America’s Cup holders Oracle have crashed one of their test boats in Bermuda.
There were no injuries and “minimal damage” though there are fears the mulit-million dollar catamaran’s electronics system will be badly affected after being submerged in the capsize.
The accident came during Oracle’s first day of training since contesting last weekend’s world series regatta in Oman where they finished second to British syndicate Ben Ainslie with Team New Zealand third. TNZ led the overall world series standings.
— ORACLE TEAM USA (@OracleTeamUSA) March 2, 2016
Jimmy Spithill was at the helm, just as he was when Oracle capsized a full 72-foot foiling catamaran in 2012 in the leadup to the last America’s Cup.
While that giant catamaran was totally demolished, Spithill was thankful for escaping lightly this time.
Oracle were running the second of their three smaller test boats in 15-20 knots of wind.
“The boat went over, not through a nose-dive but actually sideways,” Spithill said.
“Really it was a best-case scenario … everyone all safe and minimal to almost no damage. Obviously we are going to have a fair bit of electronic damage in the one hull that was under water.”
Spithill was pleased to see the giant wingsail survive and the boat appeared to suffer no major structural problems though it will have the rule run over it. Once righted, the boat was able to sail back to Oracle’s base.
The team posted some dramatic photos on their Facebook page.
“This shouldn’t slow us up too much. It was a really good test of all of our on-water safety procedures,” Spithill said.
“It was good to see the team in operation, good to go through this … there will be a few things that are learnt.
“That’s what happens in this sport. I hope we don’t see too many more but the fact is, that’s where we are in the sport today.”
Ben Ainslie Racing capsized one of their test boats recently.
Team New Zealand have returned to testing on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.
They are working in a boat borrowed from sidelined Italian syndicate Luna Rossa and are close to launching their own test boat.
That will form the basis of their actual racing boat which should be launched early next year ahead of Bermuda 2017.
Technological developments mean the new, smaller test boats are recording speeds comparable to the giant cats that raced in San Francisco.
The buildup to the 34th edition of the Cup in San Francisco was blotted by the death of sailor Andrew Simpson when Artemis Racing crashed at high speed in training.
See the photos from the epic capsize here.
This article was originally published on Stuff.co.nz. See the original article here.
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