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American Magic ready to begin at Prada America's Cup World Series Auckland

by American Magic 16 Dec 2020 05:52 PST 17-20 December 2020
New York Yacht Club American Magic's AC75 racing boat, Patriot, during practice racing with Te Rehutai of America's Cup Defender Emirates Team New Zealand © American Magic / Sailing Energy

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 Cup, which will begin in under 24 hours.

ACWS Auckland will run from December 17-19, New Zealand time (December 16-18, U.S. time), with the Christmas Cup taking place on December 20 (December 19, U.S. 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. 1,081 days, three training venues, one test boat and two full-fledged AC75's later, American Magic will now 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, racing is tomorrow, 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. Treat tomorrow's racing as 'business as usual.' 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.

Despite 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."

On the first day of racing at ACWS Auckland, American Magic will 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 their website will carry most of the racing either live or with a time delay, and all races will be available on replay. 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 at www.youtube.com/americascup

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