INEOS Team UK (R) competes against New York Yacht Club American Magic in Round two, race 1 during the 2021 Prada Cup of the America's Cup challenger series in Auckland yesterday (Jan 16).
Hutchinson thanked those who raced to Patriot's assistance, including America's Cup defender Team New Zealand which helped to save Patriot and tow it back to base, providing pizza for the exhausted and hungry crew. But a wild gust of wind in a gust of rain before looming thunderstorms on Sunday struck the American yacht Patriot which hovered in the air, then crashed sideways.
American Magic's AC75 racing yacht, PATRIOT, made it back to shore at 10:45 PM NZDT after a herculean effort to save the boat. "We have confirmed that all crew are safe".
On behalf of the Flag Officers and members of the New York Yacht Club, I want to express our most honest thanks to the other three America's Cup teams-Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and INEOS Team UK-along with the America's Cup Event staff, local fire and rescue personnel and Coastguard New Zealand for their immediate and unwavering support yesterday. Inflatable bags were attached to keep the yacht on the surface and it was eventually lifted upright, off its side, to allow sails to be lowered and removed. At first the wind dropped and the sea state improved to aid salvage efforts.
American Magic's British wing trimmer, Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison, could be heard on team comms as they approached the final gate, warning skipper Terry Hutchinson and helmsman Dean Barker that the manoeuvre would be very hard to pull off.
Strong but shifting winds on Sunday produced the most dramatic racing of the series but nothing more dramatic than Patriot's capsize which forced American Magic to retire from the second race of the day.
The New York Yacht Club-backed US team lost by 1 minute, 20 seconds to INEOS Team UK in the opening race of the series as the British team pulled off a remarkable form reversal after previously struggling with technical issues.
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Barker, who had come under fire during the first two days of the challenger series with American Magic failing to win a single race, cut a dejected figure while opposing syndicates, officials and police fought for more than three hours to save the boat.
The wind continued to shift left throughout the race and American Magic, as the leading boat, was well positioned to capitalize. American Magic's attempt to jibe in those conditions, a move they might not have been able to practice or ideal, was precarious and the results were calamitous.
American Magic capsized after Dean Barker lost control of the boat while racing at more than 40 knots.
"Coming into the mark there's a lot of discussion around the right gate being favoured".
"Dean made the correct decision to tack around the left gate, keep us in the pressure and just try to deliver us down to the finish". After another unsuccessful penalty request from Luna Rossa, Dean Barker steered PATRIOT through the windward gate 6 seconds ahead of the Italians.
"When you look at the wind graph the time from 18 knots to 23 knots was three seconds".