Fail on America’s Cup challenger sends shockwaves as AC75 dismasts

sailors from after demasting stand around on AC75

BoatOne, Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s brand new AC75, touched the water for the first time on 16 April. And, only a couple a months later has dismasted, a highly unusual occurrence.

Thursday 13 June was a punchy day in Barcelona with the breeze peaking at 22 knots….perfect for testing and training in top end conditions. But midway through what Alinghi Red Bull Racing Team later said had been a very productive session, drama struck as the Swiss boat was dismasted shortly after a bear away.

sequence of pictures showing the demasting of AC75. Alinghi Red Bull Racing

“It resulted in the mast breaking into pieces . . . we’re getting into the repairs. We know things like this can happen, they’re not uncommon. We have spares . . . it’s going to be important to put it all together as soon as possible and get back into the preparation,” Silvio Arrivabene, co-general manager of Alinghi Red Bull Racing, told Matt Sheahan from PlanetSail.

Sheahan says the incident will have sent shock-waves through the entire America’s Cup community as it’s the first time an AC75 has lost its mast. The AC75 masts have to conform to specific dimensions. Teams aren’t allowed to reduce the laminate thickness but they can add to it. The standing rigging is strictly one design. So given the strict controls, this dismasting will be a concern for everyone.

“This afternoon, while executing a bear away in 20-knot winds, there was a mast failure on BoatOne,” says Arrivabene in a statement. “Everybody on board is safe, which is the most important thing. The boat is already back ashore which will allow us to quickly assess the cause of the failure.

“Incidents like this are part of the sport. The team is prepared for this kind of situation and ready with all the necessary spare parts, so the focus is now on getting BoatOne back on the water as soon as possible.”

Recently, trimmer Bryan Mettraux, who has a background in designing boats as well as racing them, said BoatOne had been a dream to sail. “What’s been great from the first month is that we haven’t had any issues in the boat. Both the design and shore teams have done an amazing job of delivering us a reliable boat, and it’s really filling the team with confidence.”

Luckily the team were planning to expect the unexpected, Mettraux said. “We still have a lot to learn to sail the boat properly, mainly how to get it consistently going fast. These are really complicated boats, so it takes time. And we haven’t had really strong wind yet, so I’m excited to see how BoatOne performs when we get it.”

Continue reading about the America’s Cup.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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