AMERICA’S CUP ON DISPLAY
Anew addition to the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, is causing many from the sailing community to look up. Why? Because suspended from the ceiling of its cavernous structure is the actual America’s Cup-winning boat that dashed to victory in a dramatic finish in San Francisco in 2013 after an epic fight to win the oldest trophy in international sport.
Visitors can take in this piece of nautical history up close and personal through an impressive, well-thought-out and immersive experience of the AC72’S technology. A museum spokesperson noted that the donated victorious catamaran, with its huge length and 46-foot beam, is also the largest and most technologically advanced boat in the museum’s collection, and is expected to attract thousands of visitors.
The exhibit, called Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup, is now entering its second season, said Lyle Forbes, vice president of collections and chief curator. “Visitors and staff are realizing what a groundbreaking experience it is. Most people’s first reaction when they walk into the gallery is awe. They are amazed at the size of the catamaran,” he said. “Then they always ask, ‘How did you get it in the building?’”
The exhibition focuses not only on Oracle Team USA’S comeback story, but also the amazing science and technology behind 72-foot-long catamarans that fly above the water at speeds of more than 40 knots, Forbes said. “Our staff has really enjoyed being out in the gallery, talking with visitors about everything from how the boats lift out of the water to the materials used in construction, as well as, again, how we got the boat into the gallery and assembled it. There are so many great stories.”
He further explained, “Following the 2017 America’s Cup held in Bermuda, Oracle Team USA donated another smaller 45-foot foiling catamaran to the museum. We are currently working on a couple of new displays that we will be installing soon in the gallery, including a section of the massive wingsail and skipper Jimmy Spithill’s sailing outfit. Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup engages audiences not only with the America’s Cup regatta, but also with technology and science. It is a whole new direction for us.”
A two-minute film of USA-17 arriving at the Mariners’ Museum can be viewed at cruisingworld.com/1812ac72. For more information, visit marinersmuseum.org.