German Sailing Team Withdraws from Youth America’s Cup in SF

Byline: Log News Service

BERLIN (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — A sailing team from Germany has dropped out of the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, which is scheduled to be held Sept. 1-4 on San Francisco Bay.

Sailing Team Germany said in a release that safety concerns following the accident that resulted in the death of Olympic gold medalist Andrew “Bart” Simpson of Britain were responsible for the team’s withdrawal.

“The tragic accident has prompted us to evaluate our participation in the Youth America’s Cup,” said Klaus Lahme, the team’s sports director.

“If tragedy comes to the world’s best sailors, we want to avoid risking the health of our athletes and their Olympic ambitions,” Lahme said.

Simpson, 36, died when the Swedish Artemis Racing team’s 72-foot catamaran capsized and trapped him underwater in the wreckage during a practice sail May 9.

It was the second time a sailor has died during training for the America’s Cup. In 1999, Martin Wizner of the Spanish Challenge died almost instantly when he was hit in the head by a broken piece of equipment.

Racing in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, which will feature national teams of six sailors, ages 19 to 24, is scheduled to take place in the same high performance wing-sailed AC 45 catamarans that were used in the America’s Cup World Series.             America’s Cup officials said that there have been no serious injuries — either during practice or while racing — aboard the AC 45s.

Officials said that the decision by the German team will not affect either the Youth America’s Cup or the main race, in which four professional teams, sailing the 72-foot catamarans, are scheduled to compete for the America’s Cup this fall.

News sources in New Zealand reported May 17 that the New Zealand Sailing Team — one of the 10 teams from eight countries that have qualified for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup regatta — announced that they have not altered their plans to participate in the race.

— A report from the Associated Press was used in this story

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