Alinghi Red Bull Racing have suffered a setback to their preparations to challenge for the America’s Cup as their mast collapsed during a practice session in Barcelona.

The Swiss challengers were exiting a bear away on their AC75 during a session at the top end of the wind range when a mast failure saw the structure come down on top of the boat. No one was injured in the incident.

The team were able to get the boat back to shore quickly to begin assessing the damage and what caused the failure.

“In yachting, we know things like this can happen and they’re not uncommon,” Alinghi Red Bull Racing co-general manager Silvio Arrivabene said.

“That’s why we have spares. We have the approach we have with people on the water, technicians and engineers, and it’s going to be important to put it all back together as soon as possible and get back into the preparation.”

Alinghi, who purchased Team New Zealand’s first-edition AC75 Te Aihe early in the campaign to allow them to get accustomed to sailing the class, will be able to equip their new AC75, “BoatOne”, with their old mast to allow them to get back on the water as soon as possible should the deck and cockpit area be cleared of any damage.

The incident comes at a busy time on the waters of Barcelona, with all five challenging syndicates now putting their AC75s through their paces at the Cup venue.

The only team yet to launch their race boat in Spain is Team New Zealand, whose AC75 Taihoro is currently being shipped to Barcelona and is expected to be on the water next month.

The Defenders are in the process of packing up their operation in Auckland after their block of two-boat testing on their AC40s came to an end earlier this week.

Speaking to the Herald, Team New Zealand designer Dan Bernasconi said there were pros and cons to the challengers not yet seeing them on the water at the Cup venue, although the team felt it was more of a disadvantage than a positive.

“The other teams are able to get a gauge on each other. They’re not allowed to go and race each other in informal races and there are rules controlling how close you can get to other yachts and you’re not allowed to do a lineup with them. but even with those rules in place you can see them sailing and just decide to go up to them and start sailing close to them and you might get a gauge,” Bernasconi said.

“But you never know if the other team is sandbagging or if they’re overweight or underweight, but it can give you an indication. If you’re going all out in your best racing configuration and you’re still slower than the other guy, then you know you’ve got an issue. We haven’t got any of that to go on being here, all we’ve got is reports.

“It also means of course that the other teams don’t get a gauge on us so maybe it’s neutral, but from our point of view we’re really keen to get up there and get amongst it.”

Christopher Reive joined the Herald sports team in 2017, bringing the same versatility to his coverage as he does to his sports viewing habits.

2024-06-14T00:18:04Z dg43tfdfdgfd