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America's Cup- Peyron tells of fatal Artemis training capsize

by Richard Gladwell on 29 Jun 2013
AC72 testing in San Francisco Bay. Artemis Racing April 2013, Alameda, USA Sander van der Borch / Artemis Racing © http://www.sandervanderborch.com

One of the world's top multihull sailors, Loick Peyron has spoken in the New York Times on the what happened in the Artemis Racing capsize incident, in which a double Olympic medalist, Andrew Simpson, died.

To date little has been spoken by the Swedish Challenger of Record, when their first AC72 pitchpoled, on the final run of its final sail before being decommissioned.

The accident was 'a classic capsize situation,' said Loick Peyron, one of the team’s two helmsmen. He confirmed that the yacht capsized, as has been reported, while the Artemis crew was executing a bear-away maneuver: a downwind turn away from the breeze that has been a particular challenge in this class of Cup boats.

'There was a bit too much wind, and the boat itself in our case didn’t have enough lifting force from the foil or from the dagger boards, and that’s why all the bear-aways since the beginning were quite tricky,' Peyron said.

Peyron, a 53-year-old from France who is one of the most experienced and successful multihull sailors in history, was, unusually, not on board but was following closely in a chase boat. He said the yacht 'pitch-poled' — a term used when a multihull’s bows dig into the water and the stern flips up and over the bows. Peyron said that, contrary to some reports, the boat did not break before it capsized.

'We read a lot of false stories about that,' he said. 'The boat breaks after, or should I say during, but the capsize was already on its way. After that for sure what is unacceptable is that the boat broke.'

Asked if Simpson’s problems were a result of the boat breaking up, Peyron said, 'Yes, exactly.'

'That’s the worst case for sure,' Peyron said. 'Because he was trapped not under the net but between the beams and the wing.'

To read the full story including comments from other Artemis crew members http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/28/sports/despite-fatal-training-accident-artemis-moves-forward.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1!click_here

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