American Magic launches new Patriot

What a day for New York Yacht Club American Magic who called for all-hands on deck at the base super-early this morning, ahead of rolling out their new AC75 at 5.45am with the first set of slightly asymmetric race foils, rudder and rig all in place and revealing an interesting deck layout putting the helms and trimmers side by side and well forward.

This is a boat bristling with design features and quirks and plenty of systems upgrades, translated across from their warhorse AC75 of the last America’s Cup. Now it’s all on to try and bring the famous trophy back to West 44th Street in Manhattan – home of the New York Yacht Club.

Clare Harrington, the Vice-Commodore of the New York Yacht Club was in Barcelona to christen her, smashing the champagne bottle and revealing the name: ‘Patriot’ – yes you heard that right and a fitting homage to a much-loved team vessel. Once the formalities had been completed just after 8am, a look around the boat revealed much about just how radical American Magic are going.

American Magic launches new Patriot

Recumbent cyclors facing aft was the first thing that leapt out and it’s one of those moments in the America’s Cup where you have to see it to believe it and hope none of the cyclors suffer sea-sickness. Interesting and will no doubt spark a thousand theories about increased wattage, sustained power and peak loadings. On the foil design, American Magic have gone for very sculpted, almost harlequin-style foils blended into a sharp stubby bulb with an aggressive point. The end-plates are a work of art, curving upwards and squared at the top whilst the aero package in the foil arms to meet minimum weight requirements are sculpted asymmetrically so clearly there’s further thought and evaluation that the team will need to complete before making any final decisions on race foil set-up. On the foil arms themselves, up to the knuckle, can be seen three fences, two lower and one upper with very neatly integrated surface cameras.

American Magic launches new Patriot

With technicians swarming the boat and sails loaded onto the chase boat, the dock-out was called at 1.30pm and the start of a whole new chapter in the American Magic history book was written. A 7.5 nautical mile tow test was run at a variety of speeds and gave enough confidence to the team to call in the sails and complete the leg back to the base. The team set the MN2-1 mainsail and initially opted for the J4 jib before deciding that in the conditions that would be too under-canvassed and the J3-1 was hoisted with the obligatory LiDar cameras capturing every small nuance and detail.

American Magic launches new Patriot

A short-ish first stint was brought swiftly to a close with the technicians jumping back onboard for what looked like a jib system issue but five minutes later, the boat was sailing again with the harbour getting close. Recon recorded two tacks, one bear-away and a round-up to finish at 5pm at the harbour entrance.

Speaking afterwards, Terry Hutchinson, President of Sailing Operations was delighted with Patriot’s maiden sail saying: “As far as first days go inside the American Magic programme really this is probably our best first day. In our first boat ‘Defiant’ we had a couple issues on the very first day, even though it was a good first day there, but we broke a lot of things.

Our first day with the previous ‘Patriot’ we had a great sail that ended in a big stuff and back to the dock with a lot of broken bits and here the team really executed on the day. We put the boat in the water christened her, thank you Commodore Harrington for that, and went out and methodically work through the systems checks and then went for a good light air sail…We would have stayed out but we got weather coming, the weatherman was skedaddling us in because apparently there’s a risk of thunderstorms here later on in the day and so you know it’s day one and there will be a lot to do in the shed tonight and I’m certain the sailors and everybody wanted to keep going, but probably best that the weatherman called it for us.”

American Magic launches new Patriot

Looking forward, the schedule seems simple as Terry explained: “The plan from here on will be to close out this week with some sailing and we’ve got a couple more days of sea-trialling and a couple more days of just working through the systems, but I would suspect very quickly will be with race marks out there and we started a great pattern of development with the AC40s in how we work the boats up there and each day how we got ready to go racing in those, and so I think we’re going to follow a pretty similar pattern there and learn to develop the boat and figure out how we can extract performance.”

Terry seems more than comfortable with where the overall programme is at and praised the AC40 two-boat training that the team completed recently saying: “I think the entire team was excited by the AC40 racing that we did, we spent three months of in-house racing and we got over 100 races and 100 starts against each other and that was quality team building, quality development time and so we’re executing our plan, if the others get a couple more days then I would happily trade the racing of April for four or five or nine extra days inside of an AC75.”

Great first day for NYYC American Magic – the campaign with a real air of confidence and excellence around every facet. The coming weeks will be defining.

www.americascup.com

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