Italians to race in America's Cup but want changes

AP News
Posted: May 17, 2013 9:00 PM
Italians to race in America's Cup but want changes

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The owner of the Italian entry in the America's Cup said Friday his boat will compete in this summer's races after all, but he suggested a new precaution.

Speculation has swirled over whether Luna Rossa Challenge would pull out of sailing's most prestigious event after a sailor on another crew died during a training run on San Francisco Bay.

Patrizio Bertelli, who also is the chief executive of fashion house Prada, last week told European media he was concerned about the safety of the high-tech boats specially built for the America's Cup.

Standing in front of his multimillion-dollar racing yacht in Alameda on Friday, Bertelli said he would like to see races canceled if winds on the San Francisco Bay were deemed too dangerous.

His comments came after Artemis Racing's 72-foot catamaran capsized May 9, killing Olympic gold medal winner Andrew "Bart" Simpson, who was trapped beneath the wreckage.

The boat capsized and broke into several pieces while attempting to turn downwind. Investigators have not announced a cause. The San Francisco Police Department is leading the official investigation, while organizers are conducting their own probe.

Last year Oracle Racing's yacht capsized and was badly damaged, but no crew members were hurt. Billionaire Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing won the America's Cup in 2010 and choose to defend the trophy in San Francisco.

Luna Rossa, Artemis and an entry from New Zealand are scheduled to begin racing each other in July to determine who takes on Oracle in September for the trophy.

"We appreciate the vote of confidence Mr. Bertelli, president of Luna Rossa Challenge, gave to the America's Cup continuing as planned this summer on San Francisco Bay," America's Cup organizer spokesman Peter Rusch said.

A panel of investigators assembled by organizers to look into the Artemis accident has asked the teams to hold off sailing until May 23.