Emirates Team New Zealand's AC45 catamaran is the latest casualty of the feisty San Francisco breeze, capsizing in a practice race for the America's Cup World Series regatta today.
Team NZ suffered minor damage to the top of the wingsail in a soft capsize in 17-20 knot sou'westerlies - typically fresh San Francisco Bay conditions. All of the crew were unharmed in the accident.
In the last ACWS event in Newport, Rhode Island, the Team NZ wing was badly damaged when the boat capsized in slow motion, but took hours to right when the wing extension filled with water. This time, they managed to right the boat quickly, but returned to land under sail to make repairs before their official racing schedule begins on Thursday.
As one of the top five from the last ACWS series, Team NZ does not have to race in tomorrow's match race qualifiers.
Seven of the 11 boats in the fleet will spend tonight in the pits repairing damage after another tough day at the office. Three other boats suffered wing damage today, and Team China suffered the ignominy of flipping their cat while their new sponsor was sailing on board as a guest. While no one was injured, the sponsor was reported to be "a bit shaken" by the experience.
Earlier in the week, Luna Rossa, Artemis and Team Korea also capsized on the bay. Luna Rosa's pitch pole was the worst carnage so far, and meant they have had to borrow the only spare wing available during the regatta.
There was excitement off the water too, with the arrival of the first Artemis AC72 catamaran. The boat was shipped from Valencia to the team's new base in San Francisco.
"Our AC72 is here, will be good to start sailing on the bay," CEO Paul Cayard tweeted on the boat's arrival.
First impressions of the cat's hulls and platform are that it looks heavier that Team NZ's first cat, NZL2, has low freeboard forward of the wingsail, and a lot of rocker in the hulls, looking to generate lift from their daggerboards.
Defender Oracle's first 72ft cat is still in the shed in San Francisco, yet to get its first taste of water.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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