Saturday, 31 May 2008

Extreme start for Alinghi in Lugano

Well, that was certainly exciting. Alinghi capsized in the very first race in the iShares cup in Lugano. You can see the sequence on the iShares Cup 2008 website

We started out normal enough. First start at 14:00 hours. Only the wind wouldn't settle. Each shower brought a big shift between these mountains surrounding this lake. Race office Peter Moore had a hard time getting the course set up. Especially because once you drop a mark here, the weight goes down for 200 meters. Not something you then change five minutes later.

Once set up, we started and even during the start sequence the wind veered off 40 degrees. Suddenly we had a reach course, going fast in between huge raindrops and squalls.

In one of those squalls Alinghi couldn't bear off fast enough and capsized. We were ahead and to leeward of them. At a certain point it becomes inevitable. You see it happening in slow motion. One hull flying, higher, higher and then even higher until the mast was almost parallel to the water.

One crew member dropped from the flying hull onto the mainsail. Another hit his face and got a cut lip. Fortunately that was the extent of personal injuries. The boat however didn’t sustained the incident without damage. I’m not sure, but I heard the mast broke while they tried to right the boat. Perhaps it was already weakened by the impact on the water.

The boat quickly overturned with the mast and sails straight down. Meanwhile the other boats continued racing in heavy showers and occasional lightning in the hills above.

You can certainly say this was an Extreme start for this event.

Alinghi overturned,with crew and support -staff making her ready to be righted.

Holmatro and BT getting ready for the final race of the day

Until dark the riggers worked on te spare mast of the class to get it ready for Alinghi. When I arived this morning, the boat was gone from the carpark, ready to sail...


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