America's Cup: Sailor Refers to Boats as "Godforsaken Deathtraps"
|What comes next?|
The 17 or so racing syndicates organizers dazzled city officials with have been whittled down to four. And just how much money the city is going to bleed into the event and how much the private fund-raisers "endeavored" to raise remain contentious issues.
The one thing everybody on both sides of the issue could agree on was that the race itself -- the end result of all this contentious bickering -- would be a marvel. Space age boats, world-class crews, the backdrop of San Francisco Bay: Instant classic.
Or so we'd thought. The death of British Gold Medalist Andrew Simpson last week when the Team Artemis boat broke up in relatively routine conditions has thrown even that into doubt. Doubt, in fact, may not be strong enough a word. A crew member on one of the America's Cup boats had this to say to the New Zealand Herald:
"I hope like hell that whoever survives this thing and wins it changes the boat class to anything safer than these God-forsaken death traps."See Also: Sailor's Death in Boat Breakup Forces Painful Questions
As America's Cup officials ponder how to proceed in the wake of the fatal wreck, the unnamed sailors quoted in Andrew Alderson's piece make it very clear what they'd prefer:
"I hope after all of this, the only place people see these yachts are in museums and pictures."
While a determination of what led to the boat's demise continues, it has been reported that the vessel had a problematic streak of cracking and breaking, and had been in and out of the repair shed.
As SF Weekly noted last week, Artemis, unlike some of the other syndicates, actually has a spare boat to fall back on. Whether it will use it is undetermined; the team has not yet returned messages asking what it plans to do in the wake of Simpson's death.
A meeting between America's Cup organizers and the four competing teams is scheduled for tomorrow. It remains to be seen what steps will be taken moving forward. The underlying promise of a spectacular event may yet come to pass. Or, like the doomed AC72 catamaran, the entire enterprise may yet crumple in upon itself. And sink.