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U.S. America's Cup Challenger returns to Pensacola, on the Gulf Coast, with new AC75

by American Magic 9 Dec 2019 11:08 PST 10 December 2019
DEFIANT arrives at the Port of Pensacola after a journey from Rhode Island of over 1,300 miles. © American Magic / Dylan Clarke

New York Yacht Club American Magic, Challenger for the 36th America's Cup, has returned to Pensacola, Florida, for a second consecutive winter training season.

In 2018, American Magic became the first America's Cup team to train on the Gulf Coast of Florida since 1970. From December 2018 to May 2019, the team sailed a groundbreaking 38-foot test boat, nicknamed the Mule, on Pensacola Bay before returning to Rhode Island for the warmer months.

American Magic and the Mule returned to the Port of Pensacola in November, but have now been joined by the team's new AC75 racing boat, DEFIANT. The boat was launched in early September in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and was the first boat of its type to both sail and foil. The 75-foot monohull carries a crew of 11, and will race in multiple America's Cup World Series events in 2020. While the team plans to build a second AC75 prior to the Prada Cup, the America's Cup Challenger finals, in 2021, training and racing onboard DEFIANT will be a crucial stage of the team's campaign to win the oldest trophy in international sports for the United States.

"Returning to Pensacola for a second winter was an easy decision for us because of the fantastic bay, our familiarity with the area, and the hospitality of the community here," said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic. "The testing we have planned for DEFIANT this winter will be helped by the natural foiling venue we have here. The bay is wide, flat and windy, and the Port of Pensacola has helped us establish an ideal base for over 100 team personnel and their families. Pensacola will be a big part of our future success."

"The City of Pensacola is honored to again host American Magic and welcomes DEFIANT to her winter training base at the Port of Pensacola," said Mayor Grover Robinson. "The community has rallied around the team and stands ready to help in any way we can as they begin testing on beautiful Pensacola Bay, a premiere sailing venue."

American Magic will remain in Pensacola until March, when the team will head to Italy for the first America's Cup World Series event in Cagliari.

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