Andrew Simpson, a British double Olympic medalist and a sailor with the Swedish Artemis Racing team, has died in the capsize of an AC72 catamaran while practicing in San Francisco Bay for the upcoming America’s Cup races. One other sailor is reported to be seriously injured There were 11 crew on the boat when it capsized. The boat is reported to have been completely destroyed in the crash.
The AC72 catamarans are 72′ on the waterline with a beam of 45′ and a rigid wing sail 13 stories high, or roughly the length of a 747 wing. Each boat is estimated to cost roughly $10 million. The Artemis is the second AC72 to have capsized. An Oracle AC72 crashed and capsized last October, though no one was injured. Both the Oracle and Artemis teams have been practicing sailing the huge catamarans on hydrofoils, which lifts both hulls out of the water. ”Foiling” as it is called, can increase boat speed but is also considered to be very dangerous.