If you’re a fan of the America’s Cup catamaran races, you’re probably aware of just how dominant team Oracle is in the competition. Not only are they the previous winners champions from last year, but they’ve also pulled away with numerous first and second place finishes for several smaller races this year. Analysts say it’s a combination of their technology, skilled crew members and overall experience that’s led to their success. However, in a strange turn of events, team Oracle’s $10 million racing catamaran capsized off the coast of San Fransisco, California last week when they were practicing for next year’s America’s Cup tournament.
The incident took occurred on Tuesday when Oracle Team USA was out sailing their catamaran in the waters surrounding San Francisco. Although no one knows for sure exactly what causes the catamaran to capsize, one of the crew members, Tom Singsby, stated that high winds contributed to pulling the nose up, which in turn tumbled the boat over on its size. While this incident is certain to cost millions of dollars in repairs, thankfully no one was injured as a result. All eleven crew members were picked up and carried away without injury.
Catamarans have a tendency to capsize, especially in conditions with high winds. When Oracle Team USA set out for practice last Tuesday, they were experiencing winds of roughly 25 knots, which is pretty strong to say the least. According to spectators, when Oracle Team USA tried to make a turn, the wind picked the boat up and turned it on its side. When this happened, several support boats were standing by to offer assistance to the now-capsized catamaran. In an effort to prevent it from sinking to the bottom, airbags were attached to the sides to help keep it afloat. Team Oracle announced after the incident that the Coast Guard was not called in to help.
It’s unclear how much damage the Oracle Team USA catamaran sustained during the incident, but chances are it will be out of commission for at least a couple weeks. The entire value of the catamaran is roughly $10 million, but thankfully it wasn’t totaled in the incident. We do know that the $2 million wing sail was completely destroyed when the boat capsized. In addition, there are likely other damages to the hull that needs patching up. In any case, the repair team has their work cut out for them if they want to keep Oracle Team USA ready to defend their title at the 2013 America’s Cup race.
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