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.

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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: https://youtu.be/SXrRQ31zErI).  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.

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Reopening of the Ship Models

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Photographed by Brock Switzer

Our large ship models, previously displayed in our Great Hall, have always been popular.  Back in January we had to close access to them in the process of changing out two major galleries.  They were moved to a different space and I’m happy to report that the gallery is open and the models back on view!  We’ve also added a few models to show a broader range of what we hold in the collection.  This includes two steamboats, a fire boat, battleship, and sailing vessel.  And we’ve also got Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup opening May 27 in the space where the models used to live.  So come on in and check it out!

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