16 May 2013

America's Cup catamarans 'always risky'

8:49 am on 16 May 2013

Yachting experts say the catamarans in the America's Cup in San Francisco this year will always have safety risks.

The organisers announced on Wednesday the cup will run as planned and a committee is to review the drowning of English sailor Andrew Simpson last week when the boat Artemis capsized during a training run on San Francisco Bay last Friday.

Mick Cookson of Cookson Boats said his company helped build high-performance, wingsailed catamarans, known as the AC72 class, for Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa.

He says new safety procedures were put in place after one of the yachts capsized last year, but the boats are high risk.

Sailing commentator Peter Lester said the yachts' unprecedented speeds of up to 80km per hour is the most dangerous aspect.

The challenger series is due to begin on 4 July, with Artemis, Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand competing for the right to race Oracle in the finals in September.

America's Cup regatta director Murray is leading the review. Other members include Vincent Lauriot-Prevost of French multi-hull design firm Van Peteghem Lauriot Prevost; New Zealand Queens Counsel lawyer Jim Farmer and veteran sailor John Craig.