In May this year the Americas Cup made global headlines when a sailor was killed whilst training on the waters of San Francisco Bay.
Britain’s Andrew Simpson, a double Olympic medallists and crew member for Sweden’s Artemis Racing team died when he become trapped underwater when the seventy two foot multi-hull he was sailing capsized and broke up on San Francisco Bay.
Beyond the devastating effects on his family and friends the impact of the fatal accident hit the sport of sailing and in particular the Americas Cup world hard. With the 34th edition of the Cup due to take place on the same waters this summer in the fastest, most extreme boats ever seen in the events long history there was an immediate safety review by the organisers.
Artemis Racing were a team in shock and understandably their headquarters went into lock down.
Mainsail has followed the Artemis Americas Cup story since the beginning and in June was invited to their base.
Shirley met a team where emotions were raw, where every day is hard for everyone and where Simpson’s death leaves an irreplaceable gap. The team could have easily walked away from the Cup but this is not the route that they have chosen and as Shirley sees first hand they have embarked on a massive and ambitious build programme to replace their ‘written off’ boat and be on the race course this summer. There are no guarantees that they will make it.
And there are no guarantees of the exact format of the competition they will enter as the organisers are fine tuning safety rules and regulations, with agreement needed from competing teams and the coastguard.
The mission for the organisers is to eliminate as much risk as possible and prevent the unthinkable happening again.
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