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Investigation into AC72 Artemis Racing capsize

America’s Cup bosses have announced a probe into why the AC72 catamaran on which Andrew Simpson died “nose-dived” into the water, and said other AC72 boats will not train until next week. “The boat nose-dived, the boat ended up upside-down capsized, broken into many pieces,” said America's Cup Regatta Director Iain Murray, who struggled to compose himself at first. It appears Bart was trapped under some of the solid sections of the yacht, out of view out of sight to the myriad of people on board, trying to locate him,” he said.

Simpson's twin-hulled boat was performing a so-called "bear-away" maneuver, turning away from the wind, when one bow dropped under the water's surface, and the vessel flipped over, America's Cup spokesman Tim Jeffery told Reuters.

But other reports point to a main beam failure cause of the capsize. Wired.com claims that:

The boat simply broke apart under sail, folded, then flipped. The Artemis boat has had a history of cracking and problems with the carbon fiber used in the twin “beams”. Today, however, the forward beam — the girder in front of the sail — gave way during a practice run.

The two hulls, no longer connected, began sailing in slightly different directions. This caused one hull to snap just forward of the aft beam, and the mast, held up by high-tension rigging connected to the front of the hulls, simply fell over. The boat began to cartwheel, ultimately trapping Simpson underneath and drowning him.

Regatta Director Iain Murray will lead a review into the events surrounding the capsize of Artemis Racing’s first AC72 and the subsequent tragic death of crewman Andrew Simpson. No timetable has been placed on completing the review. The San Francisco Police Department is also conducting its own review as normal procedure when there is loss of life.

“This is a tragic reminder of the challenges faced by sailors on the water, whether they’re commercial sailors or recreational or professional sailors,” said Captain Matt Bliven of the U.S. Coast Guard sector San Francisco, which will liaise with Murray on the review.

Torbjörn Törnqvist, Chairman of Artemis Racing, released the following statement today:

“Our thoughts are with Andrew’s family, who suffered a tragic loss yesterday—of a son, a father, and a husband. As our friend and teammate, Andrew “Bart” Simpson was central to Artemis Racing, both in the course of racing and our lives. His presence and personality was a binding force and he will be missed. Right now, the primary focus of Artemis Racing is on the well-being of our team members and their families, and the America’s Cup competition will remain second to that.”

Artemis Racing will conduct a thorough analysis and review of this accident and will be looking at how the risks inherent to such competitive sailing can be limited in the future for the safety of the team and all competitors in the sailing community.

G New
10 May 2013 22:34 GMT


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