With a traditional splash of champagne, defending America's Cup champion Oracle Team USA christened and launched their new 22-metre wing-sailed catamaran yesterday.
Then, with the wind blowing 27 knots on some parts of San Francisco Bay, the syndicate cancelled the fast cat's maiden voyage, deciding it didn't want the shakedown cruise to potentially become a breakdown cruise.
"There's plenty of time to shake it down," said syndicate CEO Russell Coutts.
Oracle will sail their new catamaran in the 34th America's Cup match beginning on September 7 against the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup for challengers.
Judith Sim, Oracle Corp's chief marketing officer, smashed a bottle of Moet across the bowsprit and christened the boat Oracle Team USA 17 in a ceremony at San Francisco's Pier 80. It's the second boat built for this America's Cup campaign by Oracle Team USA, which is owned by software tycoon Larry Ellison.
Holding off on the maiden voyage was a good idea, considering that Oracle's first boat capsized in wind of about 25 knots in October destroying the 40m wing sail in the process.
Coutts, a four-time America's Cup winner, said the syndicate will try to get their new boat on to the bay today.
Skipper Jimmy Spithill says it will probably take a few days of sea trials to check all the systems before the crew can begin pushing the boat.
"It's completely different," he says. "Everything we learned from boat one has been incorporated into boat two. These are incredibly difficult boats to sail. They're physically demanding. These boats are a handful, but they're also very rewarding. It's incredibly thrilling to sail them."