Pieces of the broken Oracle Team USA's AC72 racing yacht have been washing up on the beaches of West Marin and were the subject of a cleanup effort this week.
The $8 million craft capsized on Oct. 16 near the Golden Gate during training; its wing sail was broken into numerous pieces.
The Oracle team immediately began retrieving the pieces of the broken boat and sent a helicopter to locate parts of the wing. The collection process is ongoing around San Francisco Bay and along the beaches.
About 90 percent if the debris has been found, including 12 pieces that washed ashore at Limantour Beach that were located Wednesday.
"The biggest piece that was found was about three feet long," said Chris Pincetich, director with the Forest Knolls-based Turtle Island Restoration Network, who assisted with the cleanup at Limantour. "It was all black carbon fiber."
Pincetich said the Oracle team wants the pieces to help rebuild the boat.
John Dell'Osso, chief of interpretation with the Point Reyes National Seashore, said it's critical to get the debris off the beach.
"It's always important to get material off the beach that isn't meant to be there," Dell'Osso said. "It can have environmental impacts."
About 50 people arrived at the beach including members of Oracle Team USA, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Conservation Corps of the North Bay and the America's Cup Healthy Ocean Project.
In addition to picking up pieces of the yacht, they collected more than 350 pounds of boat debris from the wrecked fishing boat Barbara Faye, which came ashore in May.
The team spent four hours using rakes, shovels and gloved hands to unearth plastic bottle tops and fishing line, rusting bolts and wrenches, a diesel fuel filter, treated wood with nails sticking out and bits of polystyrene, Pincetich said.
"Winter storms would have swept all this plastic and fiberglass out into the critical habitat feeding area of California's Pacific leatherback sea turtles, so by removing it now, we are helping protect this critically endangered population of marine reptiles," he said. "It affects other sea life as well."
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