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a remarkable development, definitely something to get used to and monitor. Reaction was wary, not prohibitive, because reducing wetted surface means less drag, more speed. The mast (for a soft sail) had been the most debated issue. The initial notion of a mast 50 meters tall (165 feet) had caused concern. Mention of a 60-meter mast (196 feet) begat nervous laughter. But when BOR17 (BMW Oracle17 ~ the boat was co-named for the German auto maker-sponsor) first went sailing in San Diego, the mast was 58.8 meters (192’ 9”). The crew reported no sense of being overpowered, so mast #3 (at 60.8 meters ~ 199’ 4”) was begun immediately. Mast #3 was lengthened to 64.7

meters (212’ 3”) while under construction. Those heady numbers were joined by similarly stunning, eyeopening data as sea trials in San Diego continued, producing sobering, life-sized realities the sailors would have to contend with. There was a 75-ton compression load on the mast step; 32 tons on the forestay with the mainsail sheeted in; and 24 tons on the mainsheet, although a seven-part tackle reduced the mainsheet load to 4 tons. Headsails weighed 660 to 880 pounds each. It took five people to move them. Cranes lifted them onto the boat at the dock. Halyards hoisted them off chase boats. Sailors quickly named BOR17 “The Beast” and, when pressed,

Spithill at the helm, 25 feet off the water. 161

Profile for Tidewater Times

June 2017 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times June 2017

June 2017 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times June 2017