Archive | February, 2011

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America’s Cup-winning trimaran USA 17 comes home to San Francisco

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Oracle Racing] The ship carrying USA 17 passed underneath the Golden Gate Bridge at 0530 PST and berthed alongside San Francisco’s Pier 80 at 0650.

The timing of unloading the game-changing 115ft trimaran and its wingsail will be determined by prevailing wind conditions.  Both will be placed in short term storage in ORACLE Racing’s new base on Pier 80. Longer term, there are plans to put the yacht and her impressive 223-foot wingsail on public display.

The trimaran may not sail again, her place in history assured by two brief, glorious moments in February 2010. USA 17 has only ever contested two races in her life. She won both convincingly to win the oldest trophy in international sport from the Swiss Alinghi team.

In doing so, she propelled the America’s Cup into a new era of fast, exciting wingsailed multihull featuring shorter, simpler-to-understand racing and pioneering television graphics.

“When we stepped off the boat last year it was a really flat feeling that lasted several weeks,” commented skipper James Spithill. “We realized that we might not sail the boat again. There was such a buzz in sailing a machine so big and which pushed so many boundaries. But she was also ‘high-maintenance’ and right now our priority is the future, not the past.”

ORACLE Racing’s focus is on the next Cup. Scheduled for San Francisco in the summer of 2013, it will showcase similar wingsail multihull technology that made USA 17 so exciting.

The team’s new AC45 catamaran, used for the 2011 and 2012 America’s Cup World Series events, is nearing completion, while the design, sailing, engineering and boatbuilding teams are flat-out developing concepts for the team’s bigger AC72 catamaran for the defense of the America’s Cup.

USA 17’s arrival is her first visit to the city that ORACLE Racing calls home. She was launched in Anacortes, Wash., in August 2008. After initial testing there, she was moved to San Diego, Calif., for a further period of training before being shipped to Valencia for the 33rd America’s Cup.

Measuring more than 100 feet long and 90 feet wide and powered by a 20-storey tall wingsail, USA 17 is the fastest yacht to ever win the America’s Cup. It has been in storage in Valencia since winning the Cup on Feb. 14, 2010.

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Groupama Sailing Team running on all cylinders

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Groupama Sailing Team] Since 15 February, the Groupama Sailing Team has really been getting down to business at their base in Lorient, France. From the four corners of the globe and France, the crew of the future Groupama 4 are back on Breton soil to get back down to training.

The crew of Groupama Sailing Team has until 15 March to carry out sail trials aboard Groupama 70, an earlier generation boat which won’t be racing in the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Damian Foxall is in charge of the sports element: “We have less than 20 days to get in some training on Groupama 70. Over the past month, we’ve had to be opportunistic and snap up every opportunity to go sailing and get best use of the weather conditions which present themselves.”

Franck Cammas has some well defined objectives for the last sail trials on a Volvo 70 prior to the launch of Groupama 4, which is scheduled for early May: “We’re going to make the most of the remaining days to continue to test the sails, the boat’s performance and the trimming configurations. This will also be an opportunity to train up the crew offshore in some tougher conditions.” There are a number of depressions during this season, bringing regular rainy spells and steady winds of over 35 knots to Brittany and its sailors. These are an opportunity for Franck to push the men and their boat to their limits.

Upcoming sports schedule: a mixture of match racing and M34
However, the training isn’t limited to sailing aboard Groupama 70, a 70 foot monohull. To work on the crew’s tactics and cohesion, the chosen sailors are also training on some smaller craft. In this way, La Rochelle and Quiberon have been able to play host to Franck Cammas and three of his crew during some Match Racing events scheduled over recent weekends. Winning every one of his matches, the skipper of the Groupama boats has qualified for the Atlantic basin final in mid March.

Added to that, from 21 to 25 April, it’s aboard an M34 that Franck Cammas and Groupama Sailing Team will compete in the legendary Spi Ouest France in La Trinité-sur-Mer, SW Brittany, still supported by Groupama, partner to the skipper from Aix-en-Provence for the fourteenth year running.

However, not all the crew will attend these training sessions: “As we have several objectives to reach at the same time, explains the skipper of the future Groupama 4, some will sail while others work on the construction of the new boat.”

Groupama Sailing Team training on Groupama 70 off Puerto Calero. Lanzarote, 13 January 2011. Photo copyright Yvan Zedda / Groupama Sailing Team

Groupama 4: a closely followed construction
In build at the Multiplast yard in Vannes, the new boat, owned by Groupama and designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian, is entering the final phase of construction.

“It’s the final sprint. As such we’ve chosen to return to Lorient to train so the sailing team can come together with the boat building team and the research department. The sailors also have to lend a hand in the assembly of the onboard systems so as to be capable, after having built Groupama 4, to repair them if the need arises.” Pierre Tissier, head of construction of the monohull, and around thirty other people, are currently working on the hull and deck structure at the yard in nearby Vannes.

At Lorima in Lorient, the workforce are busying themselves with the drape forming of the mast on Groupama 4, with her launch scheduled for early May.

Suffice to say that, despite the fairly harsh wintry conditions, the men of Groupama Sailing Team haven’t been wasting their time in their bid to take the start of the eleventh edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in the best possible conditions.

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Mastervolt becomes a team supplier to CAMPER with Team New Zealand

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Mastervolt] Mastervolt, the Dutch-based manufacturer of premium electrical systems, is delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with Team New Zealand (with Enertec Marine Systems), one of the strongest sailing teams in the world. Mastervolt has been appointed as Exclusive Team Supplier of batteries for the CAMPER project for the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race.

Since the America’s Cup in 2007, Team New Zealand has been running three exciting projects to keep the team active and diversified. The team campaigned a TP52 in the 2009 and 2010 Audi MedCup Series, winning the season championship in both years.

The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series was created by the team in 2009, a match race event, which proved so popular it was expanded to four events as the Louis Vuitton Trophy. Team New Zealand won the 2009 regatta and three of the four LVT events. Most recently, the team partnered with Camper, a Spanish international footwear brand, to design, build and campaign an entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, which starts in late October.

As part of its investment, Mastervolt will be supplying a range of its technical products for the race team, including Mastervolt Li-Ion 24/160 batteries, MasterShunt 500, MasterView Monitor, a ChargeMaster 24/30 battery charger and Alpha Pro 24V regulator, amongst other alternator controllers and other system components. All these items will be on board the Camper Volvo Ocean Racing Boat.

Team New Zealand Managing Director Grant Dalton said he is pleased to welcome Mastervolt to the team. “The partnership brings together Team New Zealand and Mastervolt, an acknowledged world leader in research, design and production of high quality onboard electrical systems.”

Marketing Manager of Mastervolt, Marc Persoon, commented, “We have been developing high end low weight onboard systems for tough environments that are encountered in the Volvo Ocean Race, and this partnership offers a great opportunity to have Mastervolt on the water with a fabulous team which are at the absolute pinnacle of performance sailing.”

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Entries open for the 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta

Posted on 26 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Entries for the 2011 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta are now open – to enter online or download the Notice of Race visit the event website, which is now live at

Skandia Sail for Gold 2011 takes place between 5th-11th June at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, the host venue for London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing regattas.

Already firmly established as one of the world’s top Olympic Classes events, this year’s Skandia Sail for Gold is set to take on an even greater significance as the world’s best sailors battle for supremacy on the 2012 waters.

All 10 Olympic and three Paralympic classes will compete across seven courses in Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour. This will be the sixth installment of Skandia Sail for Gold and the regatta is taking place earlier than previous years, due to the LOCOG-run Weymouth & Portland International Regatta at the venue in August.

Last year’s Skandia Sail for Gold attracted a record number of entries, with 975 sailors from 57 nations, descending on Weymouth and Portland, officially confirming its place as the biggest regatta of the 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup Series. This year there will be a limited number of entries for the Laser class, with 150 places available in contrast to 180 in 2010. The Women’s Match Racing will also be restricted to 24 entries and the Laser Radial to 120.

Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2011 is also the penultimate event of the 2010-11 ISAF World Cup series, meaning sailors will be looking to consolidate their place in the Series standings before the final showdown takes place in Kiel, Germany, the week after Skandia Sail for Gold.

Skandia remains onboard as title sponsor for the event. The Southampton-based long term investment company is well known for its support of sailing, having been title sponsor since the event’s inception in 2006.

Alongside Skandia, UK Sport continues as an official event partner. Skandia Sail for Gold is part of UK Sport’s World Class Events Programme, which distributes around £3.5 million of Lottery funding each year to support the bidding and staging costs of major events on home soil, as well as providing specialist support to organisers.

All online entries must be received by the 23rd May 2011, other than Women’s Match Racing, for which applications must be received by the 3rd May 2011. Successful applicants for the Match Racing will be informed by 7th May 2011 and online payment must be received no later than 23rd May 2011.

Following its great success last year, Skandia Sail for Gold will again be delivered to a global audience through real-time race tracking, live audio and an interactive event blog.

RYA Event Director Tim Hall commented, “Skandia Sail for Gold has established itself as an integral part of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Series, and we are working hard to build and maintain a world class sailing regatta in the UK which will attract a large and high calibre entry for many years to come.”

Esther Nicholls, Major Events Consultant for UK Sport, added: “UK Sport is committed to bringing world class sporting events to the UK ahead of 2012, and this event is part of what we believe to be the most comprehensive pre-Games events programme ever staged by an Olympic and Paralympic host nation.

“Skandia Sail For Gold 2011 will provide an invaluable opportunity for British athletes to experience international competition on home waters, to prepare them for their home Olympic Games, as well as a chance to build on the event staging capabilities of the sport.”

Friday 3rd June Event Office opens for registration
Sunday 5th June Briefing for coaches and team leaders
Sunday 5th June Opening Ceremony
Monday 6th June Racing day 1
Tuesday 7th June Racing day 2
Wednesday 8th June Racing day 3
Thursday 9th June Racing day 4
Friday 10th June Racing day 5
Saturday 11th June Medal Races (no warning signal after 1530)

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Transfusion is the new Farr40 World Champion

Posted on 26 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Rolex Farr40 World Championship] What a day, what a finish. The nail-biting ended at 4pm, when the Italian yacht Nerone crossed the line three boats behind the Australians on Transfusion. The separation was enough to give Transfusion’s owner Guido Belgiorno-Nettis revenge for last year’s defeat at the hands of the Massimo Mezzaroma and Antonio Sodo Migliori. More importantly it gave him the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship title.

A three-year voyage successfully completed: for Belgiorno-Nettis a dream moment, “It was fantastic, what a challenge. Right down to the wire, we never gave up. Today was a really good day for us. We were lucky, but we worked hard and we got it right.”

Conditions were not always easy, the first race was held in 8 knots of north-easterly, the second in around 12-15 knots. The emphasis was on tactics and remaining calm. Hard-won lines would be hard to hold, passing lanes would be open as both races showed. Nerone won the first race of the day, with Transfusion in second – although that is only half the story. In the second and final race, Jim Richardson’s Barking Mad (USA) crossed the line first, with Transfusion hot on her heels. Nerone could only finish sixth. Not enough to retain her title, Transfusion closing the deal by two points. Barking Mad’s final day results were sufficient to move her up into third, ahead of Helmut & Evan Jahn’s Flash Gordon (USA) and Lisa & Martin Hill’s Estate Master (AUS).

At the prize giving this evening, Belgiorno-Nettis will receive the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship trophy and a Rolex Yacht-Master for his and his crew’s sterling efforts.

So close, yet so far. Nerone blow their chance to be crowned World Champions. Sydney, 26 February 2011. Photo copyright Rolex / Kurt Arigo

Course Notes

Race nine was a true classic. True gun-slinger style, Nerone took the committee boat end of the line, owning it like no one else was on the course or entitled to the spot. She was not fast, but she was certain and certainty often wins. Transfusion was towards the middle. By the windward mark it appeared game over. Nerone rounded first with a significant gap to second-placed Flash Gordon; Transfusion was stuck in traffic midway down the fleet. Her tactician, John Kostecki, did not get to be a winner of an Olympic medal, the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race by chance. Tactical acumen, self-belief and never-say-die take an awful lot of beating.

Whilst Nerone stood on after the windward rounding, Transfusion stuck in a quick gybe. As the downwind leg unwound, Transfusion popped up in fifth place. She was not yet finished. By the second windward she was in second place. Nowhere close enough to challenge Nerone for the lead, but certainly enough to keep the rubber alive into the final race. In previous Rolex Farr 40 Worlds it has usually been Vascotto pulling rabbits from hats. Kostecki had just proved to the mercurial Italian that he not alone in playing a hand of high-stakes poker well.

Into the tenth and final race of the series: two-points separated the main protagonists. Flash Gordon in third, some twenty-two points behind were not even an outside threat in the fight for top honours. Anyone hoping for a gladiatorial match-race would be disappointed. Transfusion had no choice but to sail her best race and hope Nerone would implode or at least match one of her poorer performances of the week. Transfusion needed two boats between them and Nerone.

Off the start life looked good for the Australians. This time it was Nerone all snarled up in the bad air. Sailing in the crowd is not good for boat speed and by the first windward mark Transfusion was in second behind Barking Mad and Nerone in eighth. Could Nerone do a Transfusion and comeback from the dead? Not on the first leeward run. The Italians went backwards, deeper into trouble rounding in twelfth.

The pressure was all on the defending champions. Transfusion had plenty of distance between her and the fleet. All she could do was hope that the boats in between her and Nerone were in enough of a fighting mood to hold off any last-chance challenge.

The fleet in one of the last day's races. Sydney, 26 February 2011. Photo copyright Rolex / Kurt Arigo


This has been an event of the highest calibre. Some of the top names in sailing joined with some of the most competitive, skilled amateur owner/drivers in the sport. The line between professional and Corinthian blurred in terms of spirit, application and ability.

With the likes of James Spithill, John Kostecki, Adrian Stead, Grant Simmer, Tom Slingsby, Hamish Pepper, Tom King and Vasco Vascotto amongst the tacticians it was always going to be fast and fiery. With the defending champions and two former world champions in the fleet, speculation on potential winners was rife from the outset. Nerone arrived as the form boat having won the Rolex Trophy in December and the Australian Championship immediately before the worlds. History is history; only what happened in the Worlds themselves would count.

The Australians had defended home turf last time the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds were held here in 2005. Could they do so again? It looked good at the start as first Estate Master and then Transfusion led the standings. But on the third day the lone Italian crew proved they had not come to make up the numbers, grabbing the overall championship lead.

The twists and turns off fortune kept everyone guessing to the last. The standard of the sailing on the final race raised the pulses of spectators. Goodness knows what it did to the crews on board the two leading yachts.

Five different boats won races during the series. Surprisingly, Nerone won five in total, while Transfusion won only once. But the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds has always been about consistency and minimizing damage. Transfusion never dipped below a seven, with all other results in the top five. The Italians posted a ten as their worst score, and could not keep in the top five for the rest. Still, for both to average under four-points per race is an extraordinary achievement in a fleet of twenty boats. Barking Mad in third could only average six.

The fleet in one of the last day's races. Sydney, 26 February 2011. Photo copyright Rolex / Kurt Arigo

Noted & Quoted

Asked how he pulled off the recovery on the penultimate race, Kostecki laughed and asserted, “we just happened to go the right way” when gybing early on the first downwind run. “That was a really good race for us, coming back from so far away.” Belgiorno-Nettis’ reaction was clearer on the mental effort, “yacht racing is an amazing thing. You never know what’s going to happen. We dug deep and kept going.”

Of his win, Belgiorno-Nettis was understandably thrilled, ”it was such a privilege to be part of this fleet. I would like to thank the organization, the Farr 40 Association, all of the owners, and particularly Nerone who were tremendous competitors and very gracious in defeat.”

Of the second race, Vascotto rued an error just before the gun, “we were in crowded place on the line and thought we had ten seconds to kill. Then we discovered we had only five seconds and we lost control of the start.”

“Then, my goal was to be really close to be Transfusion. At one point we were only one and half boat lengths behind. Unfortunately, at the marks, in that one or two boat lengths were seven or eight boats.”

Always one for humour in defeat, Vascotto’s final remark tells a lot about the spirit in which the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds is raced, “Sydney is a fantastic place. It was fantastic yesterday when we were leading, it is still fantastic after we finish second.”

2011 Rolex Farr 40 World Championship – FINAL RESULTS

Place, Boat Name, Country, Owner-Helm, R1-R2-R3-R4-R5-R6-R7-R8-R9-R10, TOTAL
1) Transfusion, AUS, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, 4-4-2-1-7-4-4-5-2-2, 35
2) Nerone , ITA, Antonio Sodo Migliori & Massimo Mezzaroma, 2-1-10-8-1-1-6-1-1-6, 37
3) Barking Mad, USA, Jim Richardson, 15-10-5-9-2-3-10-2-5-1, 62
4) Flash Gordon, USA, Helmut & Evan Jahn, 11-2-9-2-8-5-11-3-4-9, 64
5) Estate Master, AUS, Lisa & Martin Hill, 1-8-1-5-9-10-12-12-8-4, 70
6) Goombay Smash, USA, William Douglass, 9-6-17-10-11-16-1-63-3, 82
7) Kokomo, AUS, Lang Walker, 19-5-4-7-5-9-3-7-9-14, 82
8) Hooligan, AUS, Marcus Blackmore, 13-3-6-4-16-14-8-4-6-8, 82
9) Struntje Light, GER, Wolfgang & Angela Schaefer, 3-13-3-21-4-13-2-8-11-7, 85
10) Voodoo Chile, AUS, Andrew Hunn & Lloyd Clark, 5-9-8-15-3-2-15-16-12-5, 90

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Paul Cayard reports on Artemis Racing testing the AC45 in Auckland

Posted on 26 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Paul Cayard] It was a fantastic day today on the Hauraki Gulf in the new AC45 prototype catamaran. Blue sky and 15 knots of wind from the Southwest made for a great training day for Artemis Racing.

Following a strange incident on Monday whereby the hard wing sail was damaged, the Artemis team worked alongside the ACRM team and Core Builders to get the new generation America’s Cup yacht back out on the water.

I was particularly pleased the boat was ready today as this gave me an opportunity to sail the boat before heading to the airport for my flight back to San Francisco tonight.

My impressions are that the boat is nothing less than spectacular. I am not a multihull sailor, but I was able to steer the boat around a couple of laps on the Hauraki Gulf under the watchful eye of Santiago Lange, two time Silver medalist and Artemis Racing team member.

The boat seemed very balanced and the typical multihull peril of leeward bow submersion was non existent. We easily skipped along at 20+ knots downwind and about 12 knots upwind. The crew (and helmsman) hike out just like on a Laser.

Hats off to Oracle Racing and Core Builders for taking this boat from concept to sailing in just 4 months!

Artemis will be sailing the prototype for three more days. Then we begin the assembly of our own boat for a mid-March training session down here in Auckland. The first AC45 World Series event will be in July.

It really struck me today that there is a new era of America’s Cup coming and I was very happy to be part of it!


Paul Cayard helms the AC45. Auckland, 26 February 2011. Photo copyright Ivor Wilkins / America's Cup

    Artemis Racing testing the AC45. Auckland, 26 February 2011. Photo copyright Ivor Wilkins / America's Cup

      Artemis Racing testing the AC45. Auckland, 26 February 2011. Photo copyright Ivor Wilkins / America's Cup

        Artemis Racing testing the AC45. Auckland, 26 February 2011. Photo copyright Ivor Wilkins / America's Cup

          Artemis Racing testing the AC45. Auckland, 26 February 2011. Photo copyright Ivor Wilkins / America's Cup

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          San Diego gets ready for the RC44 class

          Posted on 25 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

          [Source: RC44 Class Association] Eleven teams will go head-to-head for the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego between 2 -6 March, as for the first time in its five-year history the RC44 Tour visits America’s West Coast.

          San Diego is etched in yachting folklore having hosted the America’s Cup on three successive occasions from 1988 to 1995 and being home to some of the sport’s most iconic figures such as Dennis Conner, Lowell North and Malin Burnham.

          With the event line-up reading like a who’s who of modern day sailing greats, the city again gets the chance to shine as a venue that attracts the best of the world’s top talent. This include’s American yachting legend Paul Cayard, four-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts and, joining the class for the first time in 2011, America’s 2004 Olympic 470 Class champion Kevin Burnham.

          Olympic gold and silver medallist and multiple America’s Cup campaigner Rod Davis, who is coaching the crew of Igor Lah’s Ceeref, grew up sailing on San Diego waters. He is looking forward to seeing the RC44s doing battle in the Bay he knows so well.

          “Some of my best memories are of my younger sailing days at the Coronado and San Diego yacht clubs with people like Chuck Hope, Jerry LaDow and Lowell North,” Rod reveals. “San Diego has a long history of yachting; it’s the culture that you compete at a high level when you sail here, it’s expected of you, which raises the level of everyone.

          “You almost always get breeze in San Diego, and 80 per cent of the time it’s between 8-12 knots, which will suit the RC44 really well. The crew has a lot on to get the best out of the boat but all the crews are very good so you have to be at your best if you’re going to be competitive and your very, very best to win.”

          The defining spirit of the RC44 Championship Tour is amateur owners racing alongside the biggest names in professional sailing on thoroughbred one-design racing machines. No-one gives an inch, with skippers pushing the boats and their crews to the boundaries of their extensive capabilities.

          Over the five days in San Diego, the owners will be at the wheel for four days of fleet racing while the pro sailors get their chance to shine at the helm on one day of match racing. Three to four fleet races are scheduled per day with no discard, every race placing really counts.

          Long Beach native Bob Little, an experienced one-design and offshore sailor, will helm Katusha for the fleet racing alongside Paul Cayard, who will steer in the match racing. He added: “I know San Diego will host a fantastic event. I expect a great result from Katusha as we’ve learned a lot sailing together in previous events and hope to build on that. I’m fortunate to be on a team with such great sailors.”

          Racing will take place directly in front of the new, spectator friendly Port Pavilion at the Broadway Pier, giving the audience a perfect view of the action in a natural amphitheatre.

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          One wing for all conditions

          Posted on 25 February 2011 by Valencia Sailing

          Related PDF documents

          – AC72 Class Rule Version 1.1

            [Source: America’s Cup] America’s Cup competitors this week amended the AC 72 class rule, the design rule that will govern the development of the Cup class wing-sailed catamarans for the 34th America’s Cup and the America’s Cup World Series events in 2012.

            The rule had been introduced in October and was modified this week following recommendations from the Measurement Committee and reflected the unanimous support of the Competitor Forum that represents all entered teams.

            The single most notable change is the reduction of the number of wing masts required, simplifying design and logistics as well as saving time and costs. Initially the rule called for both a small and large wing.

            “We have already learned a lot about the performance of the next generation of America’s Cup boats from the initial sea trials of the AC 45 in New Zealand,” said Iain Murray, Regatta Director and ACRM CEO.

            “With teams already working on their ultimate America’s Cup designs of the AC 72, all agreed that one wing size of up to 40-meters (131-feet) could be raced across the wind range. This also allows for more efficient logistics with only wing size rather than two different size rigs. This is a good example of the teams working together to improve efficiencies and reduce costs for all competitors.”

            The number of rigs per team was reduced from eight wing-spar sections to six. The resulting efficiency will result in significant cost savings.

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