The America's Cup defender, Oracle Team USA,, capsized its giant AC72 catamaran on San Francisco Bay during a training session late last night (UK time). Fortunately, none of the crew was injured.

The capsize took place during the team’s eighth day on the water, in conditions which were described as fresh, with building winds whipping up waves against one of the strongest ebb currents of the year.

Oracle Team USA capsize

CAPSIZE!: As the team turned the boat downwind, the front of the boat nosedived and Oracle Team USA's AC72 pitch-poled. Photo Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA

Oracel team USA capsize

WING DESTROYED: Tactician Tom Slingsby sais: “We were unsure if the wing would snap, so we all climbed off the boat.” With the boat on its side, the sea conditions quickly inflicted damage on the wing, which was completely destroyed. Photo: Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA

Oracle team USA capsize Golden Gate bridge

DRIFTING: Oracle Team USA drifts towards the Golden Gate Bridge. “When the nose went down, the wing hit and a few guys went in the water,” said Tom Slingsby. Photo: Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA


Oracle Team USA

AMAZING IMAGES: The boat drifts with its foils pointing skywards and the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Photo: Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA

Oracle capsize

IN THE WATER: The crew work to secure the boat - this will undoubtedly be a great and expensive setback for the team. Photo Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA

Oracle team usa capsize

SINKING: The boat was pulled out to sea by the strong current, and as darkness fell, the team was still working to secure the catamaran platform and bring it back to base. Photo Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA

Oracle drifts as darkness falls

LOST : Oracle's 72 drifts as night falls. Photo Guilain GRENIER / ORACLE TEAM USA

“There's no question this is a setback. This will be a big test for our team,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “But I've seen these guys in a similar situation in the past campaign before we won the America's Cup. A strong team will bounce back from it. This won't stop us from winning the America's Cup.”

Ironically Oracle's team CEO Russell Coutts, was quoted in the New Zealand Herald just days earlier as admitting that he "made a mistake with the AC72 class rule" the story also said that Coutts had revealed that he had tried to "scale back the size of the boat late last year". Richt now Coutts is surely regretting the whole idea of these 72ft giants.

See a video of the capsize here: Oracle Team USA Capsize: The Video.


Written by: Gael Pawson
Gael Pawson is the editor of Yachts & Yachting Magazine and the founder of Creating Waves. A keen racer, she has sailed all her life, and started writing about the subject whilst studying journalism at university. Dinghies and small keelboats are her first loves, but she has cruised and raced a huge variety of boats in locations across the world.