America’s Cup racers ponder future after tragedy

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The America’s Cup Artemis Racing team is back to work for the first time since a practice run accident on the 72-foot catamaran killed Andrew "Bart'' Simpson.

“We will only race if our sailing team believes they are safe racing AC72s,” Artemis CEO Paul Cayard said on the team’s website. “This confidence will be dependent on many criteria, one of the most important of which is the new safety criteria and rules changes that the America’s Cup organizers and competitors will adopt.”

Body armor and high-visibility helmets for crewmembers are among the recommendations made by a group of sailing experts addressing safety concerns in the America's Cup.

But the biggest change is the wind speed maximum has been reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph, according to KGO San Francisco.

The safety group also suggested flexible start time for races, based on wind, projected tidal flows and wind limits, plus safe buffer zones around course boundaries and obstructions. The group led by regatta director Iain Murray unveiled 37 proposals in all on Wednesday, according to KTVU.

Officials are still investigating what caused the 72-foot catamaran to capsize and break into pieces. The owner of the Italian entry Luna Rossa had proposed a prohibition on racing if winds are deemed too strong.

“Regarding the accident on San Francisco Bay, Artemis Racing is still in the process of conducting its own internal review,” Cayard wrote on the team website. “I understand that frustration exists out there because questions remain about the accident. It was, however, a complex event. We want to give it the time, respect and professionalism it deserves, so we thank everyone for their continued patience during this process.”