The South African AC yacht has suffered internal damage after colliding with a whale earlier this week in Table Bay

America’s Cup Yacht Shosholoza, RSA 48, suffered internal structural damage aft of the keel area and some surface damage to the bulb as a result of colliding with a whale in Table Bay on Monday 14 February, during a training session.

Structural engineers and yacht building experts from the Team Shosholoza Design and Build Team were on site to inspect the yacht soon after it was lifted out the water yesterday (Tuesday 15 February).

“It is not as bad as we expected,” said Tony Evans build manager of Team Shosholoza. “We are very lucky to have got away with as little damage as we did.”

He estimated the internal structural damage aft of the keel would take about a day and a half to reinforce, the steering wheels about two to three days to rebuild and that the yacht should be back on the water sailing by Saturday.

The rig was also lifted and no damage has been found. It will nevertheless be thoroughly die tested for any possible normal wear and tear as part of a routine service.

If all goes according to schedule the yacht will be lifted back into the water on Friday.

Sailing Manager Paul Standbridge has scheduled Saturday as a full sail training day.

Skipper Geoff Meek has a grade two torn ligament on his left knee but recuperating well. Navigator Marc Lagesse is still in a lot of pain from his neck and collarbone bruising but returned to work. The rest of the team is in excellent spirits despite minor bruising.

Mr Wolfgang Jakob, CEO of T-Systems South Africa, said he was delighted to hear there was no permanent damage to the yacht following such an unfortunate freak accident.

“It is only when the unexpected happens that the true mettle of a team is tested and the spirit in which they have handled this utterly unexpected incident proves that they will be able to tackle any challenge that they will have to face in the America’s Cup.”