Artemis Racing to Skip Early America’s Cup Trials After Accident

Artemis Racing will miss a few early trials in the 34th America’s Cup as the team prepares its new boat after the fatal capsizing of its catamaran in San Francisco Bay.

The replacement AC72 should be ready to launch in July to compete for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the team said yesterday on its website.

“We are working around the clock to get our new boat ready, in the water and to prepare our team to race,” said Paul Cayard, chief executive officer of Artemis Racing. “We still have a mountain to climb, but our plan is to launch our new boat in early July and get ourselves in a position where we can race by the end of the month.”

When the boat can be pushed hard in race conditions, it will join the competition, the Swedish team said.

“Learning that Artemis Racing is focused on getting to the start line is truly great news,” said Stephen Barclay, the chief executive officer of the America’s Cup Event Authority. “I don’t think we can expect them to be ready for the first races, but I’m certain the America’s Cup community will support them in every way possible.”

Artemis put its racing on hold after the death of Andrew Simpson, 36, who died May 9 when he was trapped beneath a section of a capsized yacht, out of sight from other vessels and divers searching for him. Simpson won a gold medal for Britain in the Star class at the 2008 Olympics as crew for Iain Percy, now Artemis’s sailing team director. The pair won a silver medal in 2012.

Preliminaries Reduced

The accident was the second involving the new 72-foot (22-meter) boats being used in the Cup. Powered by 131-foot carbon wing sails and capable of skimming above the water on hydrofoils at speeds exceeding 40 knots (46 mph, 74 kph), they are among the fastest sailboats ever built. Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team, the defending champion, destroyed a wing during an October training accident.

After Artemis confirmed its plans to enter the competition, Regatta Director Iain Murray reduced the number of preliminary rounds to five from seven to give the teams more maintenance time between races.

The first race of the series begins July 7. Emirates Team New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa will compete against each other in the early weeks of the round-robin series. When Artemis decides to enter the races, it will be allowed to hold a third-place berth and compete in the semifinals. The winner will advance to the finals against the first-place boat.

The winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup finals will then take on defender Oracle Racing USA in the America’s Cup finals that start Sept. 7.

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