Mounting the forward crossbeam of OTUSA 17 

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We tortured our administration staff by making them crawl under the port hull if they wanted to leave.

When Chris and I came up with our assembly plan we were working without any sort of advice from Oracle so we decided to mount the forward crossbeam first. We would later learn from Chris Sitzenstock that the Oracle team typically assembled the three central structures first and then lowered them onto the hulls as a unit.  Obviously we managed to get everything together without this knowledge, but knowing Oracle’s process helped ease the installation of the stern crossbeam.

To give ourselves room to work we shifted the hulls, central pod and stern crossbeam to one end of the gallery and pushed the hulls as close to the walls as possible—which made getting in and out of the Administration offices interesting to say the least.   Read more

Installing the bowsprit

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Lifting the bowsprit with the Skyjack

Friday was a fantastic day at the Mariners’ Museum! We spent most of the day in the America’s Cup gallery installing the bowsprit onto OTUSA 17.

All of the pre-planning for the installation made the process go very smoothly and we didn’t run into any unforeseen problems—well, except for the one I suspected might occur after we did a test fit of the bowsprit last Tuesday. As it turned out, all of the time (not to mention the bloodshed), I spent creating a cap for the end of the bowsprit proved fruitless. When we installed the bobstay it pushed forward through the front of the sprit thereby completely eliminating the need for a cap.   Read more

Setting the daggerboards

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Bolt through daggerboard. Aircraft cables run to each side of the bolt effectively hanging the board from the top of the well.

Yesterday we spent most of the day getting the daggerboards into position for the Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup exhibition. We managed to lift the port foil about three feet using the combination of an engine hoist and a ratchet strap attached to the ceiling (unfortunately the ceiling is preventing us from raising the foil higher). To keep the daggerboard in position Chris devised a way to hang the foil from a hole in the board. With the hole positioned a few inches above the sliding plate at the bottom of the daggerboard well we ran a large bolt through the foil and attached loops of aircraft cable. Those loops are hanging from two two-inch square sections of metal channel that lay across the top of the daggerboard well.

We tried to introduce a little cant to the foil but this caused the daggerboard to press against spots within the well that originally held the systems that moved the board. We weren’t willing to accept that damage that these pressure points were causing so we decided to center the daggerboard in the well. For those of you whose reaction is “awwww… we want to see it canted!” you have to remember the boat is in a Museum now and it’s our job to make sure it lasts forever which means the white glove treatment from now on–we won’t change anything or do anything that might hurt it or cause damage. Centering the board was accomplished by running a ratchet strap through the holes where the hydraulic rams that controlled the cant of the board used to be (which, of course, meant that I had to crawl through the forward crossbeam on my stomach to reach the connection point between the crossbeam and the hull). The addition of the strap helped pull the top of the daggerboard toward the forward crossbeam which centered it in the well and eliminated the pressure points on the board.   Read more

Dull or glossy?

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Wet surface on the left. You can see the dry surface on the right has very distinct horizontal abrasion marks.

Today I’m sporting four stitches in my right index finger and a very sore left arm thanks to a Tetanus shot, all courtesy of the bowsprit hanging project. We still hope to hang the bowsprit on Friday, but I am obviously working at a disadvantage.   Speaking of working at a disadvantage (at least with regard to knowing and understanding all of the technological aspects of Oracle’s boatbuilding program) I think its conspiracy theory time!

I’ve already discussed that OTUSA 17 was really dirty when it arrived and cleaning the platform was the first thing I tackled.  As I cleaned I was repeatedly asked whether we were going to leave the hulls with their current dull-looking surface or whether we were going to try and bring back the glossy finish.  At first there was a distinct difference in opinions; visitors viewing the boat wanted to see it nice and glossy while Lyles, and I think the Oracle people we were working with, felt that the boat should reflect its history of use—bumps and bruises included.   Read more

Donation to Roanoke Island Maritime Museum

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Today, Mariners’ formally transferred the ownership of the Albemarle Sound shad boat Ella View to Roanoke Island Maritime Museum. Ella View was built by George Washington Creef, the original designer of the boat type, on Roanoke Island in 1883.

The vessel was owned and used by the family of Josephus Berry from the date of its construction until 1964 when it was acquired for the small craft collection at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. In 1972 Mystic began to consider transferring the vessel to an institution more closely associated with Ella View’s region of use. Originally they considered the newly formed Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum as a possible home, but in 1974 a trade was organized with Mariners’—Ella View for a New Haven oyster sharpie.   Read more