America's Cup Artemis team back after tragedy

June 14, 2013 7:19:18 PM PDT
The America's Cup racing team that lost a sailor in a deadly crash on San Francisco Bay is trying to get back on track. Still, there are concerns that modern yacht racing is too fast and too dangerous.

The Artemis boat is back in the water but its chief executive officer won't talk about the accident that caused the team's 72-foot yacht to break in two last May.

"You know I'm not really going to enter into the details. The boat did suffer structural damage. That's obvious from all the pictures," said Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard.

Cayard is waiting for the official investigation to conclude but three years before the accident, when the America's Cup first came to San Francisco, he was cautious.

"This stuff's going to be pretty dangerous. The boat's going 50 mph so if you hit, if the boat tips over or, god forbid, if there's a crash, there's going to be bodies flying around," he said.

The accident and the death of team member Andrew Simpson has not caused Artemis to lose its taste for the game.

"You know we got knocked down but we didn't get knocked out. So we're, we're fighting to compete. We're, there's a lot of successful people on this team and they didn't win gold medals and get to where they got by rolling over when the hill gets steep," said Cayard.

He says the hill is quite steep. It appears Artemis' second boat won't be ready to race until late July and they'll miss the first round of racing that starts July 7.

"We're just up against it time-wise. We're not going to have nearly as much training and practice as the other teams," said Cayard.

Artemis has been training in their smaller 45-foot catamaran and they've won some races against Oracle in that category. They are training on boats equipped with hydrofoils but Cayard knows that still leaves a big question.

"Do they have enough time in the [72-footer] to, you know, understand the nuances of that to win races in that? I mean, I'd love to be able to tell you absolutely but we'll have to wait and see," he said.

This is the seventh time Cayard has participated in the America's Cup contest and he says this one is the most difficult one yet.


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