On the eve of the Prada Cup challenger series, the official start of the 36th America’s Cup, New York Yacht Club American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson says it’s anyone’s game.
"As we've seen in the last week, everyone's gotten faster," said Hutchinson said at the event’s opening press conference. "The [America's Cup World Series] is in the past. Those were good races, but all three teams sitting here made steps beyond that. And what we saw from the Defender [Emirates Team New Zealand] the other day is they've made steps beyond where they were. After the World Series, we got pretty heavily into just straight-line boat speed development and then from there working on maneuvering and how to best keep Patriot up and out of the water. There are areas inside the boat and outside the boat that [Principal Designer] Marcelino Botin and the designers wanted to improve."
Design and modifications aside, Hutchinson added it's important for any team not to overlook the human aspect of the regatta. "There's so much to gain in just racing the boat well," said Hutchinson, now in his fifth career Cup campaign. "You're continually putting yourself under pressure. If you change things under the water [on the foils] you lose time on the water. It's about striking that balance."
For American Magic, the first day of Prada Cup racing represents a major milestone in the team's mission to reclaim the oldest trophy in international sports for the United States and for the New York Yacht Club. In Auckland, NYYC has returned to Cup racing after an 18-year absence. The coalition comprised of the team, the club, the team's sponsors and its donors has aimed to leave no stone unturned in working to win against a strong pair of challengers and the Defender.
For over three years, the pace of preparation has been unyielding. Design work for American Magic began in 2017 at the offices of Botin Partners. New York Yacht Club formally lodged its challenge with the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron seconds after entries opened in early 2018. The boat production facility was opened in 2018 and the “Mule,” the team's 38ft test boat, was launched later that year. The Mule achieved a remarkable 92 days on the water, and the team's first AC75, Defiant, was also worked hard over the course of 66 sailing days.
At a full-team meeting on the day before the opening race of the Prada Cup, the Team Principals of New York Yacht Club American Magic expressed their thanks and admiration to the team. "American Magic is made up of great people who have bonded together from various professions to form this tremendous team," said Hap Fauth, Team Principal and CEO. "We now have a great opportunity to prove that we are the best Challenger to take on the Kiwis."
For the latest on the Prada Cup, in which American Magic will compete with Great Britain’s INEOS Team UK and Italy’s Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team to see who will take on the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup finals, click here.
For the complete backstory on the Cup, click here.