Mounting the Foils of OTUSA 17

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Because of ceiling height limitations in the America’s Cup gallery we knew the first step in the assembly process of the AC72 needed to be the mounting of the J-shaped daggerboards (foils). We couldn’t lift the hulls high enough nor stand the foils up (each weighs about 800 lbs) and unfortunately, both of the daggerboard compartments had been completely emptied of the cages and systems that held the daggerboards in place so we decided to take a slightly different approach.

Using our 2- and 3-ton gantry lifts and a system of ratchet straps we would raise each hull and roll them over on their sides approximately 45 or 50 degrees which would give us the ability to fish each foil through the bottom of the daggerboard compartment.  We started with the port foil and quickly discovered that it was going to be difficult to control the movement of the foil as we fed it through the hull. The foil would cant and rake however and whenever it pleased which meant we had to continually fight against its desire to slip back out of the hull. We solved the problem initially with a few ratchet straps attached to strategic points on the foil but knew we needed to come up with a better way of mounting the second foil.   Read more

Yeah! We got the AC72 in the building! Now what?

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Lyles is tickled by the feather-light wheels

The day we loaded the hulls into the Great Hall I noticed water leaking from the packing materials so I decided to immediately unwrap the hulls to get the wet blankets and plastic out of the Museum. If you look at the video below, you can see the dirty black water seeping out of the packing materials and the moisture covering the surface of the port hull.

As we unpacked, we discovered large plastic bins of hardware and other boat parts (wheels, bowsprit, bobstay, dolphin striker, and lots of other things) packed inside the hulls. There was also quite a bit of standing water in the lower decks and other “debris” in the hulls (apparently a cat was living in the cat!) so I knew I had a major cleaning job ahead of me.   Read more

Getting the AC72 inside the Museum building

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Our blank slate! The Great Hall empty.

In my April 21st post I discussed the gallery moves that had to take place before we could install the AC72 in the Great Hall. The final stage of the process involved removing several large carvings that were mounted near the ceiling and the steeple-type engine from the tug William Stewartwhich had to be turned on its side to get it out of the building.  These moves happened on January 23rd  giving us a nice blank slate to work with!

On the morning of January 30th the crew from Hampton Roads Crane and Rigging arrived and began the process of unloading the two trucks that had arrived on the 28th.  Besides craning the objects off the trucks they also oversaw the process of getting everything into the building.  If you’ve watched the videos you’ll notice we are all bundled up like Eskimos—it was bitterly cold all day and we had to deal with snow flurries most of the morning.   Read more

Transporting OTUSA 17 to the Museum 

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Hulls of OTUSA 17 in warehouse in Oakland, CA

The disassembled platform of the AC72 OTUSA 17 was sitting in a warehouse in Oakland, California. Knowing that it would require some serious logistics to get the boat across the country and that winter weather might pose an issue we began planning the transport in November. Luckily, Oracle had moved the boat several times and was able to recommend packing and shipping companies with experience in handling and moving the vessel.

In 2014, we worked with one of Oracle Racing’s 2013 shore team members, Chris Sitzenstock, to transport the daggerboard and other donated items to the Museum. Although Chris no longer worked for Oracle he was able to provide some much needed advice regarding the transport, assembly and lift of OTUSA 17. While I have some experience moving large vessels around, this transport obviously called for a whole new level of planning and organization. Following Chris’s advice we hired R & A Trucking Company in Oakland to organize the shipment, which would require extensive permitting to get the oversized hulls across the country (the hulls alone are 72 feet–including the truck the overall shipping length was probably approaching 85 to 90 feet!). The project was tackled by Eric Weakley and Ben Soleimanieh, R & A’s Operations Manager.   Read more

Donation of the AC72 OTUSA 17 to the Museum

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J-foil daggerboard, T-foil rudder, bow replacement piece & Slingsby’s jersey on display

I’m being asked all sorts of questions about how the Mariners’ Museum received the donation of the AC72 hydrofoiling catamaran OTUSA 17 so I thought I’d give a little history on how this amazing vessel came to the Museum. I’ll follow that up with posts about how we got the boat into the building, and how we assembled and lifted it in preparation for the upcoming exhibition Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup.
First of all, and you probably already know this if you watched the promotional video we produced, there are a number of rabid America’s Cup/Oracle Team USA fans at TMMP (if you haven’t seen the video, its available here:  We frantically watched the 2013 Cup races and afterwards started bugging Oracle Racing about donating an object or two to the Museum’s collection. Oracle Racing came through and in 2014 we received a daggerboard (which may be a modified daggerboard from the 90-foot trimaran OTUSA 17, the boat that won the 2010 America’s Cup), a T-foil from an AC45, a replacement bow section, clothing and other items.

Once Speed and Innovation appeared on our exhibition schedule Vice President of Collections and Programs, Lyles Forbes, started contacting Oracle about the possibility of receiving one of their 45′ test boats for the collection. For months and months he contacted everyone he could think of but all he heard was silence (obviously…they were still USING them!). Luckily, fate stepped in from an unlikely source–my husband Todd. Todd is in the USCG Auxiliary and every year he sails aboard the USCGC Eagle. Last year, Eagle docked in Bermuda and as sailors are wont to do when they hit port, they found other sailors (Oracle) and got together to drink.   Read more