America’s Cup: Building the beast

Published on September 29th, 2020

Brandon Linton

by Chris Szepessy, WindCheck magazine
A specialist in the construction of composite boats, structures, and components since 1990, Brandon Linton has worked with many of the world’s foremost yacht designers and engineers.

His CV includes the management and construction of two Volvo Open 70s (the Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed Mar Mostro and the Botin/Carkeek-designed Il Mostro for PUMA Ocean Racing); the Verdier/VPLP-designed Comanche, Jim Clarke’s record-smashing 100-footer; the AC50 Magic Blue for Artemis Racing in the 35th edition of the America’s Cup; eleven America’s Cup class yachts and more than a dozen other grand prix racing yachts.

As Boat Construction Manager with New York Yacht Club American Magic, challenger for the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada, he’s in charge of the construction of the team’s 38-foot foiling test boat and a pair of foiling AC75 yachts.

Where did you grow up, and how old were you when you started sailing?

I grew up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. My father was the reason I became involved in the boating community. He was the Vice Commodore of The Royal Motor Yacht Club on Sydney’s Pittwater, and also the Race Director for the club’s weekly ‘Twilight Series’ yacht race which would have in excess of 100 yachts at the start-line every Monday night. I was involved in this weekly racing as a teenager with a couple of mates on an extremely slow 30-foot cruising yacht. We didn’t take the racing too seriously. My father gave me a 12-foot open fishing boat with a tiller steer outboard when I was 15. Looking back, it was a great way to learn about responsibility and independence on the water, plus it was a lot of fun.

What inspired you to become a composite boatbuilder, and where did you acquire your skills?

I was always building things from a very young age. I always had a project on the go. I was into boating and so it all sort of made sense to build boats. I really wanted to build timber boats at that time but that art was dying out. I started my boatbuilding apprenticeship building production powerboats for Riviera Marine in Queensland at the age of 18. At two years into a four-year apprenticeship, I realized that I wanted to get more out of this trade by building more high-tech craft out of more high-tech materials, so I transferred my apprenticeship to McConaghy Boats in Sydney. I have to give thanks to John McConaghy who took me on at the height of an economic recession, which placed me on the pathway to where I am today. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the most influential designers, engineers and builders in the industry, whose shared knowledge has helped my decision making throughout my career. Full report.


36th America’s Cup
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAW
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAW

Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, however, it is unclear what entry payments have been made, nor is there knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team assembled.

Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
✔ October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
• December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
• January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
• March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Youth America’s Cup Competition
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1


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