Dean Barker's world flipped upside down this morning when Emirates Team New Zealand's AC45 catamaran capsized in spectacular fashion at the America's Cup World Series event in Newport, Rhode Island.
With both bows pointing to the sky, the cat took more than hour to right, revealing substantial damage to the wingsail.
None of the sailors on board were hurt when the multihull flipped during the first quarter-final match with Luna Rossa Piranha. But the crash will now make it difficult for Emirates Team New Zealand to claim America's Cup World Series overall championship honours in this final event of the 2011-12 season.
With the back elements of the wing badly damaged, Team NZ got straight to work to repair one of the elements, bought a new one from America's Cup Race Management and have "cannibalised" another from one of the Youth America's Cup AC45s.
Barker vowed the team would be back on the water tomorrow, the second day of the America's Cup World Series final regatta.
It is the first time an AC45 with a new wing extension has capsized, and showed up faults in the design. The extension filled with water which made it problematic to get the boat upright again, causing further damage.
When Team NZ capsized the AC45 in Auckland during summer training - before the wing extension was added - they were able to right the boat in a matter of minutes and sailed away without any major damage.
But that wasn't the end of Emirates Team New Zealand's problems. The crew sailed without two key members - bowman Winston Macfarlane and trimmer James Dagg - who were injured in training. Replacement crew Jeremy Lomas and Derek Saward were flown in from Auckland.
The Kiwis were also off the pace in the opening fleet race, finishing sixth of the eight boats in Newport. Jimmy Spithill celebrated his 33rd birthday with his Oracle crew leading from start to finish. They then went on to beat Team Korea 2-1 in their match race clash to advance to the semifinals.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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