American Magic

The New York YC’s latest effort to regain the trophy they lost in 1983 has all the essential components in place to challenge Emirates Team New Zeland. With experience, talent and resources, there is no excuse to lose.

Representing: New York YC

Principles: John Fauth, Doug Devos, Roger Penske

Base: Portsmouth, R.I./Pensacola, Fla.

Helmsman: Dean Barker

Yacht name: Patriot

Leading from behind the scenes of the New York YC’s American Magic Challenge are principles John “Hap” Fauth and Doug Devos, each of whom have long campaigned their own grand-prix race boats under the burgee of the club with facilities in Manhattan and Newport, Rhode Island. These are traditional yachtsmen keen to see the America’s Cup return to the United States where it was defended for 132 years before a more clever Australian syndicate came north and stopped sport’s longest-running winning streak in 1983.

Fauth and DeVos, however, also enlisted the expertise of fellow club member, Roger Penske, of automotive fame, who brings his vision and resources required to manage a sporting and technical juggernaut of nearly 150 personnel—designers, builders, engineers, sailors and shore team members. 

The New York YC has sat on the sidelines of the Cup since 2002 and in the early days of the campaign they enlisted New Zealander Dean Barker to steer its yacht into the Prada Cup. Barker has competed in the Cup for two decades, and that experience is what makes him truly unique—and desirable. 

It was Barker who famously let the Cup slip away as the skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand when they lost to Oracle Team USA in San Francisco in 2013. He has also yet to win one, but that’s ancient history says American Magic CEO and skipper Terry Hutchinson. The Cup is a rarified competition that requires a rarified talent on the helm. American Olympic sailor Andrew Cambpell has assumed flight control duties, and in the critical sail-trim role is the supremely talented British foiling sailor Paul Goodison. 

Originally based in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, American Magic was first to launch a scaled-down AC75-like test boat in the fall of 2018, which was soon followed by the launch of their American-built AC75-defiant, a nearly scow-like design that hinted where this latest generation of hull designs were headed. Soon after launching, they were tapping the top-end of the speed zone, pushing 40-knots into the unknown and foiling through maneuvers.

Under the limitations of COVID-19, and with pre-events cancelled in Italy and England, they doubled down on Patriot, their second AC75, in Rhode Island and flew it, by Antonov, to Auckland, in October 2019. First to the water with their new boat and right on schedule, they will continue to refine their second-generation boat, different enough from the first to take some getting used to. In the days leading into the Cup, they will quietly go about their business with a singular focus on the real racing that begins in January 2021. It’s the start of a long series that Executive Director and Skipper Terry Hutchinson has no doubt mapped out methodically. As the elder of all the sailors on the racecourse, the only thing he wants is a win.   

Should they be successful in Auckland, New York YC officials say they will host the next regatta in Newport, with a plan to bring the regatta closer to its traditions of monohulls, match racing and more teams participating.