Flying into Barcelona this afternoon, the unmistakable sight of no less than three AC40s training on the glistening Barcelona waters was quite simply breath-taking. Alinghi Red Bull Racing had two boats out training whilst for the New York Yacht Club American Magic Team it was a milestone day. Chrissy Lamond, wife of Tyson Lamond Chief Operating Officer of NYYC American Magic had the honour of breaking the customary champagne bottle as she successfully christened the eighth AC40 in the fleet and called her, quite simply, ‘Magic.’
It was an apt name for a stunning, classic day after launch on the Mediterranean. A left-over sea state that precluded sailing on Wednesday for the teams was still very much in evidence but with Tom Slingsby and Paul Goodison itching to get back on the water with Michael Menninger and Lucas Calabrese on trim, the team flew around the America’s Cup course inducing their customary windward heel and taking off just where they left off in Pensacola, Florida – on a high.
Getting the auto-pilot tuned in to the demands of two of the greatest foiling sailors in the world took a while – flight was high initially in the opening runs – but pretty soon, the familiar hunkered down, low-riding style that the Americans have spent a very productive winter honing, came screaming to the fore and they looked effortless, rifling through tacks and gybes and absolutely sending it. Not sure we’ve seen, what was billed as a ‘commissioning day’ at such pace before – and although there were a few stops for minor issues on the mainsail and the odd requirement for a technician to dive below, boxes were ticked and the Americans are very much in the game at the America’s Cup venue.
Tom Burnham, the enigmatic Team Coach for NYYC American Magic, spoke for the whole team when he commented: “It’s great to be here in Barcelona, and it was really nice to get out on the water with our AC40 Boat2 ‘Magic’…and it was really great good day today…There was a decent sea state, it was really big yesterday, and it was definitely still pretty big today and it was different, it’s definitely a new challenge and something that we’re all going to have to get used to, so it’s definitely worth being here to check it out.”
Tom also praised the huge team effort that has gone into creating the team’s base that is housed in the MB92 superyacht refit yard where two massive hangars have been erected with dockside facilities for the support vessels and cranes, saying: “The team has been working super hard for the last few months. There’s been a big group of people over here for a while, and they’ve been working really hard, and the base is really coming together. It’s taken a while, it’s definitely a lot of work but the nice thing is, now we’re here, it’s our home for the next 16 months so it’s pretty exciting to be here and start operating out of our permanent base for the rest of the way through the Cup.”
With the team’s AC75 ‘Patriot’ and their AC40 in LEQ12 mode ‘America’ also in transit across the Atlantic and scheduled for delivery very soon, Tom gave a vision for the team’s programme moving forward saying: “There’s going to be a bunch of two-boat sailing with the AC40s through into the Fall when we’re leading up into the first World Series event in Villanova i La Geltrú and then, later in the year, we’ll get into sailing ‘Patriot’ in Barcelona which will be really exciting to have a big boat out sailing here. But we’ll be focusing on the two boat AC40 programme for a couple of months to really get into some racing practice and it’s the fun part of the programme where we get to do a bunch of race practise with two boats against each other – it’s going to be exciting; we’re looking forward to it.”
‘Magic’ is a welcome addition to the team’s programme and the satisfied faces stepping ashore at the base on a balmy 29-degree day in Barcelona told the story. New York Yacht Club American Magic is up and running and the action on the water is intensifying.
The America’s Cup is very much alive in Barcelona at the moment.
© TY BAIRD
ALEX CARABI / AMERICA’S CUP