Will Damage Decide the America’s Cup?

Published on May 16th, 2017

Bermuda (May 16, 2017) – The problem with making boats faster and more specialized is that collisions can be terminal. That is the reality staring down at the 35th America’s Cup, and now we have to wonder if damage will decide the winner.

That is, of course, if the teams opt not to engage in fear of debilitating contact. We got a taste today of what occurs when they do engage during an organized practice race when Land Rover BAR caused a hard foul which sent Emirates Team New Zealand limping back to their base. Here is the report from the kiwi team:

Peter Burling on the helm of Emirates Team New Zealand had done a good job securing the favoured leeward end of the line and shutting out Sir Ben Ainslie and the Land Rover BAR boat.

“It was a bit of a shame in the last pre start we had the leeward end of the line pretty locked down, Ben was quite late and just ran straight into the back of us,” said helmsman Burling. “Just unnecessary a week out from the America’s Cup we are all here to learn and it’s a shame we have a pretty big metre dent now in the back of our nice boat.

“It went straight in under the media pod with his windward bow and right down the inside of the leeward hull, so there is a pretty good dent there. You can definitely see if has punctured right into the cockpit right around where my steering wheel is.”

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton upon assessing the damage, “We know Ben well, he is a good guy but frustration is obviously getting to him and the red mist came down and it’s a lot of damage in a time we can’t afford it.”

Repairs underway to the bow of Land Rover BAR. © Land Rover BAR

Other than the damaged sustained it was a positive day for Emirates Team New Zealand, winning both of the races it sailed against Land Rover BAR earlier in the day and Groupama Team France after both Oracle Team USA and Softbank Team Japan refused to race against the kiwi team.

“Up until the last race with BAR we had a bloody nice day, we got the boat around the track really well, in really nice yachting conditions, but very unfortunate to get a hole in the boat on a practice race,” said Skipper Glenn Ashby. “I don’t think Ben will be feeling too happy about it at the moment.”

The Emirates Team New Zealand shore crew were waiting at the dock to retrieve the boat and will now be working around the clock to get the boat back out on the water as soon as possible.


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