Analysis: Sturdier America's Cup boats allow teams to push limits, meaning more capsizes

Sailing commentator Peter Lester says America's Cup teams will take confidence to continue pushing the limits of their AC75s after Team New Zealand emerged seemingly unscathed after capsizing yesterday.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Peter Lester said a crash like Team NZ's recent capsize would've been a disaster with past boat models. Source: 1 NEWS

Team New Zealand lost control of Te Rehutai while travelling at around 35 knots in a practice race against INEOS Team UK yesterday afternoon, resulting in the boat nose-diving and twisting onto its side.

Lester said he initially expected the crash to force Team NZ into their sheds for damage assessment on Te Rehutai for the next few days, but he was pleased to see the Kiwis back on the water today - as would the other crews.

"These boats seem really resilient and tough," Lester said.

"You've got to give a big tick to the concept and designers for coming up with a boat that you can push that hard and have that big a crash and still be out sailing the next day.

"If this had been the catamarans in Bermuda [from the 2017 America's Cup], you're in the shed, maybe permanently."

It's a point Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling noted too in his debrief of yesterday's incident.

“Chatting with the guys on the way in and that same kind of manoeuvre on the cat in Bermuda and you’d be in hundreds of pieces.

“Full credit to the design of these boats that they are still in one piece.”

Lester said the sturdiness of the AC75s will have a domino effect on this year's racing, leading Burling and others to push the limits often, which in return will likely result in more boats going over the edge both literally and metaphorically.

"It shows that they can push without breaking the boats completely. Coming from an Olympic background, it's very common to capsize.

"It means they'll push right to the boundaries - all the teams, not just Team New Zealand - but it makes for great viewing!"

Lester added a team's ability to come back from a capsize could become a key attribute in this year's regatta if the boundaries are consistently pushed.

"Everyone makes mistakes but it's about how you recover and how quickly you recover which could be a big talking point through the America's Cup."