Sport

Artemis crew member labels AC72s yachts 'death traps'

"I hope like hell that whoever survives this thing and wins it changes the boat class to anything safer than these God-forsaken death traps."

That statement from a crew member - on the condition of anonymity for himself and the team - summed up the general reaction to the death of 36-year-old Artemis sailor Andrew Simpson when the hulls of his America's Cup team's training yacht snapped in relatively mild wind conditions on San Francisco Bay on Friday.

Members of all the teams competing in the America's Cup qualifying regatta have stayed silent, publicly at least, as they contemplate how to react to one of the biggest crises faced by the event in its 162-year history.

Privately, one reflected the view of many when he said, "I hope after all of this, the only place people see these yachts is in museums and pictures."

America's Cup organisers have yet to decide what happens next, but the series, scheduled to be contested against defending champion Oracle from July 7, is definitely in doubt.

Stephen Barclay, chief executive of the America's Cup Event Authority, said, "Nothing is off the table. We need to know what happened."

Already there is talk both the challenger series and America's Cup might be contested in scaled-down AC45s rather than the AC72s.

A meeting involving the organisers and all teams is scheduled for Wednesday (US time), where more will be revealed on how the event progresses.

For now, the Coastguard has impounded the boat and police are still involved.

Lawyers are understood to be circling.

A source with a team in San Francisco says the Artemis designers might be the first to need legal counsel: "Their arses will be on the line. I don't know how they can avoid it the way the boat just crumpled."

"Those boats (AC72s) are so finely tuned to factors like who can build the lightest mast. Something was always likely to be compromised in design," another team member said.

Another complicating issue is the mental state of Iain Percy, the sailing director of the Artemis team.

Percy had originally encouraged Simpson, the best man at his wedding, to take up a contract with the team, and speculation was rife he may abandon his role and return to England.

It all seems such a world away from the America's Cup the whole of Australia embraced when John Bertrand skippered Australia II to victory against Dennis Conner's Liberty in 1983, the first time the Americans had lost the trophy in 132 years.

Topics:  accident, america's cup, fatal, sailing, san francisco


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sunshine Coast golf club goes into administration

Peregian Springs Golf Club. Photo Contributed

A struggling Coast golf club has been placed in administration

Butcher closes after 30 years as competition gets too tough

The growing number of supermarkets are compromising small business

QLD BIG WET: Swift Water teams called out 27 times

A number of car driving across Bowhill Rd at Willawong despite it being closed due to flooding. Photo: Penny Dahl / Twitter

Swift Water Rescue teams were called into action 27 times

Latest deals and offers

Sunset swim almost turns to tragedy for tourist

A QUICK, sunset swim at Point Arkwright nearly turned into tragedy for Italian tourist, Samuel Galli.

Sunshine Coast golf club goes into administration

Peregian Springs Golf Club. Photo Contributed

A struggling Coast golf club has been placed in administration

Butcher closes after 30 years as competition gets too tough

The growing number of supermarkets are compromising small business

QLD BIG WET: Swift Water teams called out 27 times

A number of car driving across Bowhill Rd at Willawong despite it being closed due to flooding. Photo: Penny Dahl / Twitter

Swift Water Rescue teams were called into action 27 times

Youth training at F45 Coolum

Ashleigh Podlich training with Yasmine Selwood at F45 Coolum.

F5 Coolum are offering training for youth

Church elders covered up rape of young girl

Man jailed for eight months for rape of girl 'not even a teenager'

Caitlyn Shadbolt, Sara Storer join Gympie Muster bill

Caitlyn Shadbolt performs at CMC Rocks in March 2016.

AWARD-winning singers star in third line-up announcement.

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

Perisher has 50cm of snow

Resort to open after 50cm of snow.

Smiggin Holes and Blue Cow to open after 50cm of snaow falls in Perisher valley.

F1 pit stop in 1.92 seconds

Williams team make 1.92 second pit stop.

Williams Formula 1 team change all four tyres in equal fastest time ever.

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%