Capsizing AC72 presents more danger than AC45 for Oracle Racing

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerAssessing damage: The Oracle Racing crew watches as the AC72 which capsized Tuesday is hoisted out of the water at Pier 80 on Wednesday.

As the hulls of his 72-foot catamaran dug into the waves on San Francisco Bay and the boat began to tumble stern over bow, America’s Cup champion Jimmy Spithill of Oracle Racing thought only about his mates and how they’d come out of the scary crash.

Spithill had capsized a 45-foot version of the fast catamaran before, but the 72-footer that flipped Tuesday is more powerful and carries a bigger crew.

“You’re a lot higher in the air,” Spithill told The Associated Press by phone on Wednesday. “You’re 70 feet in the air. My biggest concern is there are a lot more of your teammates on board. And really, until you know everyone is accounted for and safe, that’s probably the worst part of the experience.”

The boat, being tested for the 34th America’s Cup next year, carried 11 crewmen, a designer and two extra sailors. All were wearing crash helmets and life vests.

It took several hours for the syndicate to bring the boat to shore after it was swept by a strong ebb tide more than four miles past the Golden Gate Bridge. The boat turned upside down and was towed that way back to the team’s base at Pier 80, arriving about 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Spithill said the boat appears to be in relatively good shape considering what it went through. The boat was lifted out of the water Wednesday afternoon and the shore crew was going to wheel it into a shed to assess the damage.

Initial reports said the 131-foot wing sail was destroyed. Spithill said it was badly damaged but thinks it can be fixed. He said the syndicate was still recovering pieces of the high-tech wing on Wednesday.

America’s CupOther SportsSan Francisco Baysports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Newsom orders indoor uses in gyms, salons, malls, churches, more to close

California is largely closing again amid a spike in coronavirus cases across… Continue reading

UCSF study finds young adult smokers at high risk of severe coronavirus

Roughly one in three young adults nationwide are at risk of contracting… Continue reading

Haney secures needed support to ask voters to create street cleaning department

Public Advocate proposal also advances toward ballot as anti-corruption measure

Giants, A’s to play exhibition games before start of baseball season

The San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s announced Monday that they have… Continue reading

Riders should expect big changes when Muni rail returns in August

Reconfigured routes will mean fewer, longer trains through tunnel

Most Read