Newport News, VA – The Mariners’ Museum has received a donation of key components from the 2013 America’s Cup-winning Oracle Team USA catamaran. The donation included one of the revolutionary “J”-foil daggerboards, which lifted the 72-foot catamaran from the water at high speeds.
The gift is the culmination of a conversation that began in February between Mariners’ Museum Chief Curator Lyles Forbes and Oracle Team USA. Forbes initially set his sights on one of the smaller AC45 catamarans used in the America’s Cup World Series.
Oracle Team responded that it couldn’t accommodate Forbes’ request – because the AC45 was still an active class. But Oracle surprised him by offering a much bigger prize – pieces from the Cup-winning AC72.
“I was hugely ecstatic,” said Forbes, a longtime fan of competitive sailing who attended the 2013 America’s Cup regatta in San Francisco. “I didn’t even consider that in the realm of possibility.”
Oracle Team USA’s successful defense of the America’s Cup last year is considered one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. The team came from an 8-1 deficit to beat Emirates Team New Zealand.
The boat’s “J”-shaped foiling daggerboards work like airplane wings, lifting the massive catamaran from the water as it reaches high speeds. The winning 72-foot catamaran sailed at more than 50 miles per hour during the 2013 America’s Cup regatta. . The 35th defense of the Cup will be in 2017.
“The J-foils made the difference,” Forbes said. “They literally raised America’s Cup to a whole new level.”
In addition to donating one of the large “J” foils, Oracle Team USA also provided a replacement bow section, and a “T” foil rudder from the smaller AC45 class as well as some crew gear.
A new display is being planned for the International Small Craft Center, alongside one of the earliest sailing hydrofoils – Monitor, which was a project between the U.S. Navy and Baker Manufacturing in the late 1950s.