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The Oracle Team USA flipped its AC72 racer on San Francisco Bay, then worked into the wee hours Wednesday hauling the wreckage back to shore. Photo: Guilain Grenier/America's Cup

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Oracle boss Larry Ellison wanted to make the America’s Cup as exciting as Nascar. He’s succeeded.

His team, the defending champs at Oracle Team USA, capsized one of its wickedly fast AC72 catamarans in San Francisco Bay on Tuesday during the team’s eighth day on the water, then scrambled to keep it from drifting out to sea.

“We’ve been pushing the boat all the time and every day we go out we’re pushing it more and more,” team tactician Tom Slingsby told reporters. “We found our limit.”

More on America’s Cup

Video: The World’s Best Sailors Tame The World’s Meanest Boats

America’s Cup Brings Big Beautiful Cats to the Bay

Inside Larry Ellison’s Insane Plan to Make America’s Cup a TV Spectacle

America’s Cup Racers Push Sailboats to the Limit

No kidding.

These boats are fast and mean, designed to be the most demanding sailboats on the water with the most skilled crews on the planet. They don’t use sails, but wings. They’re made largely of carbon fiber, and they’re huge: 72 feet long, with a beam of 46 feet and a mast 131 feet, 7 inches tall. They can hit 30 knots, and it takes 11 people to sail them.

According to the Cup folks, conditions were “fresh,” with 25-knot winds and one of the strongest ebb currents of the year. As the team turned downwind away from San Francisco, the bow dove, the stern rose and the boat pitch-poled.

In other words, it flipped.

“When the nose went down, the wing hit and a few guys went in the water,”  Slingsby said in a statement. “We were unsure if the wing would snap, so we all climbed off the boat.”

The boat slammed into the water on its side, destroying the carbon fiber wing sail and scattering very, very expensive bits of carbon fiber over the bay. No one was injured, but the current pulled the boat through the Golden Gate and out to sea even as the team, joined by a crew dispatched from shore, tried to rein in the wreckage.

“It was amazing — we watched it tip right over, and it looked like the top of the wing came right off,” one witness told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Then the big ebb tide just took it right out under the bridge, and it was obvious there was nothing they could do.”

The team managed to return the boat, or what’s left of it, to shore Wednesday morning. The wing was destroyed and the boat, which costs $8-10 million, needs extensive repairs. The rules allow each team to build two AC72 boats; this was the first of the two launched by Oracle. The second hits the water early next year.

“There’s no question this is a setback. This will be a big test for our team,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “But I’ve seen these guys in a similar situation in the past campaign before we won the America’s Cup. A strong team will bounce back from it.”

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The Occupy Wall Street movement is facing evictions in multiple cities after two months of demonstrations in city parks and squares. In the past two weeks, police have forcibly removed protesters from their encampments in Denver, Portland, Salt Lake City, Oakland, Zurich, and now New York City. Overnight, New York City police officers moved into Zucotti Park, handing out fliers telling protesters they had to leave or face arrest. (The Mayor's Office claimed it was only temporary, to allow for cleaning.) Currently some 150 protesters are gathered around Zucotti Park, preparing to re-occupy if a judge decides the city has not shown just cause for eviction. Collected here are images from several of the recent evictions, as Occupy Wall Street protesters face a turning point in their movement. [40 photos]

Police move through a makeshift kitchen, known as the Thunderdome, at Occupy Denver, smashing as they walk. The clearing out of Civic Center Park began on November 12, 2011, six Saturdays after Occupy Denver began with hundreds of participants marching through the city's downtown. (AP Photo/Leah Millis - The Denver Post)

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Victor Cobo

Behind the Smoke Colored Curtain

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The images that I collect are often as much about myself as they are about the subjects being photographed.  A broad exploration of real and imagined journeys, which often entail not only a physical displacement but also a psychological and emotional passage.

The act of seeking out characters of interest has become a therapeutic process by means of escapism, yet it is also an addiction whereby I can express who I am and delve into my current state of mind.  A deeper representation of my relationship to this vast world we live in.

I am both an actor and choreographer in my photographic diaries and similarly to the subjects I work with, I live on the fringes of society between dreams and memories. For me, the search for my subjects makes me realize they are my reflections and my companions, each one a Dante within a personal inferno. They are the renegades, outsiders and survivors.  In the end, their trials represent all of us and define these moments of solitude that we all experience in our lives.


Victor Cobo (b. 1971) is a Spanish American photographer based in New York City. His works explore our evolving isolation through memory, dreams, sexuality and the translucency of the psyche. Cobo is a self-taught photographer who was originally trained in painting and life-drawing.  His work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine; Newsweek; Time; Surface; the San Francisco Chronicle; Ojo De Pez; Burn Magazine; Leica World; Courrier Int’l.; The Advocate; Private; Foto8; American Suburb X; Idomenee and Eyemazing.  In 2007 he was the winner of the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship. Cobo’s photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally and his work is featured in many private and public collections such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Akron Art Museum, the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive and the Amon Carter Museum, as well as numerous private collections.

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