Originally Posted by PalmettoSailor
If you don't like the new AC boats, that's great, but don't fool yourself into thinking the new boat or format is more or less dangerous than any other. There just is no evidence to support that assertion at this point.
Seriously??? Sorry, but I have to disagree with you there, bigtime...
Until now, perhaps the most dramatic - and potentially tragic - catastrophe that occurred in modern AC racing was the sinking of ONE AUSTRALIA in the trials off San Diego... Watching this video, it appears to have happened in slow motion, compared to the suddenness and violence of the pitchpoling and capsizing of the cats we're seeing today:
Compare with what happens to some of the crew aboard Coutts' AC 45 last year:
Now, extrapolate that up to the size of an AC 72, with the potential for crew falling from a height of 50-60 feet, through the wing as Coutts himself did, or on top of part of the rig, or boat... If you watched any video of the aftermath of ORACLE's AC 72 capsize, the most terrifying aspect is the manner in which the rig gave way, and the hulls folded over on top of the whole affair... All those guys dangling from the netting in such a situation, could be immediately pinned underneath it all... From the accounts and pictures I've seen, that appears to be pretty much what happened to ARTEMIS this week...
But what frightens me most about these boats, is the fact that the remarkable speeds they're achieving - unlike a Formula 1 car, for example - does not appear to be matched by their nimbleness, or maneuverability... Something goes wrong, if a wing can't be eased quickly enough, or whatever, the ability of the helmsman to control the boat can essentially vanish... Watch this, keeping in mind these are among the best sailors on the planet:
At the speeds these 72-footers will be crossing tacks, closing speeds potentially in the range of 60-70 knots, that sort of mistake does not even bear thinking about...