American Magic will 'live to fight another day' after capsizing

6:42 pm on 18 January 2021

America's Cup team American Magic has spoken publicly after their boat Patriot capsized when on its way to their first win of the Challenger Selection Series yesterday.

Patriot dramatically capsized yesterday, becoming temporarily airborne before crashing back into the water and tipping.

The boat, helmed by New Zealander Dean Barker, could not be righted quickly after it tipped over, having just rounded the final mark in their race against Italian team Luna Rossa.

Skipper and executive director Terry Hutchinson said there was no injury to the crew, and thanked everyone who came to help tow the boat back to the base.

In an emotional statement, Hutchinson thanked everyone in the sailing community for their show of support following the accident.

Specifically he thanked the other competitors, who did everything they could to help.

"At the end of the day you couldn't come across more sportsmanship or more generous teams that we have around us. In all sincerity they've extended pretty much all their facilities to use to rebuild Patriot."

He said his team would live to fight another day, and while the boat "has a bit of damage to her," the crew is safe and that is all anyone could ask for.

"I have to say that there is a little bit of mother nature biting us and debriefing it internally ... we'll have to make sure that we don't make the same mistake.

"If there are big concerns it's dealing with the gremlins inside the boat."

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Photo: Screenshot / TVNZ

"The boats by their very nature they're most controlled when they're going fast ... when you slow down from 40 knots to 30 knots the apparent wind goes aft and all the load in the boat goes up, and the boat becomes unstable."

He said it would be a big effort to get the boat ready for the semis, from 11 February, but he hopes to be able to sail again before that.

He said the boat would be rebuilt within the next eight to 10 days.

"She might not come out of the shed as pretty, but she's gonna come out of the shed and we're gonna get back into racing."

He said they were fortunate to get both batteries outside the boat.

They had considered flipping the boat, so the hole that was in the hull was out of the water, but in hindsight the boat was sturdy and light enough to have a fair amount of buoyancy regardless.

"It felt like the boat was going to sink."

American Magic have previously capsized 19 times in their trial boat (the boat before their first generation AC75).

The Coastguard said rescue crews were in disbelief following the American Magic capsizing.

Auckland Coastguard Lion Foundation Rescue skipper Simon Marshall said the American team had mixed emotions when they reached shore.

"A lot of relief and a lot of - probably disbelief at the task ahead. Because as soon as the boat gets back it's almost the sailors' job done and it's the shore team - they have such a big task ahead of them to get the boat back up for racing."

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