Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wind: 1, Oracle: 0

Team Oracle's amazing new 72-foot catamaran met with an ugly incident during race training yesterday: America's Cup boat flips in S.F. Bay.

Tom Slingsby, the tactician of Oracle Team USA 17 - the 72-foot racing yacht - said the flip occurred in stiff winds of about 24 knots as he and the rest of the crew were "pushing the limits of the boat."

It's not clear how extensive the damage is:

During the crash, pieces of the enormous wing and rigging snapped off. When the craft drifted beyond the mouth of the Golden Gate around 5 p.m., it was still on its side, but then as the mast broke off, the boat turned upside down.

One thing is for sure: the puny vessels we humans construct are nothing against the power of the ocean:

The Oracle team, headquartered at Pier 80 south of the Bay Bridge, dispatched nine safety boats to try to right the craft or tow it back. But the current, driven by the strongest tide of the year, was too much, and the helpless Oracle crews could only accompany the vessel as it was swept 4 miles west of the Golden Gate.

Some pictures and more details at Kimball Livingston's blog: Oracle's Pitchpole

Update: Wired Magazine has more pictures and information here.

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