Oracle base comes through Hurricane Joaquin unscathed

  • Escaped unscathed: Oracle's base in Dockyard (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Escaped unscathed: Oracle's base in Dockyard (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Oracle Team USA’s Dockyard base and racing equipment came through Hurricane Joaquin relatively unscathed.

The hurricane swept past the Island on Sunday night, little more than two weeks before the start of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series.

“We came through Hurricane Joaquin relatively well,” the team said in a statement. “The base at Dockyard is in good shape and all our personnel on Bermuda are safe. We hope the same applies to all of our new friends in Bermuda.

“The wind is still very strong today [Monday], but the sun is starting to break through the clouds. We’ll be back at work tomorrow preparing to resume sailing later in the week.”

As the hurricane approached the Island, the Oracle team staff put their plan for such scenarios into action. The roof of the tent had to be removed from the canteen area, all the containers closed up and the large glass panels covered in plywood.

“Our logistics manager Ian Stewart has always had a plan for hurricane preparation,” Grant Simmer, the Oracle Team USA general manager, said. “That’s something that comes with living here. The forecast was a bit more severe so we took the decision to secure the base to the limit of what Ian had planned.”

Oracle restarted their test programme prior to Hurricane Joaquin’s visit with the relaunch of their foiling AC45 prototype catamaran, which is expected to resume sailing in the Great Sound this week.

Oracle’s second AC45 test boat is expected to be launched soon which will enable the defender of the oldest trophy in international sport to shift into two-boat testing mode.

“We see the two-boat programme as a big competitive advantage for us in our development,” Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said. “For me the most important was being the first team to set up here in Bermuda and getting a summer under our belt. We’ve achieved that and now we’re about to enter the next phase — getting two boats on the water.”

Oracle officials do not expect the storm to have any impact on the World Series races, and Simmer said: “Bermudians are accustomed to dealing with these storms and recovering quickly.”

• Additional reporting by Sarah Lagan

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Published Oct 6, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm)

Oracle base comes through Hurricane Joaquin unscathed

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