America’s Cup bosses announced Friday a probe into why the AC72 yacht on which Briton Andrew Simpson died “nose-dived” into the water, and said other AC72 boats will not train until next week.
They also refused to rule out any options when asked if the AC72 catamaran could be dropped from the race or if the race itself could be cancelled — although the main organizer said he believes it will be a “fantastic event.”
The fatal accident came after an Oracle AC72 capsized in spectacular fashion in October on San Francisco Bay, although no one was injured, and has revived questions about the new boat.
Given the circumstances, the Oracle team would not train with its two AC72s before Monday, said America’s Cup Regatta Director Iain Murray. Two other teams with AC72s are not yet ready to train.
Thursday’s mishap happened during regular training and in normal conditions in San Francisco Bay, with flat water and winds of 18-20 knots, organizers told a press conference.
“The boat nose-dived .. the boat ended up upside-down capsized, broken into many pieces,” said 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, referring to Simpson by his TV-inspired nickname.
Americas Cup chief executive Stephen Barclay repeatedly declined to speculate on what happened, saying Murray had been tasked with conducting an independent review.
Asked if AC72 boats could be barred from the race, or if the race itself could be canceled, he said: “Nothing is off the table. We need to find what happened.”
But a few questions later he said: “I’ve got absolutely no doubt that the event in San Francisco will be a fantastic event.”
[Image via Agence France-Presse]