Sunday, September 21, 2008

Locked and loaded BMW Oracle

Photo copyright Neil Rabinowitz / BMW ORACLE Racing
BOR 90 is on a barge bound for San Diego.

The BMW ORACLE Racing team today craned the BOR 90 trimaran onto a 340-foot by 94-foot-wide barge for towing down the Pacific Coast from Anacortes, WA, to San Diego, CA. The 1,200-mile voyage is expected to take about a week. The team is preparing for an extended testing session in San Diego to start next month.

The loading of the barge started at dawn at Pier 2 in Anacortes. By noon, the barge was enroute to San Diego. BMW ORACLE Racing’s Anacortes logistics manager Scott Sandford oversaw the shoreside operation. A 240-ton crane lifted the boat from the shore and onto the barge safely this morning. The 148-foot mast was stowed alongside the trimaran platform.

“The sheer size of this boat makes it a complicated transportation challenge,” Sandford said. “The first step was sourcing a barge large enough to carry the 90-foot X 90-foot multihull. We then had to ensure the boat would be secure on the barge for this open ocean journey.”

The team finished the first phase of the trimaran’s sea trials in Anacortes on September 12. The team now has its sights set on San Diego. The warmer climate of Southern California will allow the team the opportunity to test the boat through the end of November.

“Open ocean sailing in San Diego will give us the runway we need to continue working the boat up,” said team helmsman James Spithill said. “We still have plenty to learn.”

BMW ORACLE Racing is preparing a temporary base in San Diego. The boat is expected to arrive on the barge there some time next weekend. The boat wil be ready for sailing in October.