SAN FRANCISCO -- The America's Cup found itself in crisis on Friday, with questions about safety -- and even the storied event's future -- swirling a day after a celebrated sailor was killed when the Swedish team capsized its 72-foot catamaran during practice on a mild day in the bay.

But America's Cup officials, choked up and looking shellshocked at a morning news conference, said it was too early to say what caused the boat to nose-dive and turn upside down Thursday afternoon, trapping former British Olympian Andrew "Bart" Simpson underwater. They refused to speculate whether Simpson's death -- and the increasing uncertainty over the stability of the high-tech, cutting-edge boats -- could lead them to alter the boats' design or even cancel the America's Cup regatta that begins July 4.

"Nothing is off the table," said Stephen Barclay, CEO of the America's Cup Event Authority. "We will look at what happens from the review process."

On Friday, Artemis sailors hunkered in seclusion at their base in Alameda, consoling Simpson's wife and children while its crippled catamaran lay in a broken heap on Treasure Island. Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA -- which capsized its boat last fall -- took its 72-footer off the water through Monday to allow crew members to mourn their fellow sailor and review safety. And with less than eight weeks before opening ceremonies July 4 for the world's most famous yacht race, investigations by the San Francisco police and the America's Cup into the deadly capsize have only just begun.

"I think you can't look at it as anything but a crisis," said Kimball Livingston, who co-authored the official America's Cup book, "Sailing on the Edge" and has covered every America's Cup race since 1980. "But the event will survive."

When someone asked during the news conference if Artemis had dropped out of the America's Cup, Barclay immediately replied, "absolutely not."

The America's Cup is in San Francisco because Oracle founder Larry Ellison won the 2010 America's Cup regatta and the right to choose the location. He also earned the right to choose the style of boat, and with input from sailors and boat designers, they settled on the 72-foot twin-hulled boat with a stiff main sail that reaches 130 feet.

That decision is now under intense scrutiny. The new design has pushed the sailors to speeds up to 45 mph -- three times faster than single-hulled boats that have traditionally competed for the cup.

Artemis Racing CEO Paul Cayard -- who was on the boat when it capsized -- made no comments Friday. But in recent months he expressed concern about the design. On his own sailing page, "Cayard Sailing," he wrote earlier this year: "These boats are overpowered, fragile and as we all know, the San Francisco Bay is very windy in July and August. ... Having the fastest boat is of little use if it can't get around the track."

Each of the four teams competing this summer -- Oracle, Artemis and teams from New Zealand and Italy -- have built two racing boats, one to compete, plus a spare. While Artemis' broken boat will not sail again, said regatta director Iain Murray, its second boat is still under construction and is supposed to be ready by early June.

In October, Artemis pushed back its initial launch of the now-doomed carbon fiber boat when it heard unusual noises just before setting sail. On Friday, America's Cup officials refused to speculate if the boat had structural problems.

Simpson, 36, who won gold and silver medals for Great Britain during the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, was submerged for 10 minutes after Thursday's 1 p.m. capsize with team divers from a nearby chase boat frantically searching for him, officials said. Efforts to revive him on the water and on the dock of the St. Francis Yacht Club were unsuccessful.

"It appears Bart was trapped under the solid sections of the boat, out of view and out of sight to the myriad people on board trying to locate him," said Murray, who is also CEO of America's Cup Race Management.

"We need to conduct the review to find out what happened," said Barclay. "Only after that's done will we be able to decide what, if anything, needs to be done to make sure something like this doesn't happen again."

All they knew on Friday was that the Artemis boat was doing a turning maneuver, bearing away from the wind, when the boat dug the front of its hulls into the water, then ended upside-down. Winds were blowing about 20 mph, which is normal for this time of year as well as the summer.

"I think it's safe to say what happened yesterday was not on the radar for any of us," Murray said.

Oracle experienced a similar capsize last fall, flipping end-over-end during the same maneuver. Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill acknowledged afterward that he was "pushing the limits" for speed. Conditions were far rougher that day, though, and while the boat was damaged by choppy waters, no crew were injured.

After the Oracle capsize, America's Cup managers immediately reviewed their safety policies and required sailors, along with wearing life jackets and crash helmets, to carry knives and small oxygen canisters in case they get trapped under the trampoline net that connects the two pontoons. America's Cup officials on Friday couldn't specifically say what kind of equipment Simpson had or whether he was tethered to the boat.

"All the crews were trained for underwater," Murray said. "All carried oxygen and were meant to be prepared for the worst."

Any time a 72-footer is sailing on the bay, four chase boats from the team are required to follow it, including boats filled with doctors and first aid. Those features were all in place Thursday, Murray said.

While America's Cup flags flew at half staff along San Francisco's Embarcadero, a banner on the event's headquarters provided a poignant reminder of the risks of racing: "Sailing fast is easy," one said. "Maintaining control is critical."

Contact Julia Prodis Sulek at 408-278-3409.