Skip to main content

36th America's Cup: American Magic

           Dean Barker and the rest of the “American Magic” campaign (above, to windward) had a chance to start honing their match-racing skills at the Congressional Cup 

           Dean Barker and the rest of the “American Magic” campaign (above, to windward) had a chance to start honing their match-racing skills at the Congressional Cup 

While much of the yacht racing world has had its eyes glued to the Volvo Ocean Race these eight past months, the behemoth that is the America’s Cup has also been slowly but surely lurching into motion, following the publication of the official AC75 class rule in late March.

Here at home, the New York Yacht Club’s “American Magic” campaign (so named in honor of the schooner that started it all back in 1851) continues to pick up steam, with its sailors first winning the Ficker Cup and then taking second overall this past April in the Congressional Cup, behind former World Match Racing champion Taylor Canfield of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Interestingly, while renowned U.S. sailor Terry Hutchinson is currently leading the effort, at the helm is Kiwi America’s Cup veteran Dean Barker, the skipper on the losing side of the Jimmy Spithill-led “Comeback” on San Francisco Bay in 2013.

“So far, the overall experience has been very good,” said Hutchinson. “The Ficker and Congressional Cups were an opportunity to test ourselves, to see where we are, and to apply some pressure [to our team]. Over 12 days, American Magic had a record of 39-7 against some really strong competition. Unfortunately, we didn’t win on the last day of the Congressional Cup, but we did a lot of really good things as a team.”

Speaking of Spithill, while there’s still no sign of his ex-boss Larry Ellison, it appears he remains undaunted by the shellacking he received as helmsman for Oracle Team USA at the hands of the current Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, in Bermuda and has now signed on with his former rival, the Challenger-of-Record, Italy’s Team Luna Rossa Challenge.

And speaking of shellackings, it appears Britain’s Sir Ben Ainslie, whose Land Rover BAR squad didn’t do so well in Bermuda either, has also not yet had enough and will make another attempt at returning the Auld Mug to its birthplace. Not only that, but it appears Ainslie (who was also Spithill’s tactician for the 34th Cup in San Francisco) now has the funds to make that happen, after securing $153 million in backing from British petrochemicals magnate James Ratcliffe, for what is now being called INEOS Team GB.

As for the characteristically tight-lipped Kiwi Defenders, who the heck knows? After unveiling the admittedly odd-looking new 75-footer with its pivoting T-foils legs that will be used to sail for the Cup in 2021, a cone of silence has fallen over the Auckland-based camp.

           Robots need not apply, as only humans are allowed   

           Robots need not apply, as only humans are allowed   

That said, there is one thing we can be sure of, and that is that robots need not apply: this thanks to a clause in the AC75 rule that states, “There shall be 11 crewmembers unless reduced by accident, who shall all be human beings.”

In the words of Emirates technical director, Dan Bernasconi, “It’s a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but you never know. People are always looking for the last bit of performance to get out of the boat. Whether anyone would turn up with a crew full of androids, who would know?”

Who would know, indeed? Especially since with $153 million at his disposal, Sir Ben, at least, will be in a position to buy himself some pretty exotic toys. Makes those old nationality debates seem almost quaint by comparison. For the latest on the inevitable craziness that is the America’s Cup, visit americascup.com

July 2018

Related

00-LEAD-JB13-RT1169

What's it Like to Sail a Legend?

In 1851, the New York pilot schooner America sailed to England, beat the Brits at their own prestigious yacht race (which came to be known as the America’s Cup), and launched an evolution of the East Coast’s pilot craft into vessels that were the envy of the world. Their ...read more

Alexforbes Archangel1-1 (14)

Cape2Rio Draws to a Close

With just four boats still on their way, it has been a long road to Rio for the fleet competing in this year’s Cape2Rio. Larry Folsom’s American-flagged Balance 526 Nohri took line honors and a win in the MORCA fleet, finishing with a corrected time of 18 days, 20 hours, and 42 ...read more

_01-Steve-and-Irene-1

Close Encounters: A Star to Steer By

I first met Steve and Irene Macek in the proper way—in an anchorage full of bluewater cruising boats. This was in St. Georges, Bermuda, in the spring of 2019. Theirs, without doubt, was the most distinctive boat there—an immaculate, three-masted, double-ended Marco Polo schooner ...read more

14_01_230123_TOR_JOF_0414-2048x

The Ocean Race Leg 2 Kicks Off

After a trial by fire start to the race and only a brief stop for limited fixes, the five IMOCA 60 crews in The Ocean Race set off for Cape Town, South Africa, early on January 25. Despite arriving somewhat battered in Cabo Verde, an African island nation west of Senegal, the ...read more

Lead

Cruising: Smitten with a Wooden Boat

I was sailing down the inner channel of Marina del Rey under a beautiful red sunset when Nills, one of the crew members on my boat, pointed out an unusual and unique-looking 40-foot gaff-rigged wooden cutter tied to the end of a dock. Its classic appearance was a stark contrast ...read more

Screen-Shot-2023-01-23-at-12.03.19-PM

Racing Recap: Leg One of The Ocean Race

New to spectating The Ocean Race? Managing Editor Lydia Mullan breaks down everything you need to know to get started. ...read more

image00001

From the Editor: Keeping the Hands in Hands-On

SAIL Editor-in-Chief Wendy Mitman Clarke enjoys a sunny autumn cruise in her Peterson 34 on the Chesapeake Bay. It was late afternoon just after the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis when I climbed aboard the last boat on the schedule. I and others who review and sail boats for ...read more

P1580711

B&G Announces New Zeus S Chartplotter

B&G has long been putting out top-of-the-line electronics, but the new Zeus S Chartplotter is a new take on the best way to give sailors the exact information they need, when they need it. “So many more people sail shorthanded these days, whether as a couple or when they’re ...read more