Crew of Oracle Team USA had their hearts in their mouths, as grinder Graeme Spence fell overboard and narrowly avoided being sliced in half this week.

The team were out training off their Bermuda base, when Spence was swept over the edge during a tack and disappeared between the boat's twin hulls.

Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill, who has often warned of the dangers inherent with these high-speed catamarans, described this incident as "the longest two seconds".

"Any time you see or hear someone go over the front, it's a real bad feeling," said Spithill. "That time from when he goes over the front to when you see him pop back up on the surface and see the thumbs up, always takes too long.

Advertisement

"Every day, we are constantly reminded of pushing the limites and learning from them."

Luckily, Spence emerged relatively unscathed.

"You're very aware of everything that's around you - the four foils in the water with you," he said afterwards. "I just sort of froze a little bit and then was quite relieved to realise I was out the back of it."