They were in. They were out. And today the New York YC is—almost—back into the America’s Cup. Last week, the club formally announced its intent to return to America’s Cup competition for the 37th edition—wherever it may be—and is once again aligned with the American Magic sailing team. While it is a requirement of the sponsoring club to submit a challenge on behalf of the team, the timing of this “is a team decision,” says a Club spokesperson. It is understood that an official challenge has not yet been submitted, but the deadline is July 31.
“We are extremely excited to continue our quest to regain the America’s Cup with American Magic,” said Commodore Paul M. Zabetakis, who is new on the helm at 44th Street and Harbour Court. “Upon receiving the Protocol for the 37th Match, we were pleased to find that it contains elements advocated for by the Club last spring. In addition, the Executive Committee recently received a new proposal from Doug DeVos and Hap Fauth, American Magic principals and Club members, that warranted reconsidering our earlier decision to pause our pursuit of AC37…The lessons learned during our previous campaign, combined with American Magic’s physical and intellectual assets and a commitment to multiple cycles, will ensure this challenge a strong chance to claim sailing’s ultimate prize.”
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The club’s “pause” in October 2021 followed past commodore Christopher Culver’s intent to challenge with the Stars+Stripes syndicate, as well as their uncertainty and concerns about not having a confirmed venue or regatta dates.
Culver’s appointment was not renewed, Zabetakis ascended, and committee members regained control of the club’s Cup future, welcoming American Magic team principles Hap Fauth and Doug DeVos back to the table (although, technically, one could say they never left). According to the announcement, Fauth and DeVos “have committed to a campaign for at least two consecutive America’s Cup cycles.”
With American Magic’s assets lying in wait in Auckland, its president of sailing operations and skipper Terry Hutchinson is eager to get the team building, sailing and avoiding further personnel losses—the Alinghi Red Bull Racing challenge has reportedly scooped up key boat builders and shore crew from the American Magic camp.
Patriot, the team’s rebuilt AC75, remains a useful asset, says Hutchinson, and soon enough they’ll be sailing it and developing newer and better control systems. They’ll essentially be able to modify the deck configuration to accommodate the now-allowed self-tacking jib and likely cyclors. “Relative to the last cycle, we’re well along the curve,” Hutchinson said two months ago. “We’re night and day further ahead. We’re talking now about a third-generation AC75, which is awesome, and between Defiant, Patriot and the Mule, that’s roughly 180,000 manhours of boatbuilding and knowledge.”
According to the Protocol, the 37th edition of the America’s Cup will utilize the AC40, which teams will use as development platforms and for pre-Cup scrimmages. They are a big and critical piece in every team’s planning matrix. According to Hutchinson, the delivery of these boats is by order of entry. The New Zealand and British teams are expected to get the first two by late 2022. With Alinghi Red Bull Racing taking the third build slot, American Magic’s AC40 development window is now defined and more limited. However, club and team principals alike, while they await a venue announcement by the end of March, the campaign is well in motion and the intent is clear: to win the darn thing.