As the defender and challengers continue to prepare for the 37th America’s Cup that will take place off the coast of Barcelona, Spain, in 2024, they continue to experience the challenges of taming their hydrofoils.
We saw it again yesterday with the capsize of another contender, that being the Americans this time. As we have seen with the other syndicates, including Alinghi Red Bull, Luna Rossa, and defending Champion Emirates Team New Zealand, capsizing has just become part of the game with these speedy and nimble yet, unpredictable vessels.
Only this time, it was not a loss of control, sea conditions, or a sudden wind gust that toppled American Magic’s AC75 Patriot. Patriot was sailing upwind on a starboard tack when it hit a partially submerged underwater object, stalled, and rolled over to windward.
Luckily, no crew members were hurt in the incident and Patriot was righted within five minutes with no report of any damage and is expected to be back out tomorrow. Regardless, of the circumstances, it does remind us how fragile these speedy hydrofoils are, especially when flying above the water on their foils.
America’s Cup followers will remember a year ago in the Prada Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, when Patriot was caught in a sudden rainsquall and went airborne during a jibe and nearly sank from a hole in its hull.
Patriot is the first AC75 to hit the water in a configuration close to what will be competing in the 2024 America’s Cup and has impressed many commentators with its performance thus far. It was experiencing a good day on the sea off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, before the capsize. Patriot, at one point, reached speeds in the mid-30kts (40 mph / 64.8 kp/h) upwind and low-40kts (46 mph / 74 kp/h) downwind.