October 16 proved an exciting day for America’s Cup fans with the christening of both the UK’s Britannia and America’s Patriot.
Britannia will be helmed by four-time Olympic gold medalist and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie. Olympic Gold medalist Giles Scott will serve as tactician. “Today marks a landmark moment for all of us”, said Ainslie, “a huge amount of hard work and dedication has gone into designing and building this race boat, including over 90,000 design hours and 46,000 construction hours.”
Patriot will be helmed by Kiwi America’s Cup Veteran Dean Barker and skippered by Team Director and two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, Terry Hutchinson. Patriot is American Magic’s second AC75, replacing their practice and testing yacht, Defiant. Upgrades from Defiant’s design include a significant helm position change. "To be launching Patriot now, here in Auckland, and knowing we are in the final run to the start of racing is exciting." said Barker, "We have to trust that we have followed our process all the way through, and I think the final product we are putting in the water today is very special."
The first races of the America’s Cup World Series will be held December 17-20 in Auckland, where these yachts will face off with Italian Challenger of the Record, Luna Rossa Challenge, and Defender Emirates Team New Zealand. Design details for the oldest international sporting trophy are a close kept secret, and with two practice races cancelled due to Covid, it’s anyone’s guess how the designs will stack up.