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Cayard on The Broken Wing

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  • Cayard on The Broken Wing

    Vsail Info and Sail-World have interviewed Paul Cayard on the failure of the 1st AC72 wings to be tested, keeping things close to the vest, there is certain information gleaned, but its limited and Artemis did a godd job of keepin prying eyes from seeing or recording much of anything. As you understand, my first question can’t be other than about the incident with the AC72 wing you had some days ago in Valencia. Can you provide more details on that? How did it happen, what where the conditions at the time of the incident, what is the extent of the damage and how will that affect the overall America’s Cup campaign of Artemis Racing?

    Paul Cayard: What I can say is that conditions weren’t extremely rough, it was 13 knots of wind and the boat had been sailing for three hours when, suddenly, the wing came crashing down. As you know, nobody was hurt, fortunately. Ironically, the way it landed on the boat was extremely convenient, it didn’t go on the water. It was actually quite an easy rescue operation, which was very, very fortunate. I heard from one source that the wing broke in three-four pieces. Is that correct?

    Paul Cayard: That’s not accurate, the wing is broken in one place. It’s not broken in three-four pieces. We salvaged 100% of it and as I said, it was quite fortunate, the wing didn’t even go on the water, it landed all on the boat. So, we just hooked up the bow tow and towed back to the dock. What were the boat and crew doing in the precise moment of the incident? Were they maneuvering when the wing came crashing down?

    Paul Cayard: No, they were just reaching along, steady state, it was not in the middle of a tack or gybe. I suppose you are currently investigating what caused the failure and the breakage.

    Paul Cayard: Yes, we are doing our investigation to learn from this, to learn why it broke. Our investigation is both internal and external. We had two external consultants come and do various tests, basically a forensic study of what happened. Obviously, whenever you have something like that happen there was a series of minor failures and then a large failure. It wasn’t a rigging failure or anything like that, the structure itself failed.

    We are investigating so that we can learn. We are right at the outset of building our second wing right now, which is about to get going. Fortunately, we hadn’t started that and we will be able to incorporate what we are learning now, not only from that incident but we have been sailing since March 15th with the wing. We have been fortunate to learn a lot of things about the wing which we will incorporate into our second wing. Is the second wing, similarly to the first one, being built at Future Fibres?

    Paul Cayard: I can’t comment on that. I can’t tell you what is going on exactly with that. As I said, we are learning from the first wing and, of course, we have to repair it to get sailing again. It is fair to say it is a major damage and we will not be sailing our
    AC72, as planned, on July 1st, unfortunately. We were all set to do that and this is a bit of a setback but, hopefully, in September or October we will be able to get sailing with our AC72 yacht. So, if I understand well, your initial assessment, at least right now, is that you will be able to repair the broken wing.
    Paul Cayard: Yes, we absolutely have to. We are only allowed to have three wings, so we have to repair it and keep it as part of our inventory. We are right now deciding exactly what the methodology is going to be but are going to repair it as fast as we can. I’m pretty sure the AC72 will first sail with Wing 1 because it will take longer to build Wing 2. We hope to sail maybe around October with the AC72.

    More at vsail:


    By Bob Fisher for

    The amazing factor of America’s Cup stories is how exaggeration immerses them. The breaking of the AC-72 wing of Artemis that was being trialled on an ORMA 60 hull platform for example was retold to a degree that defied belief. No sooner had the wing folded than it was in four pieces and with that the rumour mill built so that everything that Artemis Racing had achieved was in the trash-can.

    What actually happened was that the wing snapped in two and the whole structure fell on to the boat – 'nothing got wet,' said Paul Cayard, the team supremo. 'One minute after it happened, Terry [Hutchinson] was able to call for a bow tow and 20 minutes later the trimaran and its broken wing were on their way back to the shore.'

    'Yes, it’s a set-back,' admitted Cayard, 'but better it happened in May 2012 than in May 2013. We have time on our side now that we wouldn’t have had if this had happened later. We were the first team to have an AC-72 wing up for testing (and we carefully read the Protocol to see if what we proposed doing was within the rules) and in the 12 days of sailing we learned an awful lot. Even the breakage can be construed as part of that learning curve.'

    break has been across the main spar, around which the wing elements pivot, and as such requires a great deal of repair work. 'We haven’t even started wing No.2 yet,' said Cayard. He did say that there was 'a pile of work' caused by the breakage, but that it had provided the opportunity for the internal engineering staff and external consultants to add to the requisite technical knowledge before completing the repair and building the next wing. (There would, incidentally, be at least three wings constructed – 'You wouldn’t go to San Francisco Bay with any less.')

    It has delayed the Artemis programme. 'Our first aim was to create a team – that was our initial focus. Building the wing and finding, and buying, a suitable platform; preparing for a Protocol protest; made us feel as though Artemis was a fully-formed AC team. Now we can take some satisfaction from the data we have collected in the 12 days of sailing we have had,' said Cayard.

    The set-back will probably be of four months duration, but the team can content itself that after July 1st, when the AC-72s are launched, Artemis will be ready to complete the allowed 30 days of sailing. 'We had planned to launch our boat – the platform is ready here in Valencia – on July 1st, and we will be beaten to that punch,' commented Cayard.

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