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Scuttlebutt: Special Delivery

BMW ORACLE Racing flies new yacht to Valencia

(Februarly 28, 2006) An Antonov cargo plane landed Tuesday in Valencia carrying unusual precious cargo - the new America's Cup Class yacht of BMW Oracle Racing. Thirteen hours and 8,900 kilometres after departing from Seattle, WA in the USA, the 24-metre carbon fiber hull was delivered today to the Challenger in Valencia, site of the 32nd America's Cup in 2007. The plane took off at 5pm local Seattle time on a 13-hour flight to Spain. By flying the boat, thanks to logistics support from DHL Global Forwarding, the logistics business unit of Deutsche Post World Net, the team shaved almost three weeks off the traditional method of transporting the boat via truck and container ship. The plane is one of the largest ever to land at the Valencia airport.

Constructed over the past six months at a purpose-built facility in Anacortes, WA, the hull rolled out of the boat shed Monday on a flatbed truck enroute to the Seattle airport, the first leg of its voyage to Valencia, Spain, where the US team is now based for the training and competition that leads up leads up to the racing next spring. The hull was painted in the team's livery before being shrink-wrapped in plastic and strapped onto a flatbed truck. The new yacht departed the Anacortes facility at 8 am local time on Monday February 27, starting the journey to Valencia. The truck transported the hull the 150 kilometres south to Seattle airport.

The team will now add the remaining components including keel, hardware, and mast before the new boat can touch water for the first time. The team will take the boat through a commissioning process where the engineers will test loads and ensure it is structurally sound before starting a training and testing program with the boat's trial horse and tuning partner, USA-76. The new generation racing yacht will be launched at a christening ceremony March 27 at the team's new training operations base at the Port America's Cup in Valencia. ~

Photos by Gilles Martin-Raget

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