Oracle Team USA boat capsizes

October 16, 2012 11:55:43 PM PDT
A major blow was dealt to Oracle's sailing team when its 72-foot catamaran, designed for next year's America's Cup race, capsized Tuesday afternoon.

The boat valued at $8 to $10 million flipped over near the Golden Gate Bridge, resulting in extensive damage. Team members were still working late Tuesday night to tow it back to Pier 80 in San Francisco. The first broken piece of it arrived at Pier 80 around 9:30 p.m.

"The two bows of the boat dug into the water and the boat cartwheeled over itself," said Stephen Barclay, America's Cup CEO.

Oracle sailing team's AC 72 came crashing down on its eighth training exercise, when rough seas and strong wind caused the boat to topple over and capsize.

"It's pretty scary I guess. It's a surreal feeling," described Tom Slingsby, the Oracle Team USA tactician. "I was as high as anyone, for me, I was lucky I was able to held on and we slowly made our way down and were able to jump."

At least 13 people were on board the multi-million-dollar yacht that some call a monster to sail. It is nearly twice as long as those used in the America's Cup World Series, but the AC 72 is stronger, faster, and harder to control.

Home video was taken of it as a group of on lookers watched the boat go down from the St. Francis Yacht Club.

"I've seen other capsizes, I've seen the AC 45s go over and none of them have failed quite as disastrously as this," said Andi Overton, a witness.

It was disastrous because having the AC 72 out of commission will mean a major setback for Team Oracle.

"The fact that this boat will be out of action for a period of time, that's where the setback is because they won't be able to train, won't be able to learn, and make it go faster," said Barclay.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, the majority of the boat was still several miles away, moving about 1 mph. Team Oracle expects it to arrive at Pier 80 at about 2 or 3 a.m.


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