Get your hearts out of your mouths and back in your chest, New Zealand.

Emirates Team New Zealand tactician Ray Davies says it wouldn't necessarily have been the end of the America's Cup campaign had the boat capsized yesterday.

He says Team NZ have studied what to do in case of a side capsize as yesterday's almost was - as opposed to a pitch-pole (end-over-end capsize).

When it happened, Davies ended up clinging to the leeward wingsheet. But his mind was racing up through the gears. Capsize. Bad. But it all depends ...


"All I was thinking about was saving the boat," he said. "There's a chance until the mast tip hits the water.

"Even then, it depends how it hits the water. If it ends up lying on the water for a while, you've got a show.

"The wingsail is sort of like a windsurfer at that stage - and you can almost do a water start if you can catch it [before it sinks under the water]."

A water start with a 40m wingsail would be a wonderful trick that everyone in ETNZ fervently hopes they never have to pull off. After all, no one has ever actually done a "water start" in a capsized AC72.

What is known for sure is that two AC72s have capsized in San Francisco Bay before. One Oracle, one Artemis. The latter was left in bits and was the scene of the death of crewman Andrew "Bart" Simpson in May.

Oracle's capsize in October last year destroyed its wingsail and mast though the hulls and platform were saved and the reconstituted boat became OTUSA Boat 1 (Boat 2 is their racing boat; it went through a considerable design rethink and build as a result of Boat 1's capsize).

"We do have a plan for what to do if that happens," said skipper Dean Barker. "It depends on how you get it back up ... but there is no guarantee it will be in one piece."

Asked if the thought had flashed through his mind that Team NZ's campaign was about to go down the toilet, Barker said: "I didn't really have time to think about it. It was a very undesirable position to find yourself in - and we will plan to get over it when we go racing tomorrow."


He did worry, however, about the fate of the three crewmen who found themselves hovering something like 12m high on the raised hull, which is 14m apart from its twin on the other side of the boat.

They were wing trimmer Glenn Ashby, grinder Winston Macfarlane and strategist Adam Beashel.

A London double-decker bus is about 4.3m high so, if the sailors had fallen off the hull, it would have been like falling off the top of three buses stacked on top of each other, while doing about 18 to 20 knots (about 35 km/h).