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America's Cup: American Magic ready to sail at 7-8 days notice if Auckland gets the AC37 venue nod

by Richard Gladwell 2 May 19:24 PDT 3 May 2021
American Magic - Patriot - Waitemata Harbour - January 30, 2021 - 36th America's Cup © Richard Gladwell / Sail-World.com

American Magic's Terry Hutchinson says the AC36 Challenger are all packed and ready to go sailing at 7-8 days notice, if the next venue is Auckland, otherwise they will head back to the USA.

"The status of the [Auckland] base is that we are probably 7-8 days away from a sailing operation. The majority of the containers are all still as we left them. The boats are shrink-wrapped and inside the base, as are the chase boats."

"We leave it in a position that if we get the nod to go sailing in New Zealand we don't have too much work to do. And if the next event is not going to be in New Zealand, then we are in a spot where we can put everything on a ship, decommission the tents and pack everything up to ship back to the United States."

The team representing the New York Yacht Club have rebuilt their first AC75, Defiant, replacing the internal structure that was removed and re-purposed, to speed the repair of the team's second AC75 Patriot which suffered significant hull damage after a capsize, after being hit by a sudden 26kt squall on the third day of racing in the Round Robin phase of the Prada Cup.

"After the regatta was over we rebuilt that structure inside Defiant, so if someone wants to buy a first generation AC75, they can - she's ready to go," Hutchinson says in a video published as part of Harken's May issue of "At the Front" newsletter , which explores the immediate aftermath of an America's Cup.

Prior to the capsize, which punched a hole in the hull of Patriot, Defiant had been used to provide components for the team's second AC75 and race boat, Patriot. "You do use componentry from Boat 1 inside Boat 2, just to manage the cost as best you can."

The Executive Director of American Magic summed up the key point of difference between Emirates Team Zealand, the America's Cup Defender, and the three Challengers.

"Team New Zealand, in actuality, was the team that best skinned the aerodynamic side of it, because they had the smallest foils and yet they were the best manoeuvring boat and they were able to take off in light air.

"From a systems perspective they did a very good job. The way they trimmed their main in the way that the system was linked to the traveller was very good."

Hutchinson says that following their exit from the America's Cup they have conducted a five week review of the campaign.

"These teams are all go, go, go and then you come to a screeching halt."

"Certainly our screeching halt came a lot sooner that we had ever planned for. In this particular instance we were pretty quick to make sure we had a proper debrief structure in place so we could capture the things that we did well and the things we did poorly, and areas of improvement going forward.

"That happened on a couple of different levels. We did an anonymous internal team survey that was set up to be a little bit combative, by the way the questions were asked. We wanted to get people's true thoughts, which we did by way of making it anonymous."

American Magic engaged an independent consultant, who had worked with the team as a high performance coach "but wasn't involved intimately day in day out with the team."

"He could get the information and put an unbiased lens over it for us and really capture the key drivers, as to what we did well, and what the team members thought we did poorly."

"That was top priority in the weeks after our elimination from the competition", Hutchinson added.

Hutchinson also conducted about 70 one-on-one interviews with team members, capturing the comments and then getting the individual members to review the comments "to make sure that we heard and saw the same things."

"That's an opportunity for self-reflection and to look and thank the team member in the eye, and really applaud the effort they put in."

"The raw emotion of those moments is quite humbling, as you get to see how invested everyone is into what we did."

"While you always have the daily interaction, as you walk through the team, but it is truly impossible to stand in someone else's shoes for each day."

"I found that [process] to be quite rewarding in some ways, because I think team members were quite honest and candid, and it wasn't an environment that is combative, but one that is more open and informal. There's no set agenda, there's no set discussion points.

"You have an open conversation with someone who started out [the campaign] as a team member, and developed into working relationships and friendships," he added.

For the full interview:

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