To watch the New York Yacht Club American Magic Team in action, on this, only their second day of sailing their beautiful AC40 ‘America’, is to watch a team at the apex of the America’s Cup game. It was almost a demonstration sail on perfect Pensacola Bay conditions serving up a 12-15 knot consistent breeze that allowed the sailors to let rip and get more than comfortable with their new charge.
Manoeuvres looked tight and slick, even in the no-stress free sailing that dominated the early part of this near six-hour session. By the time the sailors were dialled into target speeds and the intensity increased in the afternoon, it was almost a stroll in the park. Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison, two of the finest foiling sailors in the world today, had the bit between their teeth and were pushing harder and harder as the breeze filled in. Riley Gibbs got a turn on the helm in the afternoon, and this is another rare talent that is coming through fast in the America’s Cup world – he looked sharp and very much on it. ‘America’ looked about as good as it gets – frightening to think that they’ll improve further from this very high base of foiling skill.
A couple of small commissioning issues cropped up through the afternoon with a battery shutdown being the most serious, but the Magic shore team were quickly onto a solution and there were several other short breaks through the session for minor adjustments and tweaks to be made. The commissioning phase is all executed with support and know-how provided by the Emirates Team New Zealand design office back in Auckland as the teams seek to get to a baseline of performance in the standard One-Design AC40 set-up before switching, if they want, to LEQ12 testing mode.
Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and President of Sailing Operations for NYYC American Magic, is looking and sounding increasingly comfortable with what the sailing team are achieving and is more than happy with the boat saying: “Yeah great day…the guys got in about 6 hours of sailing, one battery change so that was all in all a really good day you know we’re going through the teething problems with the boat, not that they’re problems, but I mean like any new boat you have to work through these things, you can’t really give McConaghy’s and the whole design structure behind this boat enough props because they did a really good job. I mean it’s awesome to be two days into it and basically the guys are out there ripping around Pensacola Bay.”
Asked if the minor issues of today were the same as the teething problems experienced on the maiden outing, Terry responded: “Slightly different. We had a couple of battery shutdowns today and a couple little things there but, you know, the Defender they’ve been very responsive to our requests and they’re working to help us get better and so all in all I mean I think for day two it’s pretty bloody good.”
Ever the leader, Terry is looking to the future and the imminent arrival of the team’s second AC40 and it’s looking like the intensity will go up several levels when that arrives. Speaking about the day’s sailing, which ultimately proved to be highly productive, he commented: “The first part of the day the guys were doing just a little bit of free sailing, getting a feel for the settings of the boat in and around various cant angles and sail set ups, then we got into in the second-half of the day where they focused in a little bit more on setting the boat to a certain target and seeing how they could learn to sail it there be it through cant or trim or sail settings, and then at the end of the day we did we got Riley (Gibbs) on the helm and got Dan (Morris) in trimming and did a little bit of a crew rotation as well so I think we’re looking forward to getting our second boat.”
The agenda for when boat two arrives is clear, as Terry highlighted: “I think when we get the (second boat) we will have two agendas there. One will be obviously foil development and the second one will be racing development so we will follow a logical progression there to set ourselves up nicely for AC-75 foils.”
‘Logical progression’ – the hallmark to date of the New York Yacht Club American Magic programme. Compelling to watch. They could well be sensational in Barcelona.
On-Water Recon Unit Notes: America was craned in at 10:20, the programmers with their tablets arrived shortly after. A member of the shore crew was observed grinding the small carbon sleeve/ collar that fits around the base of the mast. Dock out was 11:30, America was towed out towards the middle of the Bay where the M1 was hoisted.
The wind was 7k out of the SE and was forecasted to go right and build early in the afternoon. The team towed ‘America’ south towards the approaching breeze, and hoisted the J1. They sailed for an hour and twenty minutes as the breeze increased to 10-12k.
The J3 was hoisted at 13:55 and quickly taken down while the team attended to the head of the sail for 8 minutes. The J3 was sailed on for the remainder of the day. Multiple short breaks in sailing were observed while the crew made jib clew adjustments, changed the batteries, and dealt with the shut-down issues discussed in the interview.
In all, America completed 46 manoeuvres, covered a distance of 82nm, 17 windward/leeward legs, and was on foil for 145 minutes total. Top speeds were approximately 29k upwind and 38k downwind. Sailing ended at 17:14.
No sailing is expected tomorrow (3/5: Sunday).
Total Tacks: 26 – 22 foil-to-foil, 2 touch & go, 2 touchdowns.
Total Gybes: 20 – 16 foil-to-foil, 2 touch & go, 2 touchdowns.
Recon Notes: America was on foil a combined total of 145 minutes. Flight times ranged from 1 minutes to 23 minutes (10, 10, 2, 19, 1, 19, 23, 7, 5, 23, 23 and 3 minutes respectively).
Take off speed: 17 knots at 100 degrees TWA (True Wind Angle)
Initial take off was self, 12 additional self-up’s, 0 tow up’s
Helms: Paul Goodison / Tom Slingsby / Riley Gibbs
Trimmers: Lucas Calabrese / Dan Morris
Flight Control: Trimmers: Andrew Campbell / Michael Menninger
Conditions: 11:42 SE 7k/ 12:17 S 6k/ 13:14 S 9k/ 13:46 S 10-12k/ 14:57 S 12-14k/ 15:30 S 12-15k/ 16:18 S 8-12k. Wind speed measured 8ft above sea level using a handheld anemometer. Weather AM: 72°c Sunny. Weather PM: 70°c Sunny.
M1 (AM-MN1): 5 hours 50 minutes
J1: 1 hour 20 minutes
J3: 3 hours 5 minutes
Dock-Out: 1130 Dock-In: 1745