Emirates Team New Zealand in spectacular crash


Emirates Team New Zealand recover their capsized AC40 on the Waitemata Harbour. Photo / ETNZ

Emirates Team New Zealand created some high drama out on the Hauraki Gulf yesterday from an event they would probably not want to repeat.

Skipper and America’s Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling had control of their AC40 test boat using a new set-up and sailing under manual controls when the boat crashed down a wave at over 40 knots, burying the bow deep into the water, causing the vessel to capsize.

The ETNZ AC40 nosedives off a wave at over 40 knots. Photo / ETNZ
The ETNZ AC40 nosedives off a wave at over 40 knots. Photo / ETNZ

“(It was a) really tough day as a team,” said Burling. “We were sailing out in some waves and really pushing things to the upper end of the spectrum but we had a really bad crash down the back of a wave.”

When the boat popped back up a large crack in the bow became apparent.

As the boat pops back out, the nose is deformed. Photo / ETNZ
As the boat pops back out, the nose is deformed. Photo / ETNZ

ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton didn’t seem too upset at the damage, describing conditions as not extreme but a big stuff-up. He said that compression on the deck and on the starboard side from the impact of hitting the water resulted in “decent structural failure.”

“The boat’s got to be able to do that sort of thing,” he said. “Even in automatic pilot things can go wrong.”

Support crew board the AC40 to secure the vessel before towing it back to base. Photo / ETNZ
Support crew board the AC40 to secure the vessel before towing it back to base. Photo / ETNZ

The boat was towed back safely to the team base in the Wynyard Quarter where it will undergo strengthening repairs.

“As soon as we got into the smooth water the boat felt quite safe,” Dalton said. “I think it was textbook recovery.”

The 37th America’s Cup will be raced in 75-foot foiling monohulls in Barcelona in 2024.



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