Both Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa came away from the first final of the Louis Vuitton Cup with major damage, after racing in winds that were close to the limit.
After a close start, Luna Rossa was forced out on the first reaching leg when their starboard daggerboard would not lower properly, and suffered a mechanical failure. They pulled out before reaching the reach mark. leaving Emirates Team NZ to sail the course alone.
That familiar sight continued without incident, until rounding the windward mark for the final time, as Emirates Team NZ approached at 20kts, climbed out onto her foils and rounded the mark fully foiling and sailing fast at a peak speed of 42.9kts when suddenly the boat angled into the water. Nano-seconds later the inevitable happened and the New Zealand Challenger buried her bows into the water at speed, going deeper than ever before seen, going right back to the main beam, slowing to just 12.4kts - a deceleration of 30kts in a second or two, imposing substantial G-forces forces on the crew, with two being thrown overboard.
Two crew members went over the side as the boat came to a complete stop, before popping backwards, as the volume in the bows kicked in, they lifted and she continued with a reduced crew, who were all all taken aboard the team's tender.
The boat suffered significant damage to the fairing on the port side, with big sections being ripped back.
The capsize cause seemed to be related to a daggerboard angle issue, or rudder trim issue - given that the boat was already up and foiling and sailing fast in the bearaway - which was the same point of sailing that cause the catastrophic capsizes on Oracle Team USA and Artemis Racing. The big difference being that Emirates Team New Zealand survived and were ready to race another day, while the other two broke up structurally.
The team were able to quickly replacement fairing in place, and were ready to race with 15 minutes to run to the start time for race 2. It was not clear if Luna Rossa were ready to race again that afternoon.
Racing, which had initially been delayed for winds over the limits, was later called off for the day, when winds went over 22kts after getting midway into the scheduled break between races.
For the full Predictwind.com story on the breeze prognosis for the day click here
by Richard Gladwell
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9:24 PM Sat 17 Aug 2013GMT
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