America's Cup: NZ Rigging drops the Big Boat's mast into cafe alley

NZ Rigging start the mast extraction from KZ-1 - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

KZ-1, The Big Boat of the 1988 America's Cup fame is now on permanent display outside the Maritime Museum, and forms the predominant landmark on the Auckland waterfront.

After 18 years had lapsed, since the 1988 America's Cup Challenger had her rig checked fully, and the Maritime Museum turned to NZ Rigging to undertake the tricky task. (Maybe they had read of the great deal NZ Rigging are offering of a complete rig assessment for $150!)

Lifting the skyscraper sized spar from the 130ft yacht is no easy task in normal circumstances, let alone when the area is surrounded by a coterie of fine restaurants and cafes which remain open during the exercise.

Then the rig and massive spreaders had to be lowered into a narrow road (yes, it just fitted), before being stripped and taken by road to Hobsonville, west of Auckland for a thorough check. The task started at 8.30pm and the spar had to be off the road by 6.00am.

Sail-World was on site for the first few hours of the operation and filed these images of the night's work for Richard 'Bart' Bearda and the team from NZ Rigging.

As she was, KZ1 dominates the waterfront skyline day and night - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

A crane lifts the crew skywards to attach lifting strops to the spar - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

A gantry enables the crew to work several stories up on the deck- KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

Looking more like miners than riggers - working on the forestay - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

The spar hangs free of the hull before being lowered into the alley - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

Anxious looks aloft from the NZ Rigging team - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

Big Boat to the left and cafe tables to the right - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

NZ Rigging team works on the mast base to hook up a new crane strop - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

A tight fit into the alley with the massive spreaders - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

NZ Rigging team with the extraction all but complete - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

KZ1 spar ready to be stripped and put on the trailer for Hobsonville - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013

The now-sparless Big Boat on Auckland’s waterfront - KZ-1 Mast removal July 1, 2013