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Sail-World NZ - July 31, 2020 - American Magic in action in Auckland..Harken Sale

by Richard Gladwell, 30 Jul 20:02 PDT 31 July 2020
American Magic - Defiant - July 28, 2020 - Auckland © Richard Gladwell /

Welcome to's New Zealand e-magazine for July 31, 2020

For those of you who live in Auckland, don't forget to trip along to the Fosters Harken Clearance sale on tomorrow, Saturday starting at 0800hrs at 158 Beaumont Street.

This is not like any other Sale - make an offer - and see what you can negotiate.

From October Fosters will be moving to a new location in Westhaven Marine Village and will be a short walking distance away from their customers with boats in the Westhaven Marina.

Sorry but the sale isn't available online, and runs from 0800hrs on Saturday, August 1 to 1300hrs on the same day. Cash and EFT-POS only.

American Magic sailing in Auckland

Of course, the most welcome sailing sight in Auckland for some time was seeing the New York Yacht Club's America's Cup challenger American Magic out sailing on the Waitemata last Monday and two other days this week.

Everyone appreciates the efforts the team, and the other Challengers, have had to go through and are yet to traverse to get to Auckland.

While there is always natural competitiveness between the America's Cup Challengers and Defender - which is part of any Cup - but this situation is quite different.

And as more teams arrive and America's Cup fever becomes endemic in New Zealand generally, and Auckland in particular, remember that without these teams we wouldn't have an America's Cup. And also that the teams have clocked up a lot of additional expense to get to Auckland.

Hopefully, they will appreciate living in a COVID19 eliminated environment for a few months, and be able to enjoy life as we all used to know it.

American Magic's appearance was long-awaited by Cup fans and pundits - the latter keen to see how the scow-hull compared with the more familiar skiff-like lines of Emirates Team New Zealand's AC75 Te Aihe.

Having watched Defiant for several hours, and spent the same amount of time looking at study shots, it is hard to tell who is "right" and who got their concept "wrong".

With their simulators, the teams will know the answer, which will only be publicly known when they unveil their second AC75s and likely raceboats.

Had the two America's Cup World Series been staged as intended then that basic design question would have been answered.

As it is, we might not find out until the Christmas Cup in December - if at all.

It is expected that both American Magic and INEOS Team UK will shift across to skiff designs for their second-generation AC75.

Usually, this would be a giant leap of faith, but with the ability to design information off photographs, and then run that in a simulator, against their boat and any refinements they may add.

It is quite a difficult mental adjustment to see the current Protocol's reconnaissance rules in operation. What has been illegal before - is now allowed. The rules allow competitor's chase boats in very close proximity to Te Aihe and Defiant, and with cameras and long lens in action, it is hard to see what developments could be secret.

Presumably, Luna Rossa and Britannia share the same cosy relationship with watching recon teams. Since American Magic arrived in town, the number of spy boats seems to have increased, and this is expected to be the case until December at least.

The recon programs will no doubt go into overdrive when the two AC75's get on the same piece of water.

As part of our America's Cup coverage we are running a daily diary "America's Cup Rialto", which has all the news, images and video of each day that an AC75 goes sailing, or something spectacular appears on the ETNZ test boat. ["Rialto" is an Italian word that has English usage meaning "exchange, marketplace", and a tip of the hat to the Italian Challenger of Record.]

Based on past experience with Cup coverage, this is the cleanest approach to Cup coverage rather than run a series of stories on the day's events. Most training session we are spending three hours watching, and shooting still images along with some video. The approach is no different from any other sports event, where the media turn up to watch a top team practice and then write about what they see.

The last two America's Cups in Bermuda and San Francisco were also sailed on stadium courses as will be the case in Auckland. And while there was plenty of content, it was not possible to combine this into a single daily repository.

Having the daily diary makes it a lot easier to track the design changes made by the teams and how they are performing against each other, accepting the co-ordinated testing is prohibited.

It also provides an offset to the team reports, which do provide a view from the chase boat and have a history of being somewhat sanitised.

Emirates Team New Zealand's test boat Te Kahu, being under 12 metres long, is not included in the co-ordinated testing ban, and had her first lineup against Defiant on Tuesday.

Watching the match-up, there did not appear to be a lot in it. However, we understand that there is not much performance difference between ETNZ's test boat and the AC75 downwind, but upwind the performance difference is discernible.

Of course in any of these encounters, the first victim is the truth, and in these boats mainly it is hard to tell if one or both boats are sandbagging.

On the two off the water controversies - there has been no formal decision handed down in the High Court injunction sought by ETNZ to prevent publication of leaked and confidential documents and recordings.

The parties are understood to be responding to the Arbitration Panel over the Stars & Stripes Team USA issue, with no decision announced.

For all the latest news from NZ and around the world see the Top 50 stories below.

Between newsletters, you can follow all the racing and developments in major and local events on or by scrolling to the top of the site, select New Zealand, and get all the latest news and updates from the sailing world.

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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