The 60ft trimaran Foncia capsizes off the French coast 30/3/08

A 60ft trimaran being used by Alinghi crew for training capsized off the coast of Lorient, France. Earlier yesterday Alinghi made the following announcement:

“At 11:30 this morning (29 March), in 20 plus knots and a lumpy Atlantic swell, the 60ft trimaran Foncia capsized off Lorient with Alinghi sailors onboard. Of the 10 crew onboard, Piet van Niekerk and Francesco Rapetti were airlifted to hospital, both are safe and with no serious injuries. The rest of the crew along with consultant Alain Gautier were involved in securing the boat and towing it ashore, the sailors are shaken but unhurt.”

Ed Baird, helming at the time of the incident, provided some insight into what happened: “As we were bearing away, always the highest risk situation on a multi-hull, both the leeward and the central hull dug into the water and the rudders came out. From then it was out of our hands and we capsized forwards. As the mast hit the water, it broke, followed by the rear beam. The crew reacted very quickly in getting everyone back on board, doing a head count and checking injuries before calling for help and beginning to secure the boat.”

Foncia was towed into the harbour upside down to be craned out and assessed for damage.

“We have all been through crashes and capsizes before, this is all part of the sport,” explained Baird, adding “however this is a temporary situation with Foncia and is not our equipment, so it is even more disappointing to us that we are involved in damaging someone else’s gear. We have learned a valuable lesson here and now must get to work to fix things up for Alain [Gautier].”

Alain Gautier, a recognised multihull expert, had only been recently announced as joining the Team Alinghi for the multihull America’s Cup Match set down for this year.

This is the 60ftFoncianose diving before pitchpoling. This is one of the weaknesses of trimarans that are as wide as they are long, and it is a problem America’s Cup crews will have to address when they start sailing their 90ft x 90ft tris.