Since May 11th we have spent a lot of time working on the stabilization of the Baker Mfg. hydrofoil’s rigid wing sail. We had to remove all of the adhesive that held the original canvas covering in place and make a few minor repairs to the structure.
Yesterday Paul Porter from Packaging Systems and Solutions, Inc. came and helped us apply the Clysar covering on the wing.Read more
The platform of USA 17 arrived on January 30th and by February 20th we had the boat assembled and the hardware in place. Chris, our exhibit production manager, had designed, and Hampton Sheet Metal had constructed the four platforms that would support the boat in the gallery. But we had one little problem—well, it wasn’t little, it was about a 6 ton problem—the platform was in the wrong position for the exhibition.
Knowing we would need to move the pieces of the platform around after they were in the gallery we purchased four 3,600lb Yardarm dollies (these are V-shaped adjustable dollies for boats). We worked with Hampton Roads Crane and Rigging to seat the hulls on the dollies as we put the hulls in the gallery (we located them under or near bulkheads to make sure they provided good support and wouldn’t damage the boat). It made moving the hulls around a breeze during the assembly process, but we weren’t sure how easy it would be to move the entire platform. So I did what I always do when I need to move a big boat—I put out an all call to the Museum staff.Read more
On the Saturday after we seated the stern crossbeam my husband Todd worked with me to install the remaining hardware between the forward crossbeam and central pod and the hardware that connected to central pod to the stern crossbeam. This was a fairly interesting process as I had to crawl through the stern crossbeam, which wasn’t much wider than my shoulders, to get to the connection point where the hardware needed to be installed.
We had help again from the Oracle guy who couldn’t remember what hardware went where in the form of a few letters and numbers painted on the outside of the central pod near each bolt hole. In most instances these matched up with titanium bushings (and sometimes even bolts) with engraved letters or numbers—but not always. We had to spend a lot of time putting hardware in and out of each hole until we found the right combination of bolt, bushing and washers. Sometimes we even had to re-position carbon fiber plates that had come loose from the interior or exterior of the connection points.Read more
I’ve been waylaid by the cleaning and repair of the Baker hydrofoil rigid wing sail but I think it’s time to relate how we mounted the stern crossbeam. You might remember that when the Oracle team assembled the AC72 platform they connected the three central structures and then lowered them as a unit onto the hull and that we couldn’t do this because of a ceiling height and possible weight restriction. Because of the shape of the crossbeam and where it needed to go—seated on the hulls and tucked inside the end of the central pod—we knew we needed more clearance over the hulls than we had available.
Since we had to pick up the stern crossbeam and move it about ten feet to get it into position we used our gantries. This meant having to disassemble them afterwards but using chain falls severely hampered our maneuverability. We lifted the crossbeam and moved it as close as possible to its final seated position. At that point I crawled into the hulls and loosened the bolts at each end of the forward crossbeam. This allowed us to lift the aft end of the central pod about a foot or two and the forward crossbeam about six inches (we didn’t want to raise it too far because we didn’t want the hulls shift position and misalign the connection points). Then, with five people working together (two operating chain falls on the forward crossbeam, one on the chain fall at the aft end of the central pod and two on the gantry chain falls) we slowly tucked the crossbeam into the back of the central pod and gently lowered all three pieces onto the hulls.Read more
The next step in our assembly plan for the AC72 was the mounting of the central pod. The central pod is the structure that connects the forward and aft crossbeams. The design of the central pod effectively extended the boat’s wingspan and reduced drag. Tom Speer, an aerodynamics specialist with OTUSA, believes it was this particular structure that made USA 17 faster than New Zealand’s Aotearoa. This is also the only place in the platform where we can see some of the systems used to operate the boat—namely an electrical panel and the one spot where a lot of the cabling remains in place.
Mounting the central pod proved to be quite a challenge for the Mariners’ team because it had to remain perfectly aligned with the forward crossbeam in order seat correctly. Since we were hanging the pod from a gantry lift and a chain fall attached to the ceiling we were able to make minute changes in leveling and cant to port or starboard (the same way we had to manipulate the hulls in order to match up the connection points). Despite this we could not get the pod to seat all the way into the crossbeam. We could get it within 5” of the seating point and it would stop dead. No amount of pushing or pulling would make it move.Read more