Alinghi overturns in America's Cup trimaran battle

Alinghi training in Foncia, the ORMA 60 on the first day of sailing off Lorient, France
Jacques Vapillon/Alinghi ©
On the America's Cup scene, the news of the weekend was the capsize of the ORMA 60 Foncia, while being used during a training session by Alinghi, off Lorient, France.

All were rescued, with two of her crew being hospitalised (one was discharged soon afterward).

The effect of the mishap could be significant for the Defender, on top of a Court Hearing on Wednesday on the vexed issue of dates for the 33rd America's Cup Match.

Both Alinghi and BMW Oracle Racing are following similar buildup programs. With ironically both being in the same hotel on Lorient, France, and both sailing ORMA 60 trimarans which are generally a 2/3rds model of the 90ft x 90ft dimensions of the 'keel yacht' given in the Notice of Challenge by Golden Gate YC.

Foncia's dimensions are given as 60ft long and 57ft wide, and sailing in conditions of 20kts and lumpy seas would have been a challenge. It is understood that the BMW Oracle racing crew elected not to sail that day in their ORMA 60, Groupama.

The impact of the incident on the Alinghi campaign remains to be seen. However their options for sailing a 60ft multihull would now be restricted, at best. And it would seem that they will have to revert to their pair of Extreme 40's (two of which are also owned by BMW Oracle Racing). Meanwhile, the US Challenger will continue to sail and train in the bigger multihulls.

The incident does underline the need to have recognised multihull sailors in key positions in the crew, and it will be interesting to see if regular America's Cup crews can be cross-trained to sail large multihulls, at short notice.

It would seem that as a result of the incident off Lorient, that BMW Oracle have gained a significant advantage on the water to complement the advantage they already have in the Courtroom.

Foncia after capsizing off Lorient, FRA while being used for training by Alinghi.
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