SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — The head of Artemis Racing said Wednesday his team will compete in the America’s Cup after a crew member was killed during a training run only if conditions are deemed safe on wind-raked San Francisco Bay this summer.
Artemis chief executive Paul Cayard posted his comments on Wednesday on the team’s website. They were his first public comments since May 9, the day crew member Andrew “Bart” Simpson died when Artemis’ catamaran capsized. Cayard said a decision to race will depend on what safety changes America’s Cup organizers adopt after completing their review of the May 9 incident.
Cayard said officials are still investigating what caused the 72-foot catamaran to capsize and break into pieces.
The catamarans of the four teams vying for the America’s Cup have proved hard to handle. The wing sail looks and acts like an airplane wing, improving the yacht’s speed and maneuverability. The 7-ton boat’s hulls are lifted out of the water and it skims along the waves on “foils,” reducing the drag on the boat and increasing speed dramatically.
Led by regatta director Iain Murray, a group of sailing experts is looking into the capsizing and developing safety recommendations for the course and the boats.
The owner of the Italian entry Luna Rossa has proposed a prohibition on racing if winds are deemed too strong. Others have recommended better ways of foiling, which is technically barred in the official regulations of the America’s Cup but the teams still have found legal ways to foil.
Other options under consideration are altering the tight course to allow for easier turning and better control of the boats and increasing the distance between spectator boats and racers.
The three teams vying to take on defending champion Oracle Racing begin competing in July.
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