America’s Cup: USA 17 Sails Again

Published on May 11th, 2014

Following the 33rd America’s Cup, won by Golden Gate Yacht Club in 2010, there was hope to see their massive 90-foot wing-powered trimaran USA 17 sailing in San Francisco Bay. It would have made for an impressive sight, and created early interest in the 34th America’s Cup that would be held three years later.

But due to its enormity and considerable risk under sail, the manpower was directed elsewhere, and USA 17 sat dormant on the blacktop of Pier 80 in the Dogpatch that became home to the American defender.

So what becomes of this America’s Cup winning marvel? She becomes a pond ornament.

Larry Ellison, owner of the defense syndicate, had USA 17 moved to the lake at his Oracle Corporate Headquarters in Redwood City. Affectionately known as Dogzilla, Erik Simonson describes the 20-mile transit….

The Dogzilla Relocation Project reached new heights Saturday, May 10 as an Erickson Skycrane lifted her out of the water and over the Oracle Buildings and placed her in Larry’s Pond. But things did not start out so smoothly, and there was a delay as Dogzilla put up a fight, digging her claws into the mud in the shallows of the Belmont Slough, holding up progress for nearly an hour. The tide finally rose enough to free her and the Skycrane worked it magic.

The Oracle security and local law enforcement did a notable job of keeping spectators in a safe area, and when the gigantic skycrane crested the buildings with precious cargo, ground rattling thunder and massive turbulence on the water, the distance was appreciated.

We expected a drop and go, but the skycrane along with waterborne craft took time to maneuver her onto the mounts that had been carefully placed in the pond to keep the hulls out of the water and give the appearance of her heeling to victory.

But the Dog still had some fight, and after 12-15 minutes of battling, with the giant skycrane rocking and rolling, tugging and pulling, almost as if she did not want to stay, Dogzilla was finally released to her new home.

A massive carbon fiber mast was soon lifted into place and the stays and shrouds reconnected. When all is said and done, the Oracle staff will have a new pond ornament to ponder.

With two obsolete AC72s now collecting dust at Pier 80, one wonders if the Big Dog will have pond mates in the near future!



Photos by Erik Simonson

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Photos by Brad Webb

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