Several boats have capsized during America’s Cup trial runs in San Francisco Bay over the past few months, but events turned utterly tragic on Thursday when Andrew “Bart” Simpson, 36, the chief strategist for the Artemis Racing team, was killed when his boat overturned near Treasure Island. As the incident is being reviewed, there’s speculation that it could lead to this summer’s event being called off entirely.
Seems drastic — one study estimates that the America’s Cup will generate $1.4 billion to the region’s economy, which would be about three times that of the Super Bowl should it be played here in 2016. NBC News:
All practice runs were canceled through the weekend as America’s Cup officials, San Francisco police and Coast Guard investigators try to piece together what went wrong, said Stephen Barclay, chief executive of the America’s Cup Event Authority.
Asked whether the regatta, which is scheduled for July through September, could be canceled, Barclay said, “Nothing’s off the table,” twice adding: “We will not be held to a timetable.”
I’ve been out to the Bay to watch practice runs, and it’s a beautiful sight — some of the yachts even venture near AT&T Park. But San Francisco Bay can be treacherous. The winds are unpredictable, and it’s a confined space compared to other America’s Cup venues. Holding the race in the Bay would be like running the Kentucky Derby in your backyard. But the good part of that is from the spectators’ point of view: more of the race can be seen from shore.
Anyway, I’d prefer less tragedy with my sports, OK? We’ve all had our fill lately.
Photo: via ABC Local.