America’s Cup, the world-class yacht race founded in 1851, drew a crowd of thousands to Navy Pier the weekend of June 11, 2016. For the first time in the history of this prestigious event, a freshwater venue was chosen: Lake Michigan. Sailors from around the world and their support teams competed sailing state-of-the-art twin-hulled catamarans.
The Chicago Match Race Center, which holds a variety of boating events on the lakefront, is the local host organization for this prestigious event sponsored by Louis Vuitton, and they needed a crane they could count on to get the event underway.
Chicago crane rental company, Stevenson Crane Service, Inc., was on the job helping the boaters to launch their craft into the lake. Over the course of several days due to the threat of strong storms on Thursday, Stevenson’s highly skilled Local #150 Operators safely and swiftly placed boats, both motorized and wind-powered, into the water on time and with remarkable precision.
On Wednesday, June 8th, our Terex T335 35-Ton crane was launching the motorboats for each team.
Watch the Motorboat Launch Video
You can see here one of the motorboats being carefully placed into Lake Michigan:
The Main Event
If you are from Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, you may have heard or seen a lot about the launching of the racing foiling catamaran sailboats in the media. On Friday, June 10, 2016, starting at 6 a.m., each team readied their vessels to hit the waves of the Windy City’s lakefront.
Six teams competed from various countries which included Japan, England, Norway, New Zealand, the United States of America, and France. Each team had one hour to prepare their watercraft by installing the sail and the rudders and to then place their respective catamarans in the water.
Stevenson Crane’s 110-Ton Hydraulic Truck Crane, the Grove TMS9000E, was the crane of choice for this work. The crane operator and boat crews kept in constant contact using standard crane hand signals and also by radio communication. This communication was critical as the crane operator needed to hoist the catamarans over a wall on a platform from the second story of Navy Pier, boom out over the street and pedestrian way, and carefully place the boats within inches of the docks. The operator was never able to see the majestic sight of the yachts touching down in the water. However, each pick was masterfully accomplished, and all boats were launched without even a scratch.
Watch the Catamaran Sailboat Launch Video
Watch this short video showing each America’s Cup catamaran boat launched by our hydraulic truck crane.
View the Gallery
Check out these photographs of the pre-event launch beginning in the early morning.
Team New Zealand
Click here to learn more about the Grove TMS9000E.
Click here to learn more about America’s Cup.