Thursday, October 9, 2008

Behind closed doors - BMW Oracle's Compound

Brian Camet and Franck Cammas next to BMW ORACLE'S Trimaran

(San Diego, CA.) - Today I had the priviledge of getting a behind the scenes tour of the BMW Oracle compound by Tom Ehman, spokesman for BMW Oracle.

11:00am - 30 minutes until BOR trimaran leaves dock.

I arrive to meet security at the gate. As I get escorted into the compound there is a flurry of activity going on. The design team crunches numbers behind thier laptops while the crew members load sails. Things are gearing up of another day out on the water. I sat with Tom and we discussed the future of the America's Cup. We talked about what the next steps were for Ernesto Bertarelli and Team Alinghi... all things that are highly sensitive to the outcome of Cup. Unfortunately, I have been asked not to write about our conversation until the information is officially released.

As we get up and walk to the boat you get to see all the containers full of the gear. Carbon this, carbon that, and some stuff that I have never seen before on a boat. As you turn the corner you get a glimpse of just how big and powerful the trimaran is. With it's 160 foot rig towering over you, you see the crew getting ready. As we walk down the dock I see many familiar faces... James Spithill, John Kostecki and Franck Cammas. I can't help but to be a little star struck as Franck Cammas (one of the best multihull sailors in the world) takes the time to pose for a photo. Way cool!

As I step back to take it all in, Tom talks to me about the boat and how the crew's safety has now become the number one priority on the boat. The tenders have two divers on standby with a medical team. When you stand next to it you quickly realize that the power to weight ratio is way off the charts and one wrong move sailing just might be the last move. Flipping a 90 foot trimaran is not going to be a fun ride if you fall 90 feet and hit the water. It's like hitting concrete... it's going to leave a mark!

The boat is loaded with sensors to monitor all the loads. A few miles of fiber optics run throughout the hull. They have alarms on them that are set to go off when the load gets near it's breaking point. I'm not sure helmets are going to save your life when something gives way... but they do look cool! As the team jumps on, it's quite the show. The tenders push and pull her away from the docks. She slips away without a wake as she heads out for more sea trials. More to come... - Brian Camet

A special thanks to Tom Ehman for the tour.