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More information emerges on America's Cup capsize

by Sail-World Cruising Round-up on 12 May 2013
Tragic Artemis, with San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge as background .. .
While much of the sailing world mourns the death of British Olympic sailing star and America's Cup strategist Andrew 'Bart' Simpson, widely reported on the racing sites of Sail-World, the design of the yacht Artemis is being questioned as cracking noises were heard by the crew before the main frame simply 'cracked like a taco', injuring some crew and killing Simpson.

As reported around the world in the mainstream press as well as the sailing media outlets, Simpson was under the water for ten minutes before being retrieved by rescuers. New Zealand grinder on Artemis and fellow Olympian Craig Monk was also injured in the crash. Five other New Zealanders escaped with their lives, as did three British sailors, five Australians, three French, two Americans, a Canadian, a Swede and an Argentinian.

More information is beginning to emerge on how America's Cup boat Artemis came to capsize in San Francisco Bay.

Tony Outteridge, father of Australian helmsman Nathan, says his son has told him of hearing cracking noises and tipping on its side before the main frame cracked 'like a taco'. He said his son is distraught.

'He's not very good. He's said it's the worst day of his life. A good mate dead. He was skippering the boat; he says he didn't do anything from normal but he was responsible for it.'

Another Italian Olympic sailor, Luca Devoti has joined in, telling us that the catamarans as designed are dangerous. 'These boats are very dangerous and very difficult to sail. We all knew that in the sailing community. They are pushing the boundaries of the sport and going into unknown territory.

Mr Devoti wrote an article about the AC72, a year ago, in which he questioned the catamaran's wings, and in particular pointed to the 'windy bay' of San Francisco where he said 'there are a lot of unknowns because of the steep and short waves and the 25 knots of wind or thereabouts'.

He also wrote that it was very hard for these type of catamarans to slow down 'to avoid t-boning somebody'.

Mr Devoti, 50, said it was for the regulatory bodies to decide whether the technology had been pushed a step too far.

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