A Sweden-based team whose sailor died during an America’s Cup training run in the San Francisco Bay last month will stay in the regatta but will likely join it late, team officials announced today.
Artemis Racing, which has a local base in Alameda, lost sailor Andrew “Bart” Simpson, who died during a May 9 practice run after the team’s 72-foot boat capsized and he was trapped under the water.
A memorial was held last week in the U.K. for the British native Simpson. After returning from the memorial, Artemis “resumed its preparation in earnest” to compete in the America’s Cup races, team officials said in a statement today.
In the first weeks after Simpson’s death, the team had not committed to continuing with the races, which begin in early July with the Louis Vuitton Cup and culminate in the America’s Cup Finals in September.
However, in today’s statement, Artemis officials said the team is working to ready and test its second 72-foot vessel after the first one was heavily damaged in the fatal capsizing.
“When the sailing team is satisfied that the boat can be pushed hard in race conditions, it will join the competition,” the statement said.
The team said it would likely miss the initial Louis Vuitton Cup races but hopes to be racing by the end of July.
“We are working around the clock to get our new boat ready, in the water and to prepare our team to race,” Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard said in a statement. “We still have a mountain to climb.”
Stephen Barclay, CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority, said, “Artemis Racing’s decision to continue will inspire race fans. I’m sure we’ll see massive support and goodwill for the Swedish team.”
Race officials also announced today that they were reducing the number of preliminary rounds from seven to five as one of the safety recommendations developed after the capsizing.
The change was made because team officials said they wanted more maintenance time between races, America’s Cup officials said.
The regatta begins with an opening ceremony on July 4.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News