ORACLE TEAM USA's day in pictures

© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA


It’s been a wild 24 hours for ORACLE TEAM USA. The day after capsizing their first AC72 catamaran was one of damage assessment for the defender of the next year’s America’s Cup. The crew pitch-poled their yacht “17” Tuesday afternoon on San Francisco Bay in blustery winds. The capsize occurred to the east of the Golden Gate Bridge, but an ebb tide estimated at 5 knots swept the platform nearly 5 nautical miles out beyond the bridge.

© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA


“There was extensive superficial damage,” said ORACLE TEAM USA General Manager Grant Simmer. “The boat was getting set out in an ebb tide a long way off the Gate, about 4.5 miles off the Gate. We couldn’t even hold position with the overturned platform with equipment hanging below and a lot of water in the platform. The boat was continuing to be swept out to sea, and the sea condition was really bad. We organized for Regardless, the ACRM race committee boat – a powerful, heavier boat – to come out with a team on it. I transferred across with a towline. We were able to tow slowly at about 2.5 knots. Then tide turned and we floated up the harbor under the Bay Bridge, and made it here about 0130. I don’t think we did a lot of additional damage in the tow. We took our time.”

© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA





© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA


Simeon Tienpont (above) was one of five crew – along with Jimmy Spithill, Murray Jones, Rome Kirby and Kinley Fowler – who jumped back aboard “17” after the cat turned turtle. They had jumped aboard to try and cut the rig free.

© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA


While the team worked to drain and haul “17,” media crews swarmed the Pier 80 base looking for an interview with Spithill. The skipper recalled the experience of losing the mast aboard the 90-foot trimaran about five months before the 2010 America’s Cup and said: “We need to make a new plan. We need to reassess the platform and wing damage, and come up with a new schedule for the next Cup. This is one of the key moments of this campaign, there’s no question. This is a setback. However, this team has shown real resilience and ability to overcome adversity in the past. We’ve seen it before; it’s just another test for the team. This is the team I want to be with, in a time like this.”

In the background, the righting process had begun.

© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA





© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA





© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA


One of the most interested onlookers today was Mark “Tugboat” Turner (above left). The team’s co-construction manager has overseen the build of every race boat since the team was founded in 2001. The capsize, however, gave him pause: “As time has gone on, the situation is clear that we’re in for a lot of work. We managed to salvage all the flaps of the wingsail, but they’re all in quite a state of disarray. We know the work list has only got longer. But we still have to push along at full steam with Boat 2. In reality, where we have to get to, to put the boat back together and do the other things we’re considering, the work list has only got longer.”

© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA





© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA





© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA


“Once the boat’s in its cradle we can assess the damage more completely,” said Simmer, as “17” was put to bed.

© Guilain Grenier / ORACLE TEAM USA