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America's Cup- Committee to report on AC72 safety measures

by Richard Gladwell on 15 May 2013
America’s Cup - San Francisco, California America's Cup 2013

America's Cup organisers, Golden Gate Yacht Club, have appointed a six-strong team to investigate and report on the facts of the Artemis incident, last Thursday, and to recommend on safety issues for the AC72 class and event.

The group is working in conjunction with the US Coast Guard who must issue SLR's (Special Local Regulations) for the event to proceed.

Last Thursday, around 1.00pm local time, an AC72 catamaran being sailed by Challenger of Record, Artemis Racing, broke up while performing a bear away turn in 20kts of wind, on San Francisco Bay. A crew member, Olympic Gold and Silver medalist, Andrew Simpson (GBR) died in the incident. It is the second such incident, in San Francisco, during training for the 34th America's Cup. It was the third major incident for the Swedish team.

Artemis Racing were sailing for what was to be the final outing for their first launched AC72, and were in the process of returning to base to haul-out. The team has a second AC72 which is being prepared for launch - scheduled for late May prior to the latest incident, but now that date is expected to be delayed.

It will have to be ready for the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup on July 4, 2013, unless the team elect to sit out some of the early racing (and go straight through to the Semi-Final), or withdraw completely.

A key question for the Review Committee will be whether the issues that have occurred to date are restricted only to a couple of teams, or if they are endemic in the AC72 class.

It has been confirmed after a meeting of the four entered teams that the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup will proceed on schedule. That may be affected by the findings of the Review Committee, which is expected to make a substantive report in two weeks.

The Review Committee will make its recommendations following the loss of Artemis Racing crew member Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson (GBR) in a training accident on San Francisco Bay on Thursday of last week.

The statement issued by America's Cup Media says that the Members of the Committee – http://cdn.sparkart.net/americascup/content/documents/20130514-Review-Committee.pdf!download_bios_here – have strong backgrounds in the sport at its highest levels as well as involvement in other reviews where an incident at sea has claimed the life of a competitor.



Iain Murray, the Regatta Director, will chair and lead the Review Committee comprised of:

• Iain Murray (AUS, Chair)
• Sally Lindsay Honey (USA, Deputy Chair)
• John Craig (USA)
• Chuck Hawley (USA)
• Vincent Lauriot-Prévost (FRA)
• Jim Farmer QC (NZL)

The U.S. Coast Guard say they support ACEA's approach and will assist as appropriate. Lt. Jon Lane, with 26 years in the Coast Guard and 10 years experience as a marine casualty investigator will serve as liaison.

Tom Ehman, the Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club (the America’s Cup Trustee), said, 'The America’s Cup will go ahead this summer. We will see the world’s best sailors racing at the highest level on one of the most iconic race tracks in sport.'

With regard to the Review, Ehman added: 'The Committee brings immense experience and expertise to this Review. At a meeting in San Francisco this morning, the teams expressed unanimous support for this Committee and this process.'

Racing starts in seven weeks, with the teams being asked to observe a weeks absence from San Francisco Bay out of respect to Andrew Simpson, who died in the Artemis incident.

A second Media Conference for invited sailing media will be held later today.

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