Tragedy struck the San Francisco Bay sailing community on May 9 when Artemis’ (the Swedish team’s) AC72 capsized, losing one of its crew. We send our thoughts and prayers to Andrew Simpson’s family and friends, Team Artemis and all those involved in the America’s Cup races. According to the Regatta Director Iain Murray, a full review of the incident is underway today with the four teams competing in the America’s Cup ‘Summer of Racing’ – ORACLE TEAM USA, Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge. The teams may elect to make some changes to what lays ahead for the America’s Cup races this summer.
According to our friends at Mojo Sailing, Wired.com seems to have the most coherent article about the Artemis capsize and the loss of Andrew Simpson:
“…Preliminary reports indicate Artemis’s boat didn’t capsize because the sailors were pushing too hard or made a mistake, as was the case with Team Oracle. The problem was with the boat itself, either faulty engineering or faulty construction. 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” — the two girders that lash the two narrow hulls together. The boat had been in and out of the shed numerous times in an attempt to correct those problems. 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.”
From our friends at Latitude 38: May 9, 2013, the day of the incident.
Artemis’ AC72 Flips, Crewman DIes
An Artemis Racing AC72 cat flipped in the Central Bay this afternoon at approximately 1:10 this afternoon. From aerial photos it appears that the Swedish team’s boat suffered major damage; the forward crossbeam appears to have parted from one of the masts or broken.
Initially, VHF channel 16 radio reports were heard, reporting that one crewman was missing. He was eventually found, however. It’s been reported that a crewmember was taken ashore to the St. Francis YC docks by rescue personnel. There he was seen receiving CPR on the docks.
Shortly after 2 p.m. today the SF Fire Department confirmed that the injured crewman has died.
Update: A statement by Artemis Racing confirms the identity of their fallen teammate. British double Olympic medalist Andrew Simpson, 36, was trapped under the capsized boat for 10-15 minutes and could not be resuscitated.
The boat is under tow to Clipper Cove on Treasure Island. – latitude /andy