Measures taken to reduce risk of collisions

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Organisers have adopted new protocol to reduce the risk of collisions between umpire boats and the racing fleet in the pre-start at Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events.

The move comes after a collision between the umpire boat and Artemis Racing’s AC45F catamaran in the pre-start at October’s America’s Cup World Series Bermuda in the Great Sound.

Artemis’ wing-sail foiling catamaran suffered extensive damage, but after making quick repairs went on to win the regatta while the officials on the umpires boat suffered minor injuries.

America’s Cup officials have yet to respond to questions regarding which party was at fault for the mishap.

They did, however, reveal measures have been put in place to help prevent such an incident from happening again.

“Regatta officials and the competitors have discussed the incident to gain an understanding as to why there was a collision between an umpire boat and a race boat,” Peter Rusch, the America’s Cup Event Authority spokesman, said.

“At this point, all parties are satisfied that the umpires will keep a greater distance from the race boats in the pre-start sequence to ensure a greater margin of safety.”

One of the umpires involved in the collision was Peter Shrubb, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club flag officer and past commodore, who could have been seriously injured.

“I got caught in-between the umpire boat and the race boat,” Shrubb said. “Luckily I had my helmet on because it was preventing my head from being squeezed in-between the two boats. I got jammed in there and could not get my head out because the boats were still moving at that point. Artemis was still going forward, which was applying more pressure and thankfully the Artemis crew was quick to respond.”

Emirates Team New Zealand are the overall World Series leaders after the first three events followed by Oracle Team USA, the America’s Cup defender, and Land Rover BAR in second and third.

Two cities have been confirmed to host the America’s Cup World Series next year: Chicago, in June, and Portsmouth, England, in July. Four other venues, Abu Dhabi, New York, Gothenburg, Sweden and Tokyo, Japan were mentioned during September’s America’s Cup Town Hall meeting at St Paul AME Church but have yet to be confirmed as hosts. Along with Bermuda, Portsmouth and Gothenburg also hosted the series this summer.

America’s Cup officials will announce more venues by the end of the year.

“We anticipate having about six events announced before Christmas,” Rusch added.

This story appeared in The Royal Gazette on November 26th, 2015.

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Measures taken to reduce risk of collisions