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Installing the bowsprit

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.

Thanks go to Max Plarr, CNU’s Head Sailing Coach, who came over and helped us with today’s installation.

Lifting the bowsprit with the Skyjack
Max, Mike and I installing the new mounting plate

Since the bowsprit isn’t terribly heavy we used our Skyjack and a Genie lift to raise it off the floor. It was interesting because the bowsprit had to be raised perpendicular to the hulls and then spun (while balancing on the lift) into the proper orientation (i.e. parallel to the hulls). We then used ratchet straps to hang it from the gallery ceiling which enabled us to level it, and raise and lower it while we installed the mounting plate (the wooden one Todd created last weekend). Once Max and I had the mounting plate attached to the hull, Lyles and Fred (one of our facilities crew) were able to rig a harness of 1/8th-inch stainless steel cable from the ceiling and through the bowsprit (we re-purposed two titanium sleeves that provided access all the way through the bowsprit—I don’t know what they originally were used for but they worked great for our purposes!). We lined the titanium fitting with a half of a teardrop thimble so that the cable wasn’t pressing against a sharp 90-degree turn.

Lyles and Fred installing the ceiling harness

Once this was done it was a simple process to install a set of “stays” using the original connection points. If I don’t say so myself, the platform looks fantastic with the addition of the bowsprit.

Max and Mike installing the new stays
Installed bowsprit

When leaving this afternoon Lyles, Howard and I met up in the middle of America’s Cup hall under the central pod (which is one of the best viewing locations within the gallery–because it’s where you realize how BIG and how amazing this boat is) which automatically led us to discuss the progress we have made over the last year. I may have “drunk the koolaid” (as Priscilla says) but I simply can’t describe the euphoria we feel at having this amazing vessel in our collection. With luck, this will be the start of long and amazing partnership with Oracle Racing, Inc. There is nothing we would like better than to be the Center for Multi-hull history AND the official museum of Oracle Racing and the modern America’s Cup story.

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