On October 16, Oracle Team USA experienced something they surely hoped they never would--the capsize of their AC72. The accident occured at 3pm during training in San Francisco Bay. All crew members were safe and according to skipper, Jimmy Spithill, that’s what is most important.
Here's a video of the boat, rather quickly, going down.
“A big thank you goes to our shore team, our support team and the US Coast Guard as they were standing by,” Spithill said.
The team’s tactician Tom Slingsby said the team called for a bear away and as the boat accelerated, it pitch-poled.
“The winds were blowing about 25 knots and there was a strong ebb current at the time,” Slingsby said.
Slingsby said the team wasn’t sure what would happen with the new boat but after the nose went down, the wing hit and a few guys went in the water.
“We were unsure if the wing would snap, so we all climbed off the boat,” Slingsby said.
While the wing is badly damaged, the boat and crew were able to return to the team base Pier 80 early Wednesday morning. The team’s support boats towed the AC72 from its capsize location near the Golden Gate Bridge back to the team’s base.
Spithill said that while there is no question this is a setback, it won’t stop them from winning the 34th America’s Cup next year.
“Obviously, we’ve got a lot of work, and we have to look at our plan now,” Spithill said. “I’m still confident in the team we’ve got and we can go out and win again.”
For more on the ORACLE TEAM USA capsize visit oracleracingmedia.com
Photos by Guilain Grenier/ ORACLE TEAM USA