America's Cup Teams Asked to Stay off Water as Experts Evaluate Safety

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIMay 17, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 14:  Iain Murray (L), Regatta director and CEO America's Cup race management, look on as Tom Ehman, Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club speaks during a news conference on May 14, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  One week after Artemis Racing sailor Andrew Simpson was killed in a training accident on the San Francisco Bay, America's Cup organizers announced today that the racing events will go on as scheduled and a review committee of sailing and safety at sea experts has been established to review training and racing of AC72 yachts that will be used in the 2013 America's Cup races.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The safety of the newly designed AC72 yachts is still being evaluated for the 34th America's Cup. As a result, teams have been asked to stay off the water until the middle of next week.

Dana Johannsen of the New Zealand Herald broke the news. The tragic capsize that resulted in the death of British sailor Andrew Simpson last Friday in San Francisco Bay has experts eager to further evaluate the design of the new catamarans.

Simpson drowned in a training exercise after becoming trapped under the yacht manned by Sweden's Artemis Racing team and drowned, according to Johannsen.

The American defending champions, Oracle Racing, were set to take the water again on Friday after voluntarily withholding their preparations away due to the Simpson tragedy.

However, following a meeting with the America's Cup review committee, it was determined that both the AC72 and smaller AC45 catamarans were to continue being suspended at least a couple of days beyond this weekend.

Johannsen also indicates that the committee will meet with all four teams on Saturday, seeking feedback on how America's Cup can avoid similar, terrifying accidents like Simpson's in the future.

The event will not take place until September, so allowing several more days to pass before the safety of the new yachts is determined is certainly worth it for the event in the long run.

Additionally, it's a kind gesture toward Simpson not only with regard to his unfortunate circumstances, but also to learn as much as possible from it.

Motivation to return to training is prominent in order to assure sponsors and the public that the regatta will move forward as scheduled. Having said that, the safety and fluidity of this marquee sailing spectacle itself is rightfully becoming the primary focus.