The 60-foot trimaran Foncia capsized off Lorient, France, during training Saturday morning, according to the Alinghi Web Site (http://www.alinghi.com/en/).
The 10 crew onboard were preparing for a race against rival America’s Cup group BMW Oracle when it was caught in 20-knot winds and choppy waters.
According to crewmember Ed Baird, both the leeward and center hull dug into the sea and the rudders came out just as the trimaran was bearing away, causing it to capsize forward. Two crew members were airlifted to a local hospital and released the same day with no serious injuries.
“The crew reacted very quickly in getting everyone back on board, doing a head count and checking injuries before calling for help and beginning to secure the boat,” Baird said in the report.
Team Alinghi, which is headed by Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli, has won the last two America’s Cup races and is preparing for a showdown against BMW Oracle group, run by software mogul Larry Ellison. The race is to be in 90-foot multihulls off Valencia, Spain, scheduled for early October. Following a long legal squabble, Justice Herman Cahn of the New York State Supreme Court ruled in favor of BMW Oracle for a second time in early March, recognizing their status as the challenger of record for the next America’s Cup.
Foncia was towed back to harbor and was craned out to assess damage. Baird said while capsizing is part of training, it was unfortunate this happened on a craft that did not belong to them, but rather to French sailor Alain Gautier who only recently announced joining Team Alinghi. Bertarelli does own two Extreme 40 catamarans that are being used for crew training in Valencia, according to the report.
— Elizabeth Ellis