On the evening of October 16th, American Magic completed its first sailing session onboard the newly-launched AC75 Patriot in Auckland’s Waitematā Harbor.
Helmsman Dean Barker noted that he and team were encouraged by the yacht’s performance overall. Barker described the new AC75, built by a team of 50 in Bristol, Rhode Island, as “lively.”
After a 9:00 AM christening event on Friday at the team’s base in the Wynyard Quarter, the team engaged in an afternoon of dockside testing.
At 4:30 PM in flat-calm conditions, the dark blue AC75 was pulled up onto its foils by a chase boat and towed at high speed to a location near Rangitoto Lighthouse.
Design, shore and sailing team members then conducted additional testing on sails and systems prior to making the decision to let Patriot cast off under her own power.
After sailing from Rangitoto Lighthouse to North Head, Patriot headed upwind past Devonport before bearing away back towards Rangitoto Island. The AC75’s first gybe, attempted with a windspeed of around 20 knots, turned out to be a memorable one.
“We had a great nosedive, and that was exciting,” said Hutchinson. “It was nothing that we haven’t seen or done on our other boats, and our familiarity with Patriot will increase rapidly over the coming days.”
American Magic’s approach to performance development involves a firm focus on spending time on the water in conjunction with advanced simulation onshore.
To that end, the U.S. Challenger expects to log as many sailing days as possible until the first preliminary racing event, America’s Cup World Series Auckland (December 17-20, 2020).