Oracle on the water again following October capsizing incident during America's Cup practice 

click to enlarge Oracle’s AC72 is lifted into the water at Pier 80 in San Francisco. - ROBERT GALBRAITH/REUTERS
  • Robert Galbraith/Reuters
  • Oracle’s AC72 is lifted into the water at Pier 80 in San Francisco.

SAN DIEGO — America’s Cup champion Team Oracle USA has returned to the water 3½ months after its 72-foot catamaran was heavily damaged in a spectacular capsize on San Francisco Bay.

Skipper Jimmy Spithill says it was a “fantastic” day in about 10-12 knots of wind.

“I tell you what, mate, I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time,” Spithill said by phone from Oracle’s base in San Francisco. “For the boat to perform like it did lifts a weight off the shoulders, to be honest. It’s good to be back on the horse again.”

Oracle sailed for about three hours with a full crew of sailors plus some engineers. Spithill said sea trials will continue for a few days.

The boat capsized on Oct. 16, tumbling stern over bow after its twin hulls dug into the waves in 25 knots of wind on San Francisco Bay. It was caught in a strong ebb tide and swept more than four miles past the Golden Gate Bridge.

The pounding waves, not the capsize itself, destroyed the high-tech, 131-foot wing sail. No sailors were injured.

Oracle had to wait for a new wing sail to arrive by ship from New Zealand before it could sail again.

The Louis Vuitton Cup for challengers starts July 4 on San Francisco Bay, with the winner facing Oracle in the 34th America’s Cup beginning Sept. 7.

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