Artemis Racing had hoped to launch and christen its AC72 in San Francisco on Thursday, but pushed the planned ceremony back after the team ‘heard noises’ when loading up the boat.
Chief Operating Officer Laurent Esquier explains: “The plan was to launch and tow the boat, to put it through its paces at speed, then to step the wing and do the champagne ceremony. We launched the boat, towed it to the bridge at speed and on the way back we heard some noises as we were loading the catamaran platform itself.”
“So the stepping of the wing and the champagne christening will not be today. The boat will come out of the water and go into the shed and we will spend the rest of the day thoroughly going through it.”
Skipper Terry Hutchinson was philosophical about the delay. “We were just out towing around and heard a couple of things going — nothing major, but we’re working through the process of getting a brand new boat worked up,” he said. “We have to be meticulous and spot on with everything that we’re doing — especially in light of what’s been happening around us. We’re just at the start of the process and off we go. It should be a good 9 months.”
Esquier went on to say that carbon fibre, the primary construction material, “Is a strange animal. You hear noises and you just don’t know. So we need to do our due diligence and assess the integrity of the structure.”
The design team is assessing the damage and the team will make a plan to get the AC72 on the water as soon as possible.