After fatal accident in practice, head of planning says he expects race to go on.
This is a tragedy and I’m with many saying this was an accident waiting to happen, however this is the Formula 1 of boat racing and the more you push the boundaries, the more exciting and the more dangerous it gets.
The question is can you make the sailors any safer? There is always something more you can do. You can’t tie these guys to the yacht, you would cause more injuries as they have to be highly mobile on these giant cats.
I have a couple of thoughts. First, possibly not practical, but perhaps they could have a small oxygen bottle attached to their helmets, or even in them. As I said, probably not practical, but worth thinking about.
Second, location. Bart was underwater for 10 minutes. We don’t know all the details yet, were people looking for him straight away? Was there a protocol for the support crew to check thast everyone was accounted for immediately?
Here are a couple of practical ideas:
1. RFID Tags. If each of the crew has an RFID tag, then using location based technology they could be located very quickly. If someone was foind in 1 or 2 minutes rather than 10 minutes, they might be able to be resuscitated.
2. Given the money they have at their disposal and the risk, they could in fact use GPS trackers, combined with RFID.
3. A submersian alarm tied to (2 above). When someone is underwater for more than 60 seconds it sends of an alarm to the chase boat with their location.
These cats are going to drive more and more spectators to Americas Cup racing than ever before. The speed (and unfortunately the danger as well) of this racing is going to make it really exciting for TV spectators. I can see people watching it in 3D on their TV’s or in theatres following the innovation of the original Virtual Spectator (I still have a couple of factory sealed CD’s) which revolutionised visualisation of other sports.
Now we just have to follow the initiatives of the motor racing industry and work to ensure when the inevitable does happen, that we can get people out alive as quickly as possible. We need to learn from this. We will learn from this and the tragic loss of Bart Simpson will have achieved some good.