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Artemis has had technical problems, as well. Last fall, Artemis said the front beam of its AC72 catamaran was damaged during structural tests, delaying the boat’s christening. A year ago, Artemis‘ AC72 wing sail sustained serious damage while it was being tested on a modified trimaran in Valencia, Spain.

This also wasn’t the first America’s Cup boat to capsize on the hard-blowing San Francisco Bay. Oracle’s $10 million boat capsized in 25 knot winds in October, and strong tides swept it 4 miles past the Golden Gate Bridge. No one was injured, but the rough waters destroyed the 131-foot wing sail and the boat was sidelined until a new sail shipped from New Zealand was installed in February.

The boats participating in the latest America’s Cup more resemble a space craft than the traditional sloop-shaped yachts that historically competed for the trophy.

Financed by billionaire Larry Ellison, Oracle Team USA won the 2010 cup and made several changes to the races this year in an attempt to make the staid competition more fan- and TV-friendly.

While much faster and more exciting than the sloops, the catamarans have proved hard to handle. The wing sail looks and acts like an airplane wing, improving the yacht’s speed and maneuverability. The seven-ton boat’s hulls are lifted out of the water and it skims along the waves on “foils,” reducing the drag on the boat and increasing speed dramatically.

Because the boats are cutting-edge, sailors wear crash helmets and life vests.

Coast Guard Lt. Jeannie Crump said the agency did not know the extent of the damage to the boat. She said a commercial salvage boat was at the scene and would tow the vessel to Clipper Cove, between Yerba Buena Island and Treasure Island.

Crump added Coast Guard officials weren’t sure what caused the boat to capsize. She said the Swedish team has two boats.

The America’s Cup race is scheduled to run from July through September, and the teams are training in the bay.