American Magic, the one viable US Challenger for America’s Cup 36, splashed their second AC75 on Friday morning (that was yesterday in New Zealand) in Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour. Patriot is the first of the second-generation AC75s to be launched by an AC team.
“We could not be more excited to get Patriot into the water after all of the hard work it has taken to get her designed, built, transported, and fitted out for sailing,” said Terry Hutchinson. Hutchinson is the American skipper and executive director of New York Yacht Club’s American Magic.
“We’ve done some great work on Defiant.” Defiant was the team’s first AC75. “It has been a real journey through three different sailing venues,” said Kiwi Dean Barker, American Magic’s helmsman. “To be launching Patriot now, here in Auckland, and knowing we are in the final run to the start of racing, is exciting. Without any regattas yet, we still do not really know where we sit in the whole pecking order. We have to trust that we have followed our process all the way through. I think the final product we are putting in the water today is very special.”
US Consul General Katelyn Choe christened the yacht. She shared a few words with the team before breaking a champagne bottle over the bow. “I am so thankful to each of you for bringing the spirit of American magic to us, which feels even more poignant during these uncertain times. We can’t control the wind, but we can direct the sails,” said Choe.
The team is looking to press the new boat hard after initial systems tests are complete. Barker said that the schedule will be aggressive over the coming weeks before the first preliminary races during the America’s Cup World Series Auckland on December 17-20.
“We have to hit the ground running flat out because every day is precious in terms of being ready for racing,” said Barker. “We have our work cut out for us to be ready.”
Barker said that every new boat launch involves a familiarization process. “The most notable difference is the helm position, so it’s going to be quite a different perspective. It’s a lot more forward on the boat compared to Defiant. Every boat has its different tendencies and different traits. We hope Patriot’s biggest trait is that it’s going to be a lot faster.”