SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Sweden-based sailing team that was hit with a tragic loss earlier this year was eliminated over the weekend in the challenger series for the America’s Cup, but bowed out gracefully in a display of sportsmanship that has been a hallmark of the team’s return to the water.
Artemis Racing lost its fourth straight race to the Italian team Luna Rossa Challenge on Saturday in the best-of-seven semifinal of the Louis Vuitton Cup on San Francisco Bay.
The team had struggled to prepare for the competition after Artemis sailor Andrew “Bart” Simpson was killed when one of the team’s AC72 catamarans capsized during a practice run on the Bay on May 9.
The accident broke apart the catamaran, forcing the crew to hastily prepare its second boat in time for racing. Artemis finally launched the second vessel less than two weeks before the start of the semifinals.
“I’m hugely proud of our team, it’s been a terrible period,” Artemis skipper Iain Percy said in a post-race news conference.
“My thoughts go to my teammates and to ‘Bart’ and his family,” Percy said. “He would’ve been so proud of us, considering this is something that none of us thought we’d be able to do two months ago when we lost him. We’ve enjoyed every second because we knew what an achievement it was just to be out here.”
Luna Rossa Challenge will now face Emirates Team New Zealand to determine who will take on Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup Finals in September.
The New Zealand team easily beat the Swedish team in the round-robin portion of the Louis Vuitton Cup last month.
Chris Draper, helmsman for Luna Rossa Challenge, said, “The team has taken a good few steps forward the past couple of weeks. For sure we’ve improved a lot, but we’ve all seen the Kiwis are very, very solid. We’re going to have to sail incredibly well.”
Racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup final will begin next Saturday. More information about the races can be found online at www.americascup.com.
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