As an Official Supplier of New York Yacht Club American Magic, we are saddened to learn about the crash of PATRIOT over the weekend, but relieved to know that nobody was hurt and the boat was saved from sinking. Despite the fierce competition and rivalry between the teams, it was truly inspiring to see the entire America’s Cup community come to the aid of American Magic in their time of need, along with monumental efforts by the New Zealand Coast Gaurd and countless first responders on scene. With that said, we know that the resilient spirit of the entire American Magic team will undoubtedly prevail in the aftermath of the incident, and we stand behind them as they begin the enormous undertaking of rebuilding and repairing PATRIOT to race again!
From American Magic:
Auckland, New Zealand – After racing into a squall, crashing, capsizing, incurring significant damage and coming close to sinking, American Magic’s AC75 racing yacht, PATRIOT, made it back to shore at 10:45 PM NZDT after a herculean effort to save the boat.
“First and foremost, we are incredibly grateful and thankful that everybody is safe,” said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic, the U.S. Challenger for the America’s Cup. “The team did an incredible job getting PATRIOT back to the dock.”
The arrival of the American AC75 back to the team base in Wynyard Quarter was due not only to the perseverance of the team, which never gave up the fight over many hours, but that of the greater Auckland and America’s Cup communities. The three other Cup teams, the AC36 event management team, and multiple branches of Auckland’s rescue services came to the aid of American Magic in a moment of urgent need.
“The response from the local community here was incredible, and you can’t give enough thanks to the police, fire and local authorities for their quick response,” said Hutchinson shortly after stepping ashore, in darkness, alongside his exhausted but relieved teammates.
“The response from the other teams was amazing, too. It was certainly heartwarming to see all the support, and obviously we needed it because this was a crisis situation. Huge thanks to Emirates Team New Zealand, to INEOS Team UK, and to Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli for coming out and helping us.”
On the final leg of a race she was leading, a significant puff of wind sent the American AC75 hurtling into the air, followed by a hard re-entry into the water. The shock of the landing tore a hole into the port side of the yacht, which was not immediately apparent to the sailors onboard. PATRIOT capsized sideways into the water, port side down, which temporarily hid the extent of the damage.
After following well-practiced capsize procedures, and determining that all were safe, American Magic righted the yacht to discover that she was sitting low in the water. It was apparent that this was a much different scenario than the team’s previous AC75 capsize, which occurred with the team’s now-retired first AC75, DEFIANT.
“We knew something was wrong straight away,” said Hutchinson. “When we tipped DEFIANT over, the boat was pretty buoyant and sat pretty high on her side. When we righted DEFIANT, and as we saw with Team New Zealand a few days ago when they righted their boat, the recovery was instantaneous. As soon as you get the breeze underneath the boat, underneath the mainsail, the boat pops back up.”
“Today on PATRIOT, when I was getting out of my cockpit, we were lower in the water. The ‘pop-up’ wasn’t happening. So that was kind of the first indication. [Boat Captain] Tyson [Lamond] came through the comms saying ‘I think there’s a hole in the boat.’ We spent the next couple of hours securing the platform.”
In terms of how the team will move forward, Hutchinson said the process of damage analysis, repair planning and repair execution would begin tonight and continue nonstop in an effort to get PATRIOT back in action.
“We have to see what the damage is on the inside of the boat, apart from the hole. Fortunately we’re here at our base now, they’re getting the rig out, and we’ll assess the damage and go forward.”
Hutchinson said that this type of incident would certainly be a major challenge to overcome, especially with only 12 days remaining until the Prada Cup semifinals. He also said that the resilience of his team is never in doubt.
“Time and time again, American Magic has always responded to the adverse situations that we’ve been faced with, be it COVID-19 or other things we’ve come across in the last three years,” said Hutchinson. “This one is probably a bit of a larger challenge, but as always, how you get up is more important than how you get knocked down. I’m confident in us. I’m confident in our people.”