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Safety for America’s Cup

America's Cup Regatta Director Iain Murray shared his safety recommendations on May 22 at a meeting with the four competing teams and the America’s Cup Event Authority.

May 23, 2013
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Artemis AC72 Capsize

Artemis Racing Capsizes AC72

Artemis Racing capsized its AC72 on May 9, leading to the tragic death of Andrew Simpson. courtesy of news.com.au

Regatta Director Iain Murray shared specific safety recommendations with the America’s Cup teams and the Event Authority on May 22; the Review Committee that was assigned on May 16 has stopped short of giving its own recommendations due to liability and insurance reasons.

Murray’s recommendations include:
-Structural reviews of AC72 boats and wings
-Increased max sailing weight for the AC72
A lower wind limit (reduced to 20 knots in July, 21 knots in August, and 23 knots in September)
Enhanced sailor safety gear including:
Buoyancy aids
Body armor
Crew locator devices
Hands-free breathing apparatus
High-visibility helmets
Electronic head count system
No guest racers aboard while racing
-No “ACRM Personnel” aboard while racing (originally intended to be a camera person)
-Additional support equipment, including a minimum of two rescue boats to each AC72, with one diver and one rescue swimmer per rescue boat, and one paramedic carrying an AED device on one of the rescue boats
-Round robins in the Louis Vuitton Cup reduced from seven to five
-Soft marks to replace mark boats.
Removal of fines for not competing
If an AC72 capsizes while racing, the race will be awarded to the other AC72 to focus efforts on the capsized boat

The document also states that “These recommendations are made by the Regatta Director after the Review Committee interviewed team personnel from all Competitors, and will be refined as the further work identified above is completed.” Further, “Each Competitor is responsible for the method of implementing the recommendations.”

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Safety recommendations listed that “should be implemented immediately” included personal equipment (personal flotation, helmet, at least one knife, personal air supply of at least 45 liters, harness), training, AC72 equipment (permanently attached righting lines, accessible knives in four corners of the trampoline, four personal air supplies of at least 80 liters each on trampoline), and rescue boats and equipment (a rescue boat with at least 3500 kg towing capability).

Safety recommendations that “need to be considered” included estabilishing common emergency drop off zones, common safe recovery areas for capsized boats, 1K liters flotation in the top of the wing to help keep it floating.

Next up? Murray will form task forces with experts to define and expand on the recommendations for some of the specific gear, such as body armor and buoyancy aids.

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View a copy of “Regatta Director Recommendations“.

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