Tallest in Niagara Falls

It was a bit silly. I believe we were all thinking that. But how can you not show up when a press event is announced for the arrival of the boat that won the America’s Cup for San Francisco Bay?

Rallying up for some words from the Port’s deputy director, Peter Dailey. Photo KL

The place was Pier 80, Port of San Francisco. On the final day of February.

There was enough breeze to pretty much rule out the unloading of the volatile wing, which wants to start sailing at the slightest breath of breeze. And I didn’t hang around on the off chance that perhaps the hulls would be offloaded. I saw the thing sail in Valencia, and I guess I’d best be very glad for that, because there is no guarantee that it will ever sail again.

Which is not without precedent.

In 1903, the 144-foot, innovative and radical Reliance was built for one purpose, to defend the America’s Cup, and one month after a successful defense, Reliance went to the wrecking yard.

As a worst-case, I figure USA 17 has a future as an exhibit on the San Francisco waterfront. John Kostecki, navigator of USA 17 in its 2-0 win over Alinghi in February, 2010 said today, “There was a time when Larry Ellison was keen to sail the boat again, and maybe there will be a time in the future. But that would take a lot of resource. Right now we need to keep our people focused on the job at hand, learning to sail the AC45 one-designs, and planning for the AC72s.”

John Kostecki. Heh. I remember when he was just your average teenage Sunfish world champion. Photo KL

Oracle Racing handed out “Facts and Figures of a Game-Changer,” and most of this stuff we’ve been over before, but what the heck. Their figure of 20 hours of work per one hour of sailing goes a long way toward explaining why USA 17 is going to a shed. Or rather, why a shed will be built around it at Pier 80, the Oracle Racing team base for the next two years.

We are reminded that the wing as-raced stands 20 stories tall.
A hasty googling produced the 20-story United Office Building, reportedly the tallest building in Niagara Falls, New York. We are reminded that 26,000 pounds of aerospace carbon fiber was used in the construction (I seem to recall that it was the largest order ever filed for the stuff), that this is the largest wing ever built, period, and instead of the familiar reminder that it would not fit under the Golden Gate Bridge we are advised that it is too tall for eight of the world’s ten tallest bridges.

And with Jimmy Spithill on the wheel, she can pounce.

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