat testing with USA-66 and USA-77 off Long Beach, Calif. last summer, Reichel/Pugh have designed a new forward section. Americas Cup protocol allows even a major modification such as this when less than 50 percent of the original structure is replaced.