Why was Team NZ so dominating?

Published on May 3rd, 2021

Duncan Johnstone offers his take on why Team NZ were so dominant on STUFF, New Zealand’s largest and most popular news site:


American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson has produced his theory on Team New Zealand’s convincing America’s Cup victory and revealed his team are ready to return to action at a week’s notice as the future of the event hangs in the balance.

Team New Zealand beat Italian syndicate Luna Rossa 7-3 in The Match in Auckland in March with Hutchinson feeling the Kiwis had produced a superior all-round boat as the Cup was contested in large foiling monohulls for the first time.

Hutchinson tipped his hat to the New Zealand design team. “Team New Zealand, in actuality, was the team that best skinned the aerodynamic side of it, because they had the smallest foils, and yet they were the best maneuvering boat, and they were able to take off in light air,” Hutchinson said.

American Magic, backed by the powerful New York Yacht Club, are keen to stay in the game and have maintained their base in Auckland where they have their two boats stored. They are eager to hear Team New Zealand’s plans for the future of the event as the defender looks to move the regatta forward with the help of new challenger of record Team UK.

Hutchinson awaits a call to action. “The status of the [Auckland] base is that we are probably 7-8 days away from a sailing operation. The majority of the containers are all still as we left them. The boats are shrink-wrapped and inside the base, as are the chase boats,” he said.

“We leave it in a position that if we get the nod to go sailing in New Zealand we don’t have too much work to do. And if the next event is not going to be in New Zealand, then we are in a spot where we can put everything on a ship, decommission the tents and pack everything up to ship back to the United States. The mistake would be not to plan for the future. We have to look at it in that manner, but we also have to improve.”

Team New Zealand are considering a one-off challenge in Britain against Team UK and are also looking at offshore hosting offers though they have a preference to defend the Auld Mug at home again if it is financially viable. The radical AC75s will stay in play and there is a chance current teams can sell their old designs to new syndicates as a way of making entry into the Cup scene less expensive.

Hutchinson said they had their original AC75 Defiant ready for sale after it was partly cannibalized to help with the repairs to their main boat Patriot that was badly damaged in a high-speed capsize during the Prada Cup challenger series. “After the regatta was over we rebuilt that structure inside Defiant, so if someone wants to buy a first generation AC75, they can – she’s ready to go,” Hutchinson said.

“After the regatta was over we rebuilt that structure inside Defiant, so if someone wants to buy a first generation AC75, they can – she’s ready to go,” Hutchinson told Harken.

Hutchinson said they had conducted a five-week review into their early exit, with American Magic the first challenger to be eliminated in Auckland following that costly capsize. “These teams are all go, go, go, and then you come to a screeching halt,” he said of the ruthless environment in yachting’s pinnacle event.

“Certainly our screeching halt came a lot sooner than we had ever planned for. In this particular instance we were pretty quick to make sure we had a proper debrief structure in place, so we could capture the things that we did well and the things we did poorly, and areas of improvement going forward.”

A robust internal investigation was complemented by input from an independent consultant. “He could get the information and put an unbiased lens over it for us and really capture the key drivers, as to what we did well, and what the team members thought we did poorly. That was top priority in the weeks after our elimination from the competition,” Hutchinson said, without revealing any key findings from the review.

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