Emirates Team New Zealand may have been the first to launch a new-generation America’s Cup boat, but it was the New York Yacht Club’s challenger, American Magic, that had the last (first?) laugh.
Just a few days after ETNZ’s radical-looking AC75 hit the water in mid-September, the American team not only splashed their new boat, but were up on the foils and charging across the waters of Narragansett Bay while the Kiwis were still tow-testing theirs.
Not only that, but helmsman Dean Barker and his crew pulled off their first full-foiling gybe—a notoriously difficult maneuver—on their maiden test sail, with a practiced ease that was down to their months of training on the “Mule,” the McConaghy 38 that was transformed into a half-scale version of the real thing. If it’s time on the boat that counts, the Kiwis must be eyeing the American team with a great deal of respect.
The other challengers—Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, INEOS Team UK and Stars & Stripes—had not launched their AC75s at time of writing, but all except Stars & Stripes should be in the water by the time you read this.
Under AC36 class rules, foil arms and canting mechanisms, masts and rigging are supplied, while sail area and the length, beam and weight of the hulls are restricted.
The first races for the new boats will be in Sardinia, Italy, next April, in a stadium-style World Series event. The 36th America’s Cup regatta itself will be held from March 6-21 in Auckland, New Zealand, with new boats from each team taking part.