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Foncia capsizes off Lorient – Alinghi crew safe

by Daphne Morgan Barnicoat & Sail-World on 30 Mar 2008
Foncia after capsizing off Lorient, FRA while being used for training by Alinghi. TNT Media Services

A 60ft trimaran being used by Alinghi crew for training has capsized off Lorient, France. Sail-World understands that two crew were taken off by helicopter and hospitalised, and one has been discharged.

Earlier today Alinghi announced the incident.

'At 11:30 this morning, in 20 plus knots and a lumpy Atlantic swell, the 60ft trimaran Foncia capsized off Lorient with Alinghi sailors onboard. Of the 10 crew onboard, Piet van Niekerk and Francesco Rapetti were airlifted to hospital, both are safe and with no serious injuries. The rest of the crew along with consultant Alain Gautier were involved in securing the boat and towing it ashore, the sailors are shaken but unhurt.

'Ed Baird, who was onboard, provides some insight into what happened: 'As we were bearing away, always the highest risk situation on a multi-hull, both the leeward and the central hull dug into the water and the rudders came out. From then it was out of our hands and we capsized forwards. As the mast hit the water, it broke, followed by the rear beam.' He continues: 'The crew reacted very quickly in getting everyone back on board, doing a head count and checking injuries before calling for help and beginning to secure the boat.'

'Foncia is currently being towed into the harbour upside down to be craned out and assessed for damage. 'We have all been through crashes and capsizes before, this is all part of the sport,' says Ed Baird, adding 'however this is a temporary situation with Foncia and is not our equipment, so it is even more disappointing to us that we are involved in damaging someone else’s gear. We have learned a valuable lesson here and now must get to work to fix things up for Alain [Gautier].'

Sail-World understands that Gautier was the only non Alinghi crew member on board, and the Baird, the usual Alinghi helmsman, was helming at the time of the incident.

Alain Gautier, a recognised multihull expert, had only been recently announced as joining the Team Alinghi for the multihull America's Cup Match set down for this year. Justice Herman Cahn, of the New York Supreme Court has been asked to rule on the dates for the 33rd Match, and a Hearing on this point has been scheduled for next Wednesday, in New York.

Alinghi are also in possession of two Extreme 40 catamarans being used for crew training in Valencia, ESP.
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