Skip to comments.Before America's Cup Capsize [Accident], Concerns About Safety
Posted on 05/10/2013 11:11:40 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
In the days before Andrew "Bart" Simpson, a two-time Olympic medalist for Great Britain, died in San Francisco Bay Thursday while training for the America's Cup yacht race, his teammates expressed serious concerns about the competition's safety.
Nathan Outteridge, the helmsman for Artemis Racing, Mr. Simpson's team, said in an interview last week he believed it was "pretty likely" that a boat would capsize or crash during the competition, given the bay's harsh sailing conditions and a new design of the boats in this year's race that made them faster but less stable. Artemis sailing director and tactician Iain Percy put the changes of such an accident at 75%.
A spokeswoman for Artemis declined to elaborate on those comments Friday.
Given the conditions and new boat design this year, organizers for the first time had enacted new safety rules requiring sailors to wear crash helmets during practice and competition. Sailors also were required to carry oxygen canisters and sharp knives in case they became trapped beneath boat netting.
The fatal accident Thursday afternoon came during a practice session for the race, which is set to begin July 4. Artemis, a Swedish team, was performing a tricky maneuver called a bear-away, in which a boat turns away from the wind. Mr. Simpson, 36 years old, who won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics and a silver at the 2012 Games, was submerged under the boat for as long as 10 minutes after the accident. The team said doctors failed to revive him afloat and later onshore at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. The other 10 sailors also were sent into the water but escaped major injury.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
“Nathan Outteridge, the helmsman for Artemis Racing, Mr. Simpson’s team, said in an interview last week he believed it was “pretty likely” that a boat would capsize or crash during the competition, given the bay’s harsh sailing conditions and a new design of the boats in this year’s race that made them faster but less stable.”
If so, why is he even on the boat....
Every man for himself.
As an aside, I've been racking my brain about the "bear away" maneuver. It used to be named another way, and I can't remember either it or the "call" that it was about to be performed. Any sailors out there?
I have heard it mentioned as bearaway set....some more info:
Jibe! That’s the word! Thank you very much.
All I can find is that the bear away maneuver is also called "HELM TO WINDWARD."
They are racing 70’ catamarans in Americas Cup now? Ridiculous. A “Bear away” in multihull sailing is a way to deal with a gust. Traditionally in a gust you either trun slightly into the wind and/or ease the sails to depower. On modern racing multihulls they sometimes turn away from the wind to make it easier to fly the upwind hull, balancing it out by easing the main sail and keep the boat moving fast. All while going 30+ knots across the water. Very rad stuff and not in the Americas Cup Tradition.
I looked it up. Very, very interesting.
1. To go from one Tack to the other when running with the wind coming over the Stern.
2. The moment when the Boom swings across the Hull while changing tacks in this manner.
If handeled correctly a Fore and Aft rigged vessel should be able to Jibe safely regardless of wind strength. This is accomplished through easing Preventer tackle (if any) and by hauling in the main sheets so that there is less travel for the main Boom during the Jibe.
An unintentional Jibe - which can be the result of sailing-by-the-lea can be very dangerous and can cause serious damage to the Ship.
this has turned into more about radial boat design than sailing skill though a lot of skill is involved. like so many things today it has devolved from the original good intent.
When we, as a family sailed, we said “ready to jibe” -—— then “jibe ho!” as the turn was made. ( duck down time! )
I don’t understand why the catamarans are being used. Bring back 12 meter sloops!
racing implies going fast. why is motorcycle racing at the highest level on 190hp carbon fiber works machines and not Harley Softails?
Seems like a freak accident. Beach cats capsize all the time and no one dies. the precautions seem reasonable. wonder why he couldn’t use his emergency air.