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America's Cup- Three AC45's capsize in two days at San Francisco

by ETNZblog.com on 19 Aug 2012
Emirates Team NZ sailing past Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, before the start of the ACWS Chris Cameron/ETNZ http://www.chriscameron.co.nz

A strong San Francisco sea breeze of 15-25 knots with gusts to 30 gave the America’s Cup World Series AC45 fleet another taste of the week to come on Saturday.

Two yachts capsized – that’s three in the last four days – as the breeze built from a range of17-18 to the mid-20s to gusts approaching 30.

Combined with a strong. opposing outgoing tide that produced a nasty chop.

The breeze in San Francisco so far contrasts sharply with the generally light conditions experience at ACWS regattas so far this year.

Closer to shore, gusts off the land made conditions more difficult for crews as they settled in for the start of racing on Wednesday.

Saturday dawned murky and the fog did not burn off until afternoon. Even then a persistent cloud hung over the landmark Golden Gate Bridge as crews practiced in course area.

It was Emirates Team New Zealand’s second day on the water since the sailing team arrived on Thursday.

The AC45 left the dock soon after 1pm and joined Luna Rossa for a training session.

Skipper Dean Barker said the stronger breeze puts pressure on boat handling and manoeuvres. 'We hadn’t sailed the AC45 since Newport in June and we have many areas to works on.'

He said the second day of practice was a big step-up from the first.

The Emirates Team New Zealand boat was preparing for the final practice race of the day when Luna Rossa Swordfish capsized end-over-end, destroying the wing. The crew was unhurt.

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