No injuries, minor damage, quick recovery
Look at these photos, then watch the video at the end of this article – the photos will help you better understand the capsize and recovery.
Wednesday 2 March 2016 – I was in Bermuda and had just sat down with Grant Simmer at the Oracle base for an interview. We had barely exchanged pleasnatries when Grant’s phone rang. He answered, stood and walked away. End of interview. Oracle’s test boat had just capsized south of Morgan’s Point, in view of the Artemis Racing base. They had just changed crew and Tom Slingsby took over from Jimmy Spithill. Part way through a full foiling gybe, as Slingsby was crossing to take the wheel from Rome Kirby, the boat blew over sideways, slowly. This was not a more violent pitchpole.
Rome Kirby had climbed to the high side of the hull from the aft cockpit. “TJ” – wing trimmer Tom Johnson ducked down in his cockpit and held on. In the photo below, you can see TJ’s helmet just forward of the wheel, and Rome’s helmet just aft.
To right their capsized AC45 in Gothenburg, Artemis Racing used a technique suggested by Loïck Peyron, and Oracle used the same technique here. Instead of pulling the boat up sideways, the chase boat tows it forward on its side. the crew trims the wing down, towards the hull that is in the water. The wing then flies the boat upright, just like an airplane taking off. In the photo below notice the wake behind the boat and the wing in a “flaps down” position, like an airplane ready for takeoff.
Now watch the video and listen to Tom Slingsby explain what happened and how he reacted.