American Magic and NYYC reunite

Published on January 7th, 2022

Newport, RI (January 7, 2022) – American Magic, which represented New York Yacht Club in the 36th America’s Cup, revealed today that they will continue this alliance against the field of challengers and the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand for the next edition in 2024.

Normally, this would hardly be news if not for what preceded it.

The USA team famously flamed out in 2021, showing much early promise before poor tactics and a hull crushing capsize had them as the first eliminated challenger. This was not what anyone anticipated, certainly not the club which launched the America’s Cup and was returning after a decade and a half away.

Motivated to influence the direction of the competition, New York Yacht Club couldn’t have done much less.

After the successful Kiwi defense, it was four months later when New York Yacht Club surprised American Magic (literally!) and formed an alliance with the Stars+Stripes team founded by members Mike Buckley and Taylor Canfield for the 37th America’s Cup.

As American Magic owned all its own assets, this shift had the appearance of a club seeking to be more in control. New York Yacht Club remained eager to help shape the future of international sport’s oldest competition, and saw this new partnership as how to do it.

The Stars+Stripes team had partnered with Long Beach Yacht Club for the 36th America’s Cup, yet a lack of funding failed to get a boat in the water. But Buckley and Canfield were not quitters, and with the support of the New York Yacht Club, maybe everyone could get what they wanted this time.

Following that announcement in July 2021, it was another three months later when New York Yacht Club decided against contesting the next America’s Cup. Again, this caught their team by surprise (this time, Stars+Stripes) which now needed a club to enter. So did American Magic.

With the entry period to open December 1, NYYC was not content with the clarity regarding the venue, timing and rules for the 37th America’s Cup, and feeling as if the clock was running out for a successful defense, they pivoted so as, in their words, to act in the best interests of the membership.

It’s hard to say if there is more to the story, as not long after that October 2021 announcement, there was the rare occurrence wherein New York Yacht Club Commodore Christopher J. Culver would not be serving the second of his two year term. And now with Paul M. Zabetakis, M.D. as the Commodore, the New York Yacht Club is back in the game.

“We are extremely excited to continue our quest to regain the America’s Cup with American Magic,” said Zabetakis. “Upon receiving the Protocol for the 37th Match, we were pleased to find that it contains elements advocated for by the Club last spring.

“In addition, the Executive Committee recently received a new proposal from Doug DeVos and Hap Fauth, American Magic principals and Club members, that warranted reconsidering our earlier decision to pause our pursuit of AC37.”

A renewed mutual desire to have American Magic sail on behalf of the Club and commit to a campaign for at least two consecutive America’s Cup cycles, prompted the Club and team to join forces for the 37th America’s Cup.

“While the result in Auckland was not what we had hoped for, skipper Terry Hutchinson and the entire team were tremendous ambassadors for the Club and displayed exemplary sportsmanship throughout the campaign,” says Zabetakis.

“The America’s Cup remains the highest peak in sailing and one of the most difficult challenges in the world of sport. The lessons learned during our previous campaign, combined with American Magic’s physical and intellectual assets and a commitment to multiple cycles, will ensure this challenge a strong chance to claim sailing’s ultimate prize.”

While it is uncertain as to the status of the Star Stripes team, American Magic has stayed the course since their defeat, building on that experience to put forth a better effort in the 37th America’s Cup.

“We intend to compete in AC37 and are hungry and highly motivated to be the most innovative team on and off the water,” remarked Hap Fauth, Principal for American Magic. “We are proud of how our team rebounded during AC36, but we have unfinished business and are committed to investing in technology, design, innovation, and talent so we are best positioned to bring the America’s Cup home!”

Following the publication of the AC37 Protocol and AC75 Class Rule on November 17, the entry period opened December 1, 2021 and runs until July 31, 2022, but late entries for the 37th America’s Cup may be accepted until May 31, 2023. The Defender is to announce Match Venue and approximate event dates on March 31, 2022. –

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