America’s Cup practice suspended after accident

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Investigators asked America’s Cup teams on Friday to temporarily suspend practice on San Francisco Bay following a deadly accident last week.

At the same time, the head of the Italian sailing team in the America's Cup called on Friday for lowering limits on wind speeds and other safety measures to make the regatta less dangerous, according to The Guardian, a British newspaper.

Prada fashion house co-founder Patrizio Bertelli said that if the other three participants can’t agree on ways to improve safety, his team, Luna Rossa Challenge, could withdraw from the international competition, which is set to get under way in July in San Francisco Bay.

Organizers have said the races will go ahead despite growing public concerns about safety after a British champion sailor was killed when one of the sleek, ultra-fast AC72 catamarans built for the competition capsized and broke apart last week.

They have left open the possibility of changes to the rules of the race, according to Reuters, brought to San Francisco by Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, whose team won the trophy in 2010 in Valencia, Spain.

The death of Artemis' Andrew Simpson, a two-time Olympic medalist, marked the second time that an expert crew on one of the high-tech yachts, estimated to cost about $8 million each, lost control and flipped its boat in the heavy winds of San Francisco Bay.

Simpson was trapped underwater after the Artemis catamaran turned upside down and broke apart while training. Winds had been blowing at 18 to 20 knots, or about 23 to 25 miles an hour, which race organizers described as typical for the bay.

Click here for the full Guardian report.