by Selwyn Manning
High winds on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf has inflicted serious structural damage to Young America.
The New York Yacht Club team yacht Young America began to split in two during its race against Nippon Challenge.
Winds on the Gulf were around 20 knots at the time with a one metre [over three foot].
The yacht broke at the deck just behind the mast on the final upwind leg.
Cracks are showing from the shear line to under the water line and the boat has taken on a banana shape.
Two crew members are still onboard - all others took to the water and have been picked up safely. A line has been attached to Young America and a tender vessel is attempting to tow her to shore. It has floatation bags and a water pump onboard in an attempt to keep her afloat.
All sails have been salvaged.