Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

35th Americas Cup: Kiwis Capsize

Author:
Louis Vuitton America's Cup Playoffs Semi-Finals, Day 3  - Emirates Team New Zealand Capsize. Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget

Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget

That’s why they make ‘em run the races. Up until the middle of yesterday afternoon, Emirates Team New Zealand looked unstoppable after beating Land Rover BAR in the first race of the day to go up 3 to 0. Then, just moments after the start of Race 2, Kiwi helmsman Peter Burling submarined both of his bows and the team’s ACC50 pitch-poled, hurling half the crew into Bermuda’s Great Sound and possibly changing AC35 forever.

Fortunately, none of the crew was hurt (bet they were glad to be wearing their helmets when things went sideways!) but at the very least, the fairing on the boat’s forward crossbeam appeared to be well and truly shredded, and who knows what may have happened to the internal workings of the boat’s wing. Same thing with the team’s mental state—especially Burling’s.

Emirates Team New Zealand Capsizes on the second day of playoffs series

Until yesterday the Kiwi’s seemed almost completely in control. From now on, though, they can’t help but have this incident the back of their minds, can’t help but sail in the knowledge that even the best-sailed race in the world can come to a crashing end in the blink of an eye. The monkey on this team’s back from the last America’s Cup, when they were on the losing end of one of the greatest comebacks in sports history, may have gotten some company—especially when the wind is up.

In fact, Day 2 of the Challenger Playoffs were those most challenging, so to speak, thus far, with white caps on Great Sound and winds gusting in the low to mid-20s. Heaven help the Kiwis if they ever find themselves facing match point in these kinds of conditions again. We’ll see how they do later today. At press time, the forecast was once again for plenty of wind, which will mean having to get right back up on that horse, unless of course there’s too much wind and they get a postponement. [UPDATE: Wednesday's racing was eventually cancelled due to high winds, with competition set to resume on Thursday, June 8.

Day 11 Recap Video

On a side note, this was the second time in two days that a team has had to swap out a wing last minute due to damage (not to mention Artemis having to repair the shredded fairings on its crossbeams after yesterday’s heavy conditions). On Monday it was Land Rover BAR, yesterday it was ETNZ. Earlier, during the qualifiers, Oracle Team USA had to do an equally quick switchout of its rudder on race day. And who can ever forget the time Oracle trimmer Kyle Landford spent the second half of a race running back and forth to the wind effecting repairs while competing against Softbank Team Japan?

As is the case with NASCAR and Formula 1, it’s beginning to look like the pit stops are becoming as big a part of the regatta as the racing.

ETNZ helmsman Peter Burling post-capsize press conference

As for two teams grappling in the other first-to-five series comprising these playoffs, the roller coaster ride that has been the Artemis effort since Day 1 of the 35th America’s Cup took another downturn as the Swedish crew lost both races to Dean Barker’s Softbank Team Japan to fall to 1 and 3.

Once again, the team seemed to get off on the wrong foot and never recovered, losing especially decisively in the second race of the day, thanks in no small part to a penalty the team incurred when it committed a boundary violation.

Unfortunately, with two more races scheduled for this afternoon, Artemis could be booking tickets to take them back home by nightfall. But then again, you never know. That’s why they make ‘em run the races, and if there’s anything this latest America’s Cup cycle has been thus far, it’s unpredictable.

On a final note: kudos to Land Rover BAR helmsman Sir Ben Ainslie. After seeing the competition going into the drink he did not exalt. Just the opposite, he first cautioned his crew to take it easy and then immediately directed his own chase boat to go to the Kiwi’s aid. A class act for a class sport. Makes you proud to be a sailor.

June 2017

Related

02-RV-WHY

Cruising: Miracle On Ice

I was preparing some tea just before heading topside for my watch. Even though it was summertime, the tea was not iced—it was hot. That’s because our boat was in the High Arctic. We were trying to complete a westbound transit of the treacherous Northwest Passage. If we ...read more

Hanse_460_Bilder_Web_Exterior_0003-promo

New Monohulls: Hallberg-Rassy 400 & Hanse 460

For all the consolidation in the boatbuilding world in recent years, there remains plenty of variety out there, as can be seen in these two new monohulls. The products of two very different boatbuilders offer two very different takes on performance-cruising, even as they also ...read more

Waterlines

The Power of Sails

I suppose it isn’t merely a coincidence that I’ve made significant changes to the sailplans of the last three cruising boats I’ve owned. The first project was the biggest. My old Golden Hind 31, Sophie, had lots of charm and character, but her sloop rig was laughably small. ...read more

01-LEAD-BahiaCobre

Charter the Sea of Cortez

Chartering and the notion of going “off the beaten path” may sound self-contradictory. Charter companies tend to put bases where demand is high and they can turn a profit, so if you’re lucky enough to find an outfit and a destination that gets away from the typical—say yes. To ...read more

22D6FB6F-AA49-4784-A3A8-960F5A7CE330

Cruising: Anchoring Skills

Watching charterers make a run for the last mooring in a cove is fun—and weird. I always wonder why so many would rather try to catch a mooring than drop the hook. Maybe charterers don’t trust their anchoring skills, but it’s harder to drive up and grab a buoy than most people ...read more

BD-TJV21_Malama_063

11th Hour Breakdown in the TJV

11th Hour Racing’s Mālama kicked off the second week of the Transat Jaques Vabre with keel problems, forcing co-skippers Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry to adjust for a more conservative approach to the race’s remaining 2000 miles. “We’ve been dealing with a lot of ...read more

2021-rolex-y-of-y-email-graphic

Rolex Nominations Open

Award season is upon us, and US Sailing is looking for the next Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year. Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex since 1980, the annual Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards recognize individual male and female sailors ...read more

04-IMG_3448

Buying a New Main Sail

I’ve always known the importance of having good sails. As a low-budget boat punk, I prioritize making sure I can get where I’m going with the help of the wind, as opposed to under power. It isn’t necessarily my goal to be engineless, or basically engineless. It just happens that ...read more