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Transporting OTUSA 17 to the Museum 

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.

Hulls of OTUSA 17 in warehouse in Oakland, CA

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.

While the smaller parts of the platform could be carried in covered trailers the hulls could not so Chris recommended wrapping the hulls to protect them. While carbon fiber is strong it obviously won’t hold up against rocks and other debris that would inevitably be kicked up by the truck and other vehicles. Following his suggestion I contacted Transpak, Inc., in San Jose, California. Our project was assigned to senior account executive Randy Rodriguez. Randy and I discussed the needs of the project and rather than wrapping the hulls in bubble wrap, which I didn’t think would hold up for a cross country trip, I requested the hulls be pad wrapped before being sealed with a tough exterior shrink wrap. This worked great and the hulls arrived without a single scratch. The only hitch in the packing and loading process was that it occurred during a torrential downpour so when the hulls arrived not only were the blankets soaking wet and half frozen but the hulls also contained several inches of water (so did the central pod).

Great hull packing job by Transpak, Inc.

R & A Trucking hired TP Trucking and Leavitt’s Freight Service to complete the haul. I can’t praise the guys at TP Trucking high enough, they were consummate professionals and all around nice guys. I really enjoyed working with them. It took a little less than a week to get the shipment across the country. The two trucks with the smaller parts arrived on January 28th (which gave me the opportunity to have a nice dinner out with drivers Jerry Taylor and Alan Truesdale!). The transport of the hulls was a little more problematic from a logistical point of view so that truck didn’t arrive until sometime around 3:00PM on January 30th. Luckily, I had hired the fantastic crew at Hampton Roads Crane and Rigging to unload the trucks and they agreed to hang around until the entire process was completed (yet another company I can’t praise highly enough). HRCR also provided an impromptu escort service from interstate 64 to the Museum when the truck driver from Leavitt’s failed to do it himself.

Arrival of smaller sized AC72 platform parts with TP Trucking on January 28thAll in all, the process went very, very smoothly—although I will say I probably ended up with a little more gray hair when all was said and done.

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