Oracle launch set for Saturday
America's Cup defender Oracle's first monster catamaran - the part-Kiwi AC72 - is ready for launch this week, with minimum fanfare.
Two months after Emirates Team New Zealand christened the world's first AC72 in Auckland, Oracle will wet the hulls of only the second cat of its kind in San Francisco Bay this Saturday, NZ time.
Almost all of the 72 foot cat - bar the carbon fibre hulls - was built in New Zealand, at the Warkworth headquarters of Core Builders Composites, a company owned by Oracle. The cross beams connecting the two hulls, the wingsail, rudders, lifting daggerboardsand other key structures were shipped across to California to join the rest of the boat.
Earlier today, the boat's massive 12 storey-high wing was lifted at Pier 80 to test the new ground handling systems.
"This was one tick in a very long check-list of essential steps before the boat can go into the water," said Kiwi Mark Turner, Oracle's shore manager.
Over the next two days, the shore team will step the 40m wingsail onto the hull. The boat's first sail will involve a myriad of engineers and designers, who have to sign off on the structure.
"This is one of the most intricately detailed racing boats ever built," says Tim Smyth of CBC. "Not only this, but it is also one of the most dramatic looking."
Where Team NZ's New Zealand was launched in a grand public affair, the Oracle team will keep their launch low-key with a media day.