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Who Will be at Key West?

Key West Numbers, Volvo Damage, IACC Keels

November 15, 2001
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The US Sailing site’s calendar of events occurring on 11/15 (ussailing.org) shows only two events, The Melges 24 Worlds, and the U.S. Women’s Match racing Championship, both cancelled in the wake of September’s tragic events.

Thankfully, the Melges event’s dates have been moved and the championship will take place during the 2002 Terra Nova Trading Key West Race Week, an arrangement that works well for both events.

The big question remains. Will anyone else be there? Premiere racing thinks so, and is predicting 311 entries, only slightly down from the 2001 event, which drew a record setting 326 entries.

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311 boats is still a great number considering the state of the World today and Premiere racing backs up it’s estimate with some strong statistical math. http://www.premiere-racing.com

We may not be seeing a lot of activity in our hemisphere as we slide down into winter but the Southern Hemisphere is carnage city. Team Tyco has broken their rudder enough to have rigged the holder for their emergency rudder and started the 600-mile slog back to South Africa. As they carefully make their way home under reduced sail, team managers and shore crewmembers are thinking about the best way to get the boat to Sydney for the next leg, the Sydney-Hobart race.

A few thousand miles away, Team Oracle are scratching their heads and wondering how to recover a 55,000 lb bulb that, with fin, separated from the hull of their practice boat, USA-49.

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**From the New Zealand Herald: **

Dickson was at the helm of Oracle’s USA49 on Wednesday when it broke its keel and capsized. A year earlier he was at the helm of USA61 when it also broke its keel and toppled over.

“We were saying there probably aren’t too many sailors in the world who have broken two keels in a year,” Dickson said.

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USA49 was back at the Viaduct Harbour early yesterday. “The team did a great job of salvaging the boat,” Dickson said. “The mast and sail were rescued. The keel is still on the bottom of the Hauraki Gulf, down 100ft. “We had some divers out there yesterday and we are going to make every effort to get the keel back so we can have a look at it. It is better we get it up than leave 20 tonnes of lead sitting in the Hauraki Gulf.”

The American syndicate had both its training yachts out, just north of Waiheke’s Onetangi Bay in 14-knot winds, when trouble hit. “There was a huge bang, almost like an explosion, and then the boat quite gracefully started tipping over,” said Dickson. “It felt like a capsized dinghy.”

Oracle’s two training boats were bought from America One after the last America’s Cup regatta. “Obviously the whole keel was not strong enough,” Dickson said. “A year ago we changed a number of things and thought we had made significant improvements. We thought we had solved the problem but obviously we haven’t. “The problem is that they are old boats and the protocol prevents us from getting the plans of the keel, therefore we don’t have any specific engineering knowledge of the keel structure.”
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/

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