Hammertime at Oracle Team USA


MC Hammer flashes the "shaka" with ORACLE TEAM USA sailor Shannon Falcone while Kyle Langford looks on. MC Hammer flashes the "shaka" with ORACLE TEAM USA sailor Shannon Falcone while Kyle Langford looks on. MC Hammer and ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill. Photos Guilain Grenier/ORACLE TEAM USA  

One of the world’s most recognisable rap artists, MC Hammer, has visited ORACLE TEAM USA and proved he can touch the helm.

MC Hammer rode as a guest racer with Russell Coutts, but ended up helming the boat. “I’ve never steered a boat,” said the music and entertainment icon. “But Russell said, ‘Here, hold this!’ and gave me the  elm.” Hammer, born and raised in Oakland, became the first No. 1-selling rap artist to helm an AC45. He later proclaimed on his Twitter page, “Love it!”

Hammer arrived at the team base and received a personal tour from team skipper Jimmy Spithill, the  oungest winning skipper in the history of the America’s Cup. Spithill showed Hammer the team’s secret boatbuilding area where the team’s first AC72 catamaran for the 2013 America’s Cup is taking shape.

Just as Hammer was about to sign the carbon-fibre, high-tech machine one of the boat builders joked, “U can’t touch this!” Hammer’s frenetic single from the album, “Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ’Em,” which was No. 1 for 21 weeks in 1990.

Hammer was a hit at the Pier 80 base, stopping for photos with every team member and spreading smiles all around. He spent time talking boxing with Spithill (a shared passion) before heading afloat to meet Coutts, the most successful skipper in America's Cup history.

“Speeding across the water at 30kts, watching the powerboats disappear behind, was cool. I’ve seen  ormula 1 cars and Top Fuel drag cars, and the AC45 is 100 times more exciting,” said MC Hammer after ‘hot-dogging’ in the guest racer position at the back of the AC45.

On the water he posed for pictures with crewmembers, flashing the ‘shaka’ hand sign for all’s cool. “I’m hooked. I want to come back,” said MC Hammer. “I’m going to tell everyone in the bay to get behind this America’s Cup and get behind our American team."

Wendy Elliston
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