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

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

Alex Brands buys iconic Shrinky Dinks toys

December 19, 2014 3:15 pm ET

First Slinky, now Shrinky Dinks. What will toy and games investment firm Alex Brands buy next?    More

Image

Judge limits scope of jury verdict against JM Eagle

December 19, 2014 2:30 pm ET

A federal judge in Los Angeles said Dec. 18 that last year's jury verdict issued against J-M Manufacturing Co. — now JM Eagle — for...    More

Image

Jarden hiring for new plastics plant

December 19, 2014 1:45 pm ET

Consumer products conglomerate Jarden Corp. is hiring plastics technicians for a new operation in Erlanger, Ky.    More

Image

Antimicrobial polymers firm TiFiber launching pilot production in Ark.

December 19, 2014 10:58 am ET

TiFiber Inc., which makes synthetic compounds to control dangerous microorganisms, will locate a pilot production facility and its future company...    More

Image

Spray PU foam aids in NASA launch

December 19, 2014 9:22 am ET

NASA's test of the Orion spacecraft earlier this month took advantage of spray polyurethane foam insulation from North Carolina Foam Industries (NCFI...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events