The action in Auckland has really hotted up as the American challenger capsized dramatically and nearly sank over the weekend
When a 75ft vessel that can ‘sail’ or foil at double-digit speeds capsizes – it’s quite a spectacle, but is not really a laughing matter.
The qualification rounds have begun in Auckland, New Zealand, to decide which of the challengers gets to race against the America’s Cup holders Team New Zealand in March.
The vessels are scow-like monohulls with weighted foiling arms. The teams race one-on-one (match racing) in the home waters of the reigning cup holders. The action is high-speed and ‘on the edge’, which is thrilling for the fans, but poses a genuine danger to life and limb for the crew on board.
Memories in the racing world of British Olympic medallist Andrew Simpson losing his life in 2013 during training for the America’s Cup in San Francisco Bay are still fresh in many peoples’ minds. As are the memories from the collision between Artemis and an umpire boat in Bermuda 2015.
Thankfully, there were no injuries on this occasion, but the vessel – American Magic – was taking on water fast after the capsize and it took an international joint effort to supply enough pumps and air bags to keep the vessel afloat.
Terry Hutchinson, skipper and chief executive says in the video: “In the first half hour for sure I thought the boat was going to sink. We started putting airbags on the top of the mast so that we could find the boat… You can’t give enough thanks to the local police and the local fire authorities for their quick response.”
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