America’s Cup – Alinghi break their mast

Alinghi Red Bull Racing suffered a catastrophic failure of their mast today in Barcelona just after 2pm with the afternoon sea-breeze well and truly in, with what the locals call a ‘strong Garbi’ from 210-220 degrees atop a 0.5-0.8 metres, three-second period swell from 230 degrees. It was a bear-away at top pace, with mast bend evident before the forestay went slack as the lower section in the bottom third of the mast gave way under pressure forward, causing the rig to collapse into the water to leeward.

Immediately we saw the superb crew work of the Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailing and support teams, swing into action with a composure and professionalism of the highest order. Make no mistake, this was outstanding team-work with divers in the water and all hands on deck to rescue the situation – all credit to the team. Safety of the crew was paramount and the first priority, and thankfully no injuries were reported. The integrity of the boat was the next priority, and this was secured quickly with only minor scratches observed initially around the bow area. All round a first-class effort from everyone on the water.

alinghi mast fail

Obviously an immediate blow to the team, who have been putting in incredible performances on the water over recent months, the professionalism was mirrored shoreside by a swift and concise statement from Silvio Arrivabene, the Co-General Manager of Alinghi Red Bull Racing: “This afternoon, while executing a bear away in 20-knot winds, there was a mast failure on BoatOne. Everybody on board is safe, which is the most important thing. The boat is already back ashore which will allow us to quickly assess the cause of the failure.”

credit America's Cup
credit America’s Cup

And Silvio continued: “Incidents like this are part of the sport. The team is prepared for this kind of situation and ready with all the necessary spare parts, so the focus is now on getting BoatOne back on the water as soon as possible.”

credit America's Cup
credit America’s Cup

Moments like this, dramatic as they are, can be campaign-defining but with huge resources on hand and an outstanding shore team, the Swiss will no doubt bounce back stronger and be back into training in double-quick time. Everyone in the Port Vell and beyond wishes them a speedy return.

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