It was the eve of the Toledo Boat and Sports Show at the Toledo Sports Arena. And the Defender was intended to be a large part of the show. Arena Manager Gary Wyse said the Defender was the "biggest thing to hit a boat show here in 10 years." A little too big, as people would soon find out. Blade photographer Herral Long was on hand Jan. 29, 1986, when the 65-foot-long Defender eased down Main Street in East Toledo, toward the Sports Arena entrance. The Defender, a contender in the 1983 America's Cup, stood 13 feet, 7 inches tall when on its trailer. The problem was the entrance to the Sports Arena was only 13 feet, 5 inches. Now what? A bulldozer was used to regrade the ramp leading to the arena entrance, and workers deflated the air shocks on the trailer to get a little more room. Then an overhead door and its motor were removed by the Sports Arena crew, and a set of lights were raised up to get out of the way. Voila! The boat could finally be inched into the entrance five hours after its arrival, and less than 24 hours before the boat show opened.
THE BLADE/HERRAL LONG
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