Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wipeout: Crew sent flying as new catamaran cartwheels across sea in spectacular crash during first U.S. race


A little close the win: One of the crew falls on to the 'wing' of the Oracle Racing AC45 during an exhibition race in San Francisco Bay

This is the dramatic moment a new catamaran flipped over in a spectacular crash during a test run.

Crew members were sent hurling through the air after the Oracle Racing AC45 cartwheeled during an informal race in San Francisco Bay.

One crew member was sent to hospital for x-rays after falling on to the 'wing' of the futuristic catamaran.

Moments before a dunking: The crew cling on as the catamaran capsizes at high speed on its first appearance in the U.S.

The 45ft vessel - which has hard sails shaped like aircraft wings - also suffered damage after capsizing at high speed.

Russell Coutts, chief executive of Oracle Racing, said before the crash: 'We'll be duking it out and trying to beat the hell out of each other to get these guys ready to go and race the cup.

'Everyone's wearing helmets for a reason, there's a significant amount of risk.

'They're the fastest boats out there at the moment, and to get the most out of them you have to push.'

Splashdown: This sequence shows the moment the 45ft vessel flipped over and crashed into the sea

Wipe out: The sail of the new catamaran crashed to the surf during the informal race

Torn: The fabric of the 'wing' suffered damage during the crash and one crew members was taken to hospital for x-rays

Oracle Racing, backed by billionaire Larry Ellison, designed the boats as part of efforts to attract more viewers to the 34th America's Cup in 2013.

Built in New Zealand, this was the first time the carbon-fibre catamaran had made an appearance in the U.S.

Standardising the boats used in sailing's most prestigious event is meant to put the focus on sailors' ability, rather than the technological advantages of the vessels' design.

The Americas Cup has been reorganised to attract sponsors put off by bitter legal wrangling that clouded the 2010 cup won in Valencia by Oracle.

Check-up: Shannon Falcone, one of the boat's crew, is inspected by fire department personnel after he was thrown from the vessel

Salvage: Sailors attempt to right the catamaran after the race, which was staged to promote the 34th America's Cup

Repairs: The carbon-fibre catamaran was built in New Zealand and was making its first appearance in the U.S. in front of the San Francisco skyline

Competitors will use the new catamarans in 2011-2012 Americas Cup World Series starting in Cascais, Portugal, in August.

Larger 72ft AC72 catamarans, which have yet to be built, will be raced in the competition the following year in San Francisco.

Changes also include shorter races, independent race management and cost-cutting measures including limiting the number of boats, sails, equipment and support vessels.

The winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup, held in San Francisco Bay and starting in July 2013, will race Oracle, the Golden Gate Yacht Club's defending team, in the America's Cup in September.

BMW Oracle won last year's competition racing a giant trimaran featuring a 20-storey wing sail.

But that was overshadowed by more than two years of legal battle between Mr Ellison and biotechnology tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli, owner of Swiss team Alinghi.

Wrangling over the hosting rights and race rules resulted in a rare two-boat match without the usual challengers series that had helped to increase interest in the competition.

source: dailymail

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