Interview with helmsman Ed Baird:
What happened – can you talk us through?
We were sailing in light winds, we had a good race going, we were in third and looking at passing into second – the boat in front of us looked like they had a gennaker wrap so it looked like we could pass them at the mark. A squall came through just after we rounded the windward mark the second time. Most of the fleet was still going upwind when we got hit with this very violent front edge of the squall and the two boats in the worst of the velocity were us and Holmatro. Because we were both so close together neither of us had an escape route; we both went up and we both put the noses in. They were somehow able to avoid capsizing and we did not unfortunately. It’s all part of the learning of this game and unfortunately if we had been going upwind it wouldn’t have happened and if we’d been further downwind it would have been different again. It was a case of wrong place wrong time.”
It all happens so quickly, one minute we’re watching the next….
“We went from sailing in a fairly benign 5-7 knots of wind to a violent gust coming through; more violent than the many others we had had during the day in the squalls that were coming through. It was a bit of a surprise; we went from racing, to survival in an instant and unfortunately we went upside down.”
How does the crew deal with a capsize - what is it actually like from onboard?
I think it’s the same in most any sailing vessel when you get hit by violent wind speeds, every boat becomes overpowered and some boats are more forgiving than others. These boats are very unforgiving in that sense. That gust was probably double the amount of wind we have ever experienced on these boats. It happened in two or three seconds so you don’t have a lot of time to react. It’s certainly something we have to get better at.”
Back on the water tomorrow - you have a lot of work to do?
“We need to put a new mast in and we should be ready to go sailing. There are always a lot of bits and pieces that need to be repaired. I gather there is a little damage to the mainsail and if not we have back ups. We should be able to get out on the water tomorrow.”
Alinghi extends its thanks to the organisation and the other teams competing in the iShares Cup for their on-water and on-shore support.