It once towered 33 meters above sea level, now it is deep below. The mast set up after the Valencineu regattas came from above immediately after a rig check.
The check was carried out by Tim Kröger from Hamburg on the South African yacht sponsored by T-Systems. Back on deck, he did gymnastics down to the base of the mast to check that too. "When I heard the first cracking noises, I dived into the foredeck as if stung by a tarantula so as not to be killed." No one was injured on deck, said Kröger.
It is not clear what exactly caused this damage to the spar, which was subjected to around 50 tons of pressure at the time of the failure. The mast should be raised again so that experts can track down the cause. The accident took place with only about ten knots of wind. Shortly before the mast broke, the yacht made about nine knots.
"Rigs for the America’s Cup are specially developed for this competition, and we always move on a very fine line between performance and safety. It is therefore by no means uncommon for unpredictable errors to occur due to the smallest influencing factors out at sea or minor inaccuracies in design and construction”, commented chief designer Jason Ker (Great Britain) on the incident.
For the next act of the America’s Cup off Malmö (August 24 to September 4, 2005), Team Shosholoz will again be sailing with the mast bought by Team Alinghi, which was already used before Valencizum.