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.
My talkative husband ends up face-to-face with Grant Simmer, General Manager of Oracle Racing, and proceeds to flood him with questions–one of which is “where is the 2013 boat?”. Interestingly, Grant says something like “it’s in San Francisco and we’re actually looking for a home for it.” And Todd replies “I know just the place!” Within a few days of that conversation we received word that Oracle would donate the boat to the Museum. Needless to say there was a lot of screaming and high-fiving going on in the collections department.
Next up…how we got the boat (Oracle calls it a platform) to the Museum and into the America’s Cup Hall (formerly known as the Great Hall!).