Russell Coutts, the CEO of defending champion Oracle Racing, was racing skipper Jimmy Spithill as part of a media day to publicize the U.S. debut of the new AC45 catamarans. His boat was bearing away during the prestart maneuver when the bows buried in a wave and the cat lifted into the air and flipped over, forcing Grinder Shannon Falcone through the wing sail and into the chilly water along with another crewman.
The AC45 catamarans that raced around San Fransisco Bay debuted earlier this year in New Zealand where two capsized. The high tech, ultra light and extremely fast catamarans were expected to create gripping drama due to the inevitable risks involved in racing the boats.
Although dangerous, promoters of the AC World Series and the Americas Cup could not have orchestrated a more effective promotional stunt. With the video going viral, the AC World Series, in which the AC45s will compete in locations around the globe, and the 2013 America’s Cup, which will be sailed in even faster and more powerful 72-footers, are now more highly anticipated events than ever before.