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Americas Cup-winning tri USA 17 comes home to San Francisco

by ORACLE Racing 28 Feb 2011 20:05 GMT
America’s Cup-winning trimaran USA 17 comes home to San Francisco © Gilles Martin-Raget / ORACLE Racing

The giant America’s Cup-winning trimaran arrived in the Bay today aboard the freighter M.V. Star Isfjord after a 7,900-mile passage from Valencia, Spain, via the Panama Canal.

The ship carrying USA 17 passed underneath the Golden Gate Bridge at 0530 PST and berthed alongside San Francisco's Pier 80 at 0650.

The timing of unloading the game-changing 115ft trimaran and its wingsail will be determined by prevailing wind conditions. Both will be placed in short term storage in ORACLE Racing’s new base on Pier 80. Longer term, there are plans to put the yacht and her impressive 223-foot wingsail on public display.

The trimaran may not sail again, her place in history assured by two brief, glorious moments in February 2010. USA 17 has only ever contested two races in her life. She won both convincingly to win the oldest trophy in international sport from the Swiss Alinghi team.

In doing so, she propelled the America’s Cup into a new era of fast, exciting wingsailed multihull featuring shorter, simpler-to-understand racing and pioneering television graphics.

“When we stepped off the boat last year it was a really flat feeling that lasted several weeks,” commented skipper James Spithill. “We realized that we might not sail the boat again. There was such a buzz in sailing a machine so big and which pushed so many boundaries. But she was also ‘high-maintenance’ and right now our priority is the future, not the past.”

ORACLE Racing’s focus is on the next Cup. Scheduled for San Francisco in the summer of 2013, it will showcase similar wingsail multihull technology that made USA 17 so exciting.

The team’s new AC45 catamaran, used for the 2011 and 2012 America’s Cup World Series events, is nearing completion, while the design, sailing, engineering and boatbuilding teams are flat-out developing concepts for the team’s bigger AC72 catamaran for the defense of the America’s Cup. USA 17’s arrival is her first visit to the city that ORACLE Racing calls home. She was launched in Anacortes, Wash., in August 2008. After initial testing there, she was moved to San Diego, Calif., for a further period of training before being shipped to Valencia for the 33rd America’s Cup.

Measuring more than 100 feet long and 90 feet wide and powered by a 20-storey tall wingsail, USA 17 is the fastest yacht to ever win the America’s Cup. It has been in storage in Valencia since winning the Cup on Feb. 14, 2010.