America’s Cup boat capsizes during practice run

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An America's Cup practice boat capsized Monday, flinging a crewmember down two stories through a delicate sail.

Crewmember Shannon Falcone, who had been wearing a helmet, was not seriously injured, but was sent to the hospital for a “cautionary X-ray,” Oracle Racing team spokesman Tim Jeffery told the San Francisco Examiner newspaper.

The racing yacht, a 45-foot catamaran owned by Oracle Racing and captained by four-time America’s Cup champion Russell Coutts, was about to start its second practice race of the day against its identical-twin boat, captained by reigning champion James Spithill.

The yachts were jockeying for position at the starting line, and Coutts’ boat had quickly accelerated when the wind caught its sails unexpectedly and toppled it. Three of the five crewmen were able to cling to the catamaran, but two were not.

Falcone fell from the top of the capsized boat — about 30 feet above the water — through the plastic gossamer of the sail, according to the newspaper.

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