The Maritime Report: Artemis review on the way

The Maritime Report: Artemis review on the way

Dave Bloch

America's Cup Race Management Regatta Director Iain Murray and Golden Gate Yacht Club Vice Commodore Tom Ehman held a press conference Tuesday in San Francisco. The purpose was to "announce the members of an independent panel to review all aspects of training and racing of AC72 yachts in the 34th America’s Cup."

They first reported on a meeting held this morning with senior officials from the America's Cup management and all four teams (Oracle USA, Artemis Sweden, Emirates New Zealand and Luna Rossa Italy). At that meeting, Murray presented the teams with a scope of work for the committee, along with a list of its members. The committee includes representatives of US Sailing and three members of the committee that investigated the Farallon Islands race tragedy last year. One member is from France and another from New Zealand; both of them are currently en route to San Francisco. Murray reported that the combined teams expressed unanimous support for the committee and its process.

In general, the committee's task is to review all aspects of what happened last Thursday, including in their process information gathered when the Oracle AC72 flipped last fall. Murray and Ehman both emphasized that (unlike the "one design" AC45s) each AC72 is unique in design and construction; although there are design rules that each team must follow, those rules leave tremendous flexibility for the engineers. They emphasized the fact that the Artemis boat capsized and broke (or broke and capsized; to be determined) should not lead anyone to think other boats (including Artemis' new one) might do the same.

In answer to a reporter's question, Murray concisely explained the committee's function, saying it must "review the situation of last week and any previous incidents (e.g., Oracle's capsize last year) and make recommendations so we can make sure that the racing this summer is as safe as possible." Both Murray and Ehman emphasized the use of the word "review," by comparison with "investigation," which is being done by the San Francisco Police Department.

Reporters present asked for clarifications on some rumors that have come up recently in various news media and then gone viral on the Internet:

-The report that Artemis skipper Nathan Outteridge had said the boat cracked in half and then capsized was dismissed by Murray and Ehman "grossly inaccurate."

-The report that the Red Bull Youth America's Cup team from Germany was pulling out was clarified. According to Murray, "The German Federation removed their support for the team. As of now the Federation has decided they don't want to be involved, but the youth team is sitting there and we are giving them the support they require." Ehman added "They may well make it ... I understand there are a number of teams standing in line."

As far as timing, with the first races scheduled for only seven weeks away, Murray indicated he hoped to have "something significant to report" from the committee in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, it is quiet out on the Bay, as all the teams are honoring a seven-day grace period in support of the Artemis team and families.

More information is available here:

34th America’s Cup Review committee scope of work

Review Committee member biographies

Oakland Yacht Club presents Gary Jobson this Saturday

The original title of the America's Cup presentation by world-renowned sailor, author, and NBC-TV commentator Gary Jobson has been advertised as "Who Looks Strong and Why?" Since it was planned long before the events of this past week, I imagine that Jobson's talk may take some different and very interesting turns.

Jobson speaks at Oakland YC at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, May 18; tickets are $20. OYC also has a BBQ dinner available from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; a combined dinner/speech ticket costs $35. For online reservations go to