A Sweden-based sailing team is participating Tuesday in the America’s Cup sailing regatta in San Francisco, its first race since a capsizing claimed the life of one of the team’s sailors during a practice run earlier this year.
Artemis Racing missed several preliminary races in the Louis Vuitton Cup after losing crewmember Andrew “Bart” Simpson, who died after the team’s boat capsized during a May 9 practice run out on the Bay.
The capsizing also broke apart the Artemis team’s first 72-foot yacht, prompting them to prepare their second one at their Alameda team base in time for the races.
Artemis will have its first race at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday against Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge in the semifinals of the Louis Vuitton Cup, which will determine who faces Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup Finals next month.
Emirates Team New Zealand will face the winner of the best-of-seven semifinals between the Swedish and Italian teams.
Artemis skipper Iain Percy said in a statement on Friday that while the team will be racing this week, they will likely not be in top form since they have only begun to train on their new boat.
“To say that we’re ready to go would absolutely not be the case,” Percy said. “Our competitors launched their boat nine months ago. We launched our boat nine days ago.”
Percy said the first training days were especially tough after the death of Simpson. Percy had known Simpson since they were 10 years old, won Olympic gold and silver medals with him and was a pallbearer at his funeral.
“To go on the water without Andrew was very, very difficult and upset me a lot,” he said. “The guys knew that, but we paid our respects to Andrew, and then had a good day training. And that’s what he would’ve wanted.”
More information about the races and teams can be found online at www.americascup.com.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News