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America's Cup: American Magic prepares to pack-out of Auckland

by Richard Gladwell/ 11 Feb 2022 04:34 PST 12 February 2022
American Magic - Pack out - Auckland - February 11, 2022 © Richard Gladwell -

The last remaining Challenger from the 36th America's Cup is packing up their base and preparing to leave Auckland.

American Magic, representing the New York Yacht Club has pulled all their equipment out of one of their temporary bases, and it is now being dismantled. The roof was dismantled on Wednesday.

Sail-World attempted to contact the team for comment, but did not get a reply.

Sail-World previously reported that the team had been trying to obtain quarantine positions in Auckland, so they could start sailing from September 17, 2022 - the first permitted sailing date for an America's Cup team who competed in AC36.

Those requests were all bounced by the New Zealand Government. However the same body did get caught, admitting DJ's as entitled to special exemption. With one being able to enter New Zealand on three different occasions, when the MIQ Lottery attracts up to 20,000 New Zealanders hoping to draw one of 3,500 spots offered. the inequitable lottery system has since been suspended indefinitely.

By sailing out the New Zealand summer, American Magic would have then been able to make a decision as to whether to re-locate to their US Base at Bristol RI, or go to the venue for the next America's Cup.

The venue for AC37 is expected to be announced on March 31, 2022.

Under the Protocol governing the 37th America's Cup, teams are prohibited from sailing from June 1, 2023 to September 30, 2023 - unless at the yet to be announced venue. When queried on the reasoning for the rule, Team New Zealand told Sail-World that it was to encourage teams to go to the venue well ahead of the regatta dates.

By sailing out of New Zealand for the coming summer the New York Yacht Club team would have been able to skirt the Reconnaissance Rules in regard to tracking Team New Zealand, as the two teams are in the same location. Otherwise the teams have to work through the common reconnaissance unit, and in AC37 are prohibited from doing their own "spying" and running their own competitor intelligence programs.

The teams that do go to the venue in mid-2023 will be able to conduct their own reconnaissance programs against other Challengers and the Defender in the usual way, at the AC37 venue.

Teams will be sailing their second-generation AC75's in the mid-2023 window, or new teams will be using their acquired first generation AC75's.

By sailing in Auckland, New York would have been able to continue the development of their AC75 Patriot, which capsized on Day 3 of the Round Robin phase of the Prada Cup.

Although repaired, Patriot was never properly tuned after her capsize, and was beaten 4-0 by the eventual AC36 Challenger Luna Rossa. Patriot did achieve the highest speed of any AC75 in the 36th America's Cup Regattas, turning in 53.31kts during an out of control moment on Day 1 of the Semi-Finals.

Encouragingly Patriot went down the minimum size foil design route, as did the winner Emirates Team New Zealand. The other two Challengers had wider foils, by continuing to sail in Auckland, American Magic would have been able to continue their current foil development while keeping a direct and independent eye on the Defender's performance - and able to engage in the black art of America's Cup intelligence and evaluation that goes beyond the data sharing permitted in the AC37 Protocol.

Confirmation of American Magic's departure is the third blow in a week for the New Zealand marine industry.

Earlier this week it was announced that the New Zealand entry in The Ocean Race 2022/23 was withdrawing, citing COVID issues and the bypassing of Auckland as a stopover port.

On Friday it was announced that the Auckland Boat Show, which had been heavily oversubscribed for space, and due to be staged in mid-March was being cancelled - due to the COVID restrictions imposed by the New Zealand Government after some very creative modelling of the impact of the Omicron variant of the virus.

Currently, cases sit at just over 400 per day, when the modelling, which led to the imposition of the Red Light lockdown status, predicted 80,000 positive cases per day in mid-February.

Ironically several new accommodation facilities including apartments have almost reached completion, and are within an easy five-minute walk of the team bases, and would have been ideal for the Challengers had AC37 stayed in Auckland.

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