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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Catch the First Glimpse of Oracle's America's Cup Team Next Week

Posted By on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 5:24 PM

click to enlarge oracleracing.jpg
While we still have two years before the madness of the America's Cup descends on San Francisco, next week you can get a taste of what we'll be seeing.

Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing team will begin practicing on the bay, using two 45-foot wingsail catamarans to cut through the chop.

"These new boats have excited everyone who has seen them or sailed on them," skipper James Spithill saysin a press release. "They are cool-tech, high-adrenaline machines."

Cool-tech, high-adrenaline machines? Are we still talking about sailboats here?

It will be the first time the team hits the water since San Francisco officially won its bid for the America's Cup in 2013. It will also mark the first time the multihull vessels will be tested in the windy waters off San Francisco.

In fact, the vessels are a major departure for the Cup. For the first time in the event's 160-year history, teams will be racing in multihull vessels. The hope is that this change will make for something more exciting than, well, a typical sailboat race.

click to enlarge oracleracing2.jpg

"The switch to multihulls has left the slow boats in the past," says Russell Coutts, CEO of Oracle Racing. "The new boats are just one element of a total transformation of the America's Cup. The excitement is higher, racing more physical and challenging, and rules simpler."

We remain skeptical that the Cup will ever be a thrill-a-minute spectacle. Still, a chance to see the boats in action is nothing to shrug at. What's more, by the time the Oracle team returns to San Francisco in 2013, it will be practicing on AC45s, which stand 45 feet tall. The sailboats used in the actual Cup, however, will clock in at 72 feet.

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