Winds in the mid-20s and a small craft advisory didn’t stop Jimmy Spithill and Russell Coutts from heading out to test sail their AC45s in San Francisco Bay on Monday, June 13th. Owned by Oracle Racing, both boats were preparing to head to Cascals, Portugal later this summer for the America’s Cup World Series. But in a dramatic explosion of wind, wave, and carbon fiber, Coutts’ buried both bows during pre-start maneuvering, capsizing the catamaran.
“We got caught in the pre-start at the wrong angle and paid the price,” said Coutts, who fell through the lower part of the wingsail. “The boats are spectacular, hard to sail. They’re gonna test the best sailors in the world. Luckily I had the crash helmet on.” Luckily, indeed, as Coutts fell off the boat and crashed into the wingsail, ripping it.
Crewmember Shannon Falcome was injured and taken to the hospital, but reported only minor injuries. While the boat’s wingsail was damaged during the capsize, the boat is expected to return to racing this week.
For more on the America's Cup, be sure to check out www.americascup.com