It's on! America's Cup "September showdown" under way

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: September 9, 2013 3:53 pm ET
Updated: September 9, 2013 4:36 pm ET

Image By: © ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget Emirates Team New Zealand challenges defender Oracle Team USA in the first day of racing in the Final Match of the 34th America's Cup.

Related to this story

Topics Oceania, United States, Recreational/sporting goods, Composites, Film & Sheet

Defender Oracle Team USA and challenger Emirates Team New Zealand are racing for the America's Cup on San Francisco Bay. Their so-called "September showdown" features two races daily and started Sept. 7.

The trophy winner will be the first to attain nine points.

For the Kiwis, that means winning nine races and for Oracle it means 11 race wins.

On Sept. 3, an international jury imposed a two-point penalty and a $250,000 fine on Oracle after some of its members improperly modified AC45 yachts in 2012 during America's Cup world series regattas. In August, Oracle voluntarily withdrew from the last four of those regattas.

Both teams need to avoid some of the previous on-water, hard-to-predict breakdowns with their lightweight powerful 72-foot-long boats.

The 11-man AC72 teams compete in the challenging, complex-composites-laden, development-class boat with wing sails and hydrofoils.

Speeds can exceed 52 miles per hour. As a result, boat control, material and mechanical integrity and problem avoidance are critical factors.

Oracle-owned Core Builders Composites Ltd. has built ― and as needed, rebuilt ― the team's AC72 wing sails in Warkworth, New Zealand, and, as required under AC protocols regarding country of origin, produced the defender's hulls in a warehouse on Pier 80 in San Francisco.

T.P. Cookson Boatbuilders Ltd. of Glenfield, New Zealand, builds the Team New Zealand hulls, and Southern Spars and Rigging of Rosebank, New Zealand, manufactures its wing sails.

Team New Zealand won the official challenger rights by defeating Italy's Luna Rosa Challenge, 7-1, in the Louis Vuitton Cup series that ended Aug. 25.

Both teams had problems.

The Luna Rossa team refined its daggerboard and lifting post in advance of the series, but a daggerboard problem before the first race ultimately ended the team's effort after the first mark rounding. Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena said a polymer-matrix composite part of the lifting system broke, fortunately during a reaching leg and not a riskier jibe.

Team New Zealand continued on the course but, rounding the third mark in race one, its boat took a traumatic, spectator-gasping nosedive. The boat popped up onto its hydrofoils rounding the mark, and a gust of wind hit.

The port bow buried the structure up to the main crossbeam, reducing the boat speed and flicking crewmembers Rob Waddell and Chris Ward overboard. A team chase boat recovered the two grinders.

The rush of tons of water, however, tore the port-side fairing off the main crossbeam, sheared away bits of polymer-matrix composite components and left the crew shaken.

In race two, Team New Zealand experienced problems with electronic circuitry that controls the boat's hydraulics and was unable to finish. As a result, the team replaced all of its batteries.

In race three, Luna Rossa had to slow at the beginning of the third leg, and eventually withdraw, with damage to a sheave on the control arm of the 131-foot-tall wing sail.

The line controls the twist profile of the wing, comes down to the base of the wing and wraps around sheaves. The sheaves moved and caused the problem with the tension of the control line.

Earlier problems also had emerged.

On Aug. 6, partial peeling of Clysar polyolefin shrink film off the frame of the Luna Rosa's wing sail hindered but did not stop the team from defeating Artemis Racing of Sweden in the first semifinal race of their challenger series. The plastic film began peeling off the frames to which it is glued before the start of the race and was held in place temporarily with tape.

On May 9, Artemis Racing's first AC72 broke apart during a practice. A polymer-matrix composite girder in front of the wing sail failed, one of the two hulls snapped and the mast came down. A crew member was trapped underwater for about 10 minutes and died.

During Oct. 16, 2012 training with its first AC72, the Oracle boat capsized, pitch-poled and broke its wing sail. Repairs and component replacement cost Oracle months of on-water training time.

Oracle defeated a Swiss-based team to win the 33rd America's Cup in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010 and selected San Francisco as the host city for the current series.

The competitors mutually characterize the course as having great sea breezes, changeable current and wind conditions, and a venue with multiple on-water and shoreline San Francisco Bay viewing locations.

NBC and NBC Sports Network are broadcasting the finals live with replays available on the America's Cup YouTube channel.


Comments

It's on! America's Cup "September showdown" under way

By Roger Renstrom
Correspondent

Published: September 9, 2013 3:53 pm ET
Updated: September 9, 2013 4:36 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Study: 75 percent of Australia's ocean debris is plastic

September 18, 2014 7:48 pm ET

About 75 percent of the trash found in the waters off Australia's beaches is plastic, with most of that coming from local sources rather than sea-...    More

Image

P&G removing PE microbeads from its Crest brand toothpaste

September 18, 2014 1:57 pm ET

After months of prodding, Procter & Gamble Co., the makers of Crest brand toothpastes, say polyethlene microbeads will be completely removed from its ...    More

Image

Bill Kent named Thermoformer of the Year

September 18, 2014 12:11 pm ET

Bill Kent flew 6 million miles in a 50-year career at Brown Machine LLC — where he began assembling thermoforming machinery on the factory...    More

Image

Nolato Contour beefs up white room molding capabilities

September 18, 2014 11:56 am ET

Nolato Medical has extended its controlled environment options to include a white room at its Baldwin, Wis., Nolato Contour plant.    More

Image

Thermoforming conference draws 300 first-time attendees

September 18, 2014 10:39 am ET

The Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Conference drew 814 attendees, according to Jim Arnet, conference chairman.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events