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Fri, Nov 09, 2012

Wrecked America's Cup Yacht Finding New 'Life' At Flugtag

Fast Catamaran Was Damaged In Practice, Will Now Be Launched From A Ramp To 'Fly'

Sails are just wings that are vertical, right? So maybe it makes sense that an $8 million dollar racing catamaran that was badly damaged during practice for the America's Cup will take its final journey during Red Bull's Flugtag event in San Francisco this weekend.

The yacht belonged to Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, who has sponsored several high-tech very fast sailboats for both triangle circuit and blue water racing. The America's Cup yacht capsized during practice for the race and was damaged beyond repair. While they wait for a new boat to be delivered, members of Ellison's crew have decided to take bits of the broken boat and see if they can make it fly ... if only for a few yards off a 30-foot-high ramp used to launch Flugtag entries into the water.

A blogger for the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the boat, rechristened "Spirit of 17", was built literally of parts left over from the Oracle yacht, including pieces of carbon fiber found floating in the Pacific ocean after the boat capsized. It will look something like a multi-hull sailboat. How far it flies is another question entirely, but team members are not particularly optimistic. Team Oracle sailor Shannon Falcone, who will be the "pilot," said he expect the boat to "pitch pole" (go end over end. Yes, sailors have their own jargon just like pilots) off the ramp into the water "So everybody will have a replay of what happened when the big boat crashed," he said.

Flugtag San Francisco is coming up Saturday, with viewing of the entries beginning at 1100 PST, and 'flying' starting a 1300.

(File photo from 2011 Flugtag courtesy Red Bull)

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