At this point, a confidential Artemis report says, the boat was steering into position to put the wind at its back – “bearing away” in yachting parlance. It’s a tricky maneuver, a 180-degree turn known as “the zone of death,” because the boats may accelerate out of control, while shifting from upwind to downwind.
As the Artemis AC72 attempted its downwind turn, downward pressure was put onto the front of the twin hulls, pushing them into the water. As the front of the boat dug in, the Artemis report says, the back of the boat lifted up, a situation called pitchpoling.
Peyron was following in a chase boat, so had a pretty good view. It is not the final word, but definitely key testimony from an expert witness. Here’s the key point Peyron makes in the story:
The accident was “a classic capsize situation,” said Loick Peyron, one of the team’s two helmsmen. He confirmed that the yacht capsized, as has been reported, while the Artemis crew was executing a bear-away maneuver: a downwind turn away from the breeze that has been a particular challenge in this class of Cup boats.
Just saw this, and it is well worth watching. I wonder what Simpson would think of what is now happening to the Cup that he gave his life for, and the idea that his death might be used to try to rewrite the design rules for competitive advantage.
A few days ago, Ainslie attended the funeral of his friend Andrew Simpson. The next day he and his crew went out and broke a 16-year old record by racing their AC45 around the Isle Of Wight in 2 hours 52 minutes and 15 seconds (beating the old record by some 16 minutes).
It was a fitting way to pay tribute to Simpson, and a perfect sailing day.
While the VOR sailors are in full concentration mode as they sail around the southern tip of Africa at 20 knots, the South African marine community who had the fortune of participating in the Leg 2 sendoff yesterday are still floating in the clouds from the experience. The passengers on this Leopard 51 Powercat included.
Leopard South Africa sales manager Daniel Snyman arranged for the locally designed and built power cat to serve as a VIP boat for the sendoff. He reported to us, his stateside colleagues, today: “The wind was pumping and the 51PC was absolutely amazing!! Outstanding performance in very windy conditions… Indescribable, if you were not on board!” He even went so far as to apologize that we did not get to participate in the “unforgettable trip.”
With designer Alexander Simonis at the wheel of his own creation, the power cat gracefully pushed through rough seas produced by the 35-40 knot winds in order to stay with the fleet.…
A stirring tribute to a sailor who always seemed to be smiling. It’s a nice testament to, by all accounts, a great guy and a great sailor. Which only makes it all the more saddening that he lost his life for something that is as essentially trivial (in a cosmic sense) as that plaything of billionaires–the America’s Cup.