Finally go time for American Magic

Published on December 16th, 2020

New York Yacht Club American Magic, the U.S. Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup, is set to compete in the first official AC75 class regattas during the Prada America’s Cup World Series Auckland and the Christmas Race. The ACWS Auckland will run from December 17-19, with the Christmas Race taking place on December 20 (both (NZL time).

When America’s Cup competitor entries opened on January 1, 2018, the New York Yacht Club submitted notice of its challenge to the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron just a few seconds later. Now, after 1,081 days, three training venues, one test boat, and two full-fledged AC75s, American Magic will have a chance to compete against two strong Challengers and the Defender of the America’s Cup on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbor.

“We’re finally here, and it seems like yesterday that we started on this adventure,” said Team Principal and CEO Hap Fauth in a full team meeting held the day before racing. “Thank you all for your blood, sweat, and long days, weeks and months coming down the stretch… I am so proud of all of you.”

ACWS Auckland comes after the two prior exhibition events, ACWS Cagliari and ACWS Portsmouth, were canceled due to COVID-19. The lack of official AC75 racing since the inception of the class has drastically reduced the chances for teams to measure themselves against each other. In Auckland this week, all of that will change.

“In terms of not having the opportunity to race in Cagliari and Portsmouth, from the systems that go inside the boat, to the media (camera setup onboard the boats), to the race committee, we all are probably a bit on the back foot,” said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic.

Amid the new Cup class and the many new technologies implemented into the race management program for Auckland, Hutchinson said one thing that stood out to him was the quality of the competition.

“From a sailing and racing perspective, it’s impressive to see all four teams straight away sailing at a high level,” said Hutchinson. “You can see the work that’s been done behind the scenes. You can see that work coming to fruition. We’ve learned (from the recent official practice days) that with all three teams that we’ll race, they’re all fast enough that if you’re behind them you’re going to struggle to get around them.”

Despite the onset of long-awaited AC75 racing, the COVID-19 pandemic remains very much on the minds of American Magic team personnel. Team members went through New Zealand’s rigorous managed isolation process and left many families and friends back home.

“We feel very lucky to be here in New Zealand as a team,” said Hutchinson. “We were incredibly appreciative of the work and the effort that went on behind the scenes to get us here. We put all of our gear on a boat in Pensacola, Florida (in May), with really no guarantees as to when we could get into the country. And as it all played out, it all worked.”

With racing daily at 3:00-5:00 pm NZT (weather depending), the first day at ACWS Auckland has American Magic face off against the British Challenger INEOS Team UK in Race 2, and the Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, in Race 4.

U.S. viewers will be able to watch all racing live on NBC Sports Gold. NBC Sports Network and www.nbcsports.com will carry most of the racing either live or with a time delay, and all races will be available on replay (see schedule). International viewers will be able to watch racing live and on replay via the America’s Cup website and the America’s Cup YouTube channel (see details).

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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:

Defender:
• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

Challengers:
• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• INEOS Team UK (GBR)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAWN
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA) – WITHDRAWN
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN

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 (CANCELLED)
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

AC75 launch dates:
September 6, 2019 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10, 2019 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2, 2019 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4, 2019 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1
October 16, 2020 – American Magic (USA), Boat 2
October 17, 2020 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 2
October 20, 2020 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 2
November 19, 2020 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 2

Details: www.americascup.com

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