History of the USA 76
Beam (width): 12 feet
Draft (depth): 14 feet
Boat weight: 10,000 lbs
Bulb weight: 40,000 lbs
Mast height: 115 feet
Upwind sail area: 3700 sq. feet
Downwind sail area: 6500 sq. feet
USA 76 was built by Core Builders, the boat building arm of ORACLE Racing, in Ventura, California. Construction began on her sister-ship, USA 71, in late 2001, followed closely behind by the layup of USA 76.
Boat numbers were issued in sequential order, although it was possible for a team to work with the measurer if a certain number was preferred. Being a US team owned by Larry Ellison, the year 1776 holds a personal and patriotic connection. Sayonara, Ellison’s maxi, and more recently the 33rd AC winning Trimaran “USA”, bore the number 17. It was therefore arranged that 76 was the number affixed to the ORACLE race boat for the 2003 America’s Cup.
Team New Zealand, having won and successfully defended the America’s Cup in 2000, again hosted the event in Auckland beginning in October 2002. USA 76 was shipped to Auckland mid-2002 and went through an extensive work-up to prepare for the racing.
USA 76 proved to be a fast boat with a skilled crew and afterguard. ORACLE would go through to the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series final and come up against the formidable Team Alinghi from Switzerland. While the best of 9 series was fiercely fought, the Swiss boat, too fast for the American challenger, won the series 5-1.
SUI 64 went on to beat Team New Zealand in a clean sweep 5-0, thus returning the America’s Cup to Europe for the first time in 152 years.
In September 2003, ORACLE arranged for a “rematch” to be held against Alinghi in San Francisco. With both pro and owner driver series’ scheduled, it was an opportunity to showcase America’s Cup sailing on the Bay, and allow the Golden Gate Yacht Club representatives a chance to regain some pride after their defeat in Auckland. Again the competition was tough, especially in the windy confines of San Francisco’s city front. However ORACLE and USA 76, with a little more time to prepare and local honor at stake, won both events.
USA 76 was then shipped to Valencia, Spain and underwent a substantial remodel. She was entered in the first qualifying ACT for the 2007 America’s Cup, in Marseille, France in September 2004. In extreme conditions, she out sailed Alinghi and the rest of the field to win with a day to spare.
USA 76 was used as a tune-up and testing boat through to the end of summer 2005, before being retired.