The Alinghi Red Bull Racing team has suffered a catastrophic mast failure during America's Cup training in Barcelona. All crew are safe and the boat us undamaged

America’s Cup team, Alinghi Red Bull Racing, suffered a catastrophic failure of their mast on Thursday 13 June 2024 while training on their AC75 in in Barcelona, all crew are safe and uninjured.

The mast breakage happened just after 2pm local time with the afternoon sea-breeze well and truly in – a wind the locals call a ‘strong Garbi’ – from 210-220 degrees atop a 0.5-0.8 metres, three-second period swell from 230 degrees.

The incident occurred on the most hazardous point of sail for any high performance boat, during the bear away. It was during this manoeuvre that we saw a capsize from American Magic in the 2021 America’s Cup, the damage from which ultimately saw the US team out of the America’s Cup.

Mid-way through Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s bear-away – the moment at which when acceleration is greatest and loads can shoot up if acceleration is hampered by waves – significant mast bend can be seen before the forestay went slack as the lower section in the bottom third of the mast gave way under pressure forward, causing the rig to collapse into the water to leeward.

Immediately the Alinghi Red Bull Racing sailing and support teams swung into action with divers in the water and all hands on deck to rescue the situation. Thankfully no injuries were reported. Happily for the team it seems the boat was not significantly damaged with only minor scratches observed initially around the bow area.

Silvio Arrivabene, the Co-General Manager of Alinghi Red Bull Racing said: “This afternoon, while executing a bear away in 20-knot winds, there was a mast failure on BoatOne. Everybody on board is safe, which is the most important thing. The boat is already back ashore which will allow us to quickly assess the cause of the failure.”

Photo: Ivo Rovira / America’s Cup

“Incidents like this are part of the sport. The team is prepared for this kind of situation and ready with all the necessary spare parts, so the focus is now on getting BoatOne back on the water as soon as possible.”

The effects of this breakage will be felt further than just in the Alinghi Red Bull Racing camp, however. The masts are a component on the AC75 America’s Cup boat that is very strictly controlled with the rules specifying almsot every aspect of the spar, even down to the laminate layup. As such every team currently training on AC75s in preparation for the America’s Cup is using exactly the same mast.

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams.
Build your knowledge with a subscription delivered to your door. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.