As he fought to hold back tears, American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson gave a simple summary of his team’s exodus from the Prada Cup.
“It’s brutal. It’s just brutal.”
The entry from the New York Yacht Club exits the campaign to find the winner of the 36th America’s Cup with thoughts of what might have been. The only syndicate to beat Team New Zealand in the America’s Cup World Series, American Magic were billed as the favourites going into the Prada Cup and while not getting the results early on, they showed their speed and potential.
However, with their campaign almost over when they capsized their AC75 ‘Patriot’ at the end of the second round robin, they quickly went from favourites to a team many would be happy to just see get on the water again.
While Luna Rossa had the benefit of two weeks to make improvements to their own boat, American Magic had to work to just get back in action.
After an immense effort to do so over a 10-day period, Patriot returned to the water in their rebuilt boat with just two days of sailing before the semifinal. There was still speed in the boat, but it was clearly not performing at the level it once was.
But it wasn’t just that they were eliminated that was brutal, but the fashion in which it happened. Throughout the campaign, teams have spoken about gremlins in the boats – referring to niggling little issues in the software or elsewhere on the vessel. Anyone who has seen the films know one of three rules for gremlins is to not get them wet or they cause havoc. On Saturday afternoon, that’s what happened to American Magic on the Hauraki Gulf.
Down 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, American Magic were taken out of the do-or-die race on the very first leg when they had trouble with lifting and lowering their foil arms. The issues persisted throughout the race, and they were never within touching distance of the flying Luna Rossa outfit, whose improvements in performance were clear for all to see.
From there, it was a tough watch for everyone but Luna Rossa supporters, as American Magic’s demise ultimately unfolded in slow, excruciating fashion.
“We’ve had a lot of people support us, and so ultimately you feel a responsibility to that,” Hutchinson said. “I wear these things on my sleeve so this stuff is brutal because what Doug and Rodger and Hap and the club gave us was the opportunity of a lifetime.
“It’s disappointing to have it end in this manner because I know we’re better than this. There are really no other words because we’re competitors. We’ve done it long enough to know somebody has to win and somebody has to lose, and we always felt prepared and that we had done things in the correct manner to be on the right side of things here.
“I think we have to go back and evaluate the mistakes that we made and what we could’ve done better, but I think the word ‘brutal’ sums it all up.”
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It’s the best way to ride.
• Don’t forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America’s Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.
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