Cruising World - - Under Way - —Joan Wen­ner

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 cruis­ing­ For more in­for­ma­tion, visit marinersmu­

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