13 Things to Know About America’s Cup Yacht USA 76

Think you know everything about International America’s Cup Competitor (IACC) USA 76? Think again! Here are 11 facts that you might not have known about our favorite IACC yacht on San Francisco Bay!

Photo credit: Pat Lopez

1. There are five retired America’s Cup yachts available for charter in the world – USA 76 is one of them. You can find “Stars & Stripes 87” in the Caribbean and “Stars & Stripes (S1)” in Key Largo. You can also find replicas of the schooner that started it all, “America” in Key West, New York, and San Diego. While unavailable for charter, J-class competitor “Shamrock V” is currently for sale for a mere $6M.2.

2. USA 76 weighs approximately 50,000 lbs. Everything from the waterline up weighs about 10,000 lbs and made of carbon-fiber, titanium, and stainless steel. Made of carbon fiber and lead, everything below the waterline weighs 40,000 lbs.

3. “76” is not indicative of the yacht’s length. It’s her hull number. There were 101 IACC yachts made from 1990 to 2007, and USA 76 was the 76th hull.

4. Speaking of length, USA 76’s length overall is 84 ft. Her draft is 14 ft. and her beam is 12 ft. Her mast is 115 ft. tall. She’s very narrow for a yacht of her length and height.

5. The current sail area of USA 76 is roughly 2,800 sq. ft. Due to our 2008 refit, we reduce the sail area of each mainsail integrated into our wardrobe every year by removing the roach.

6. Initially, she had 3,500 sq. ft. of sail for upwind racing (mainsail and jib) and 8,000 sq. ft. of sail area for downwind racing (main, jib and spinnaker).

7. Each mainsail that USA 76 raced with cost $100,000. Originally the yacht raced with 35 mainsails in her wardrobe – that doesn’t include her many jibs and spinnakers.

8. Built-in 2002, USA 76 cost $5 million, not including the cost of her sail wardrobe.

9. The optimal heel angel for USA 76 is 27º. When the yacht is heeled properly, a slanted “stair” at the helm becomes level. This angle optimizes the waterline.

10. USA 76 can sail 25º off the true wind and 19º off the apparent wind. Few yachts worldwide can sail this close to the true wind angle.

11. Her maximum speed going close-hauled is 11+ knots. Going downwind, she reached approximately 22 knots.

12. USA 76 was built for speed. There are no right angles on the body of the yacht to promote airflow. The bow has concave sides and a curved top deck to ensure the surface doesn’t inhibit airflow.

13. Originally, USA 76 sailed with 17 individual crew members and an “18th man”. Each crew member had a specific job – grinder, tactician, spotter, bowman, helmsman, etc. – and they were an expert in their role. The “18th man” was a guest role and usually filled by a celebrity or primary sponsor.