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American Magic takes 2nd overall at PRADA ACWS Auckland

by NYYC American Magic 19 Dec 2020 03:43 PST 17-19 December 2020
New York Yacht Club American Magic on day 3 of PRADA ACWS Auckland © Sailing Energy / American Magic

Day 3 of the Prada America's Cup World Series Auckland saw New York Yacht Club American Magic close out racing at the first AC75 class regatta with a second place finish overall.

Emirates Team New Zealand, the Defender of the America's Cup, won both of its races today against American Magic and the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team to claim the top spot.

American Magic led ETNZ for the first half of Race 10, with a chance to claim a regatta victory with a win. However, with the race a dead heat approaching the end of leg 3, PATRIOT, the American AC75, fell off her foils during a light-air tack. This allowed ETNZ to build and defend a sizable lead for the rest of the race.

"When you drop off a foil, it's sort of 'game over,'" said Dean Barker, Helmsman for American Magic, who explained at the post-race press conference that technical issues with the port-side foil were the cause. "These boats are challenging in the bottom wind range [and] to just [keep] foiling 100 percent of the time."

American Magic also raced and won against INEOS Team UK, giving the U.S. team a 4-2 overall record for the event.

Race 10: American Magic vs. Emirates Team New Zealand

With significantly lighter wind speeds present on Day 3, the PATRIOT and TE REHUTAI rematch promised to be a much different affair than the team's previous meeting on Day 1 in 10-14 knots. The two boats did not engage each other in the pre-start, instead opting to stay clean, fast and unencumbered. Off the starting line, PATRIOT was higher and a bit slower, and won the first cross. The two cutting-edge yachts separated widely up the first beat.

At the top mark, PATRIOT led TE REHUTAI by 12 seconds, but the kiwis managed to close the gap to three seconds at the leeward gate as the light winds continued to challenge both teams to find pressure, execute clean maneuvers and stay fast.

Partway up the second beat (leg 3), ETNZ crossed American Magic by only a few meters, and it seemed an exciting showdown at the windward gate was imminent. However, while tacking from port to starboard at the top right corner of the course, PATRIOT fell off her port-side foil and struggled to get back up to full speed. At the mark, TE REHUTAI was nearly a minute ahead.

The two yachts achieved similar straight-line speeds for the remainder of the race, but the Defender sailed largely error-free and claimed a final margin of victory of 1:19.

Race 11: American Magic vs. INEOS Team UK

INEOS Team UK's BRITANNIA charged into the starting box against PATRIOT slightly too early, and was penalized by the umpires. After a clean start by both teams, BRITANNIA fell off her foils during her first tack, clearing her penalty in the process. PATRIOT stayed up on her foils and stretched out to an early lead.

The U.S. Challenger extended its lead until the final leg, when PATRIOT unexpectedly stopped foiling and entered into displacement mode after a bad meanuver. The British Challenger recovered hundreds of meters of distance, but PATRIOT managed to get foiling again after a tense re-start and preserve a margin of victory of over five minutes.

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