Oracle Racing accidentally capsized one of their racing boats in San Francisco Monday (June 13) as they unveiled a new class of catamarans ahead of races leading up to the 34th America's Cup in 2013.Oracle Racing chief executive Russell Coutts sent one of the nimble AC45 vessels into a cartwheel during an informal race against skipper James Spithill as they began practicing in San Francisco Bay, where they will be during June.
Crew member Shannon Falcone, who had been wearing a helmet, was not seriously injured but was sent to the hospital for a cautionary X-ray, after being flung down two stories through a delicate sail..
The racing yacht, a 45-foot catamaran owned by Oracle Racing and captained by four-time America's Cup champion Russell Coutts, was about to start its second practice race of the day against its identical-twin vessel, captained by reigning champion James Spithill. The two yachts were jockeying for position at the starting line, and Coutts' boat had quickly accelerated when the wind caught its sails unexpectedly and toppled it over.
It was the third time that one of the AC-45s has capsized — two capsized in New Zealand a few weeks ago. One of the boats nearly capsized on their second day on the water Friday, but the crew righted the boat just in time.
Oracle Racing, backed by billionaire Larry Ellison, designed the 45-foot boats -- with hard sails shaped like an airplane wing -- as part of broader efforts to attract more viewers to the America's Cup. Built in New Zealand, this is their first U.S. appearance.