Skip to content

My heart will go on: Oracle boat capsizes yet again in America’s Cup tuneup

Oct 17, 2012, 3:47 PM EDT

Americas Cup Capsize Sailing AP

Hang on, Rose! Don’t look down!

Tricky, delicate things, these America’s Cup boats. Remember when they resembled actual sailing yachts? Now looking at them is like watching the opening credits of Hawaii Five-0, only without so much abandoning ship.

It happened again in San Francisco Bay on Tuesday, as the U.S. entry in the America’s Cup, the Oracle AC72 catamaran, got tipsy and capsized in San Francisco Bay during a practice run.

All 11 crew members safely escaped the 72-foot racing yacht, but strong winds and tides have hampered recovery of the $10 million craft. Oracle Team USA officials noted that damage to the craft and its wingsail are indeed significant.

“We did something we had hoped we would never do, and that’s capsize an AC72,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The most important part is that all the crew are safe, and no injuries.”

Am I missing something? Didn’t this just happen a couple of weeks ago? Yes, it did. (UPDATE: Explanation in comments below).

The boat was finally retrieved early this morning (in my mind, pushed to shore by a pod of benevolent dolphins). Here’s how the capsizing happened. Here’s what happened on Aug. 9.

“I’ll never put on a lifejacket again. So, eleven hundred men went into the water, 316 men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.”

  1. acp1306 - Oct 18, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Yes, you are missing something. This boat (AC72) wasn’t launched until the end of August. Both prior capsizings that you referenced involved the 45′ Oracle boats racing in the AC World Series.

  2. cur68 - Oct 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    In the capsizing you showed earlier and link to, Mr. Chandler, they were deploying a jib. They had some bad luck there: the jib tends to cause the bow of the boat to dive as the boat gathers speed from the extra sail. Normally this is not a problem: the bow pushes water out of the way and, as she get up to speed, the bow resumes normal level. However they deployed right into a large wave and the bows went under and ‘stuck’ there. Momentum and wind did the rest. No film this time to show what happened with this boat but the crew did mention the speed and the hulls digging in. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same deal OR if they were weighted incorrectly for the speed they were traveling OR both.

  3. manchestermiracle - Oct 21, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Yeah, and high-speed race cars crash occasionally. So?