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HomeRegattaAmerica's CupNYYC American Magic Bids Graceful Farewell to AC75 'Patriot'

NYYC American Magic Bids Graceful Farewell to AC75 ‘Patriot’

As ‘Patriot’ sails into retirement, it leaves behind a legacy of challenges overcome and lessons learned. NYYC American Magic’s journey with this iconic AC75 has been a testament to the team’s spirit and dedication in the quest for excellence in the America’s Cup.

American Magic, Day 47 of AC75 (B2), Sailing day with Patriot in Barcelona. – 9November2023. 37th America’s Cup Recon.

The genesis of ‘Patriot’ lay in extensive testing from launch in October 2018 of some 92 days in Florida that American Magic conducted on their prototype codenamed the ‘AM38’ and nicknamed ‘The Mule’ by Team Principal Roger Penske. Soon after, the team representing the club that held the America’s Cup for 132 years, became the first to launch and foil an AC75 with ‘Defiant’ coming onstream in September 2019, and sailing in Auckland for some 66 test days.

© NYYC American Magic / Amory Ross
© WILL RICKETSON

‘Patriot’ was designed by Marcelino Botin and was christened by the US Consul General Katelyn Choe in Auckland on the 16th October 2020. At the time Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and (then) Executive Director, praised the build team saying: “We are incredibly grateful to our production team in Bristol [Rhode Island], which includes over 50 people and is led by Brandon Linton, Tim Hacket and Silvio Arrivabene. That group built 188 combined feet of foiling monohulls over the past three years, which is pretty staggering. And they did it to the highest possible standard. In simple terms, our production team has put us in position to succeed over the next seven months.” 

‘Patriot joined a long list of venerable New York Yacht Club yachts that honoured the United States with their names such as: America, Columbia, Freedom, Liberty, Young America and Stars & Stripes.

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

The 2021 America’s Cup started well for American Magic with the team seen as the ones to beat. Entering day three of the Prada Cup, and in a match against Luna Rossa that they were handily leading, a call for a tack-bear-away at the top mark in a freshening breeze saw ‘Patriot’ sky-rocket on the bear-away and crash down into a capsize on her port side, causing significant damage and very nearly sinking her. A mammoth, multi-team and agency rescue effort saved her and then a herculean task was undertaken to patch her up for the semi-finals. Sadly, the form that she had was eclipsed by the speed of Luna Rossa and she was eliminated from the Prada Cup on 30th January 2021 after four successive defeats.

© COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi
© COR 36 | Studio Borlenghi

Returning the boat back to the team’s US base in  Pensacola, Florida, her future was uncertain but with the 37th America’s Cup Protocol announced, she came back into commission on the 15th October 2022. For nearly three months, ‘Patriot’ was test-sailed out on the smooth, perfect waters of Pensacola Bay and delivered outstanding performances through to two very notable upper wind-range sessions on the final two days before being de-commissioned on the 4th February 2023.

©Paul Todd/AMERICA’S CUP

NYYC American Magic switched focus to their AC40 programme ahead of arriving in Barcelona and sailing from the 3rd July 2023. ‘Patriot’ made the trans-Atlantic crossing in white shrink wrap and was secreted to the back of the shed at the team’s MB92 base until the decision was taken to use her again for full-scale systems testing, replacing the grinding pedestals of old and installing cyclors, as well as a whole heap of internal (unseen) and new deck appliances. ‘Patriot’ splashed for two days from the 6th to the 8th of November 2023 for detailed technician work before the grand old dame of the AC75’s took her first flight on the 9th November 2023. What a day.

Since then, the team have conducted a total of 25 test days in Barcelona through a variety of conditions with a final sail, for now at least, on Tuesday 23rd January 2024.

If that is to be her last day, the tally count for ‘Patriot’ will stand the test of time with 113 days in total sailed (AC36: 49 and AC37: 64) and a whopping 6,739.7 miles sailed – the distance of Barcelona to the Dominican Republic! Speaking to the team, her top speed was recorded at 54.7 knots and as the team says, “Sinkings Survived: 1.”

Looking back on Patriot, Terry Hutchinson who sailed aboard her at AC36 and is now the Skipper and President of Sailing Operations for NYYC American Magic commented: “Patriot has been an enormous asset to the overall NYYC American Magic programme. We’ve learned so much from her and, as everyone knows, we’ve been through a lot together. Sometimes a boat gets into your soul and Patriot will always have a place in our hearts when we reflect on the America’s Cup. As a workhorse and test platform, she’s been vital for our latest stage of systems and crew technique development. Maybe we’ll see her again, but for now, we wish Patriot a peaceful retirement – she’s earned it.”

(Magnus Wheatley)

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