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Alameda’s Home to a Special ‘Cat’ … and It’s Longer than the America’s Cup Winner

Across the dock from the USS Hornet in Nelson’s Marine boatyard rests Cheyenne — another historic sea vessel.

The catamaran  doesn’t have the colorful paint job she had when she broke world records in 2001 and 2004 (shown above), but you can still recognize her.

Her two hulls are enormous. In fact, they are actually longer than the hulls on BMW-Oracle’s trimaran, which measures 113 feet and won the America’s Cup a few weeks ago in Barcelona.

Cheyenne’s two hulls measure 125 feet each, though they started out at 105 feet when the vessel was initially built in 1996-1998.  A re-build took place in 2000.

The catamaran’s mast, though, is 148 feet tall, quite a bit smaller than BMW Oracle’s wing tower, which measures 195 feet.

Gino Morrelli and Pete Melvin designed Cheyenne, known earlier as PlayStation (and sponsored in part by Sony), back in the ’90s in Newport Beach, Ca. When the catamaran’s hulls were lengthened, along with the mast and boom, in 2000, the work took place in the United Kingdom under the supervision of a New Zealand naval architect.

The boat’s specifications are still posted online, as part of a website that celebrates the accomplishments of the late Steve Fossett.  

The adventurer, who died in a 2007 when his aircraft crashed in the Sierras, had her built to earn world records, and she did – for a time. In 2001, Cheyenne crossed the Atlantic in four days and 17 hours with an average speed of 27.8 knots. And in 2004, she circumnavigated the globe in 58 days and 9 hours at an average speed of 15-18 knots. (The website gives two different figures.)

If the next America’s Cup (the 34th such contest) does come to the Bay Area, Cheyenne could become part of a tribute to Bay Area boats and sailors…

Stay tuned for word on how Cheyenne got to Nelson’s and what the Alameda Point boatyard has planned for her. And feel free to share any knowledge on how Cheyenne got to the Bay Area and how she got her current name.