Magic

If New York City wasn’t facing a new Covid lockdown right now, the bar at West 44th Street would be full. Scotch would be ordered. Tales would be told. Whispers would be whispered. For the New York Yacht Club patrons would be toasting a truly great day out on the water for Terry Hutchinson’s team and starting to dream the impossible. Could the Auld Mug be coming back? This is the magic of the Cup. A bit like the soccer equivalent, it’s the hope that kills. But it’s great when your team does the business and starts to repay both the emotional and physical investment made by everyone close.

Down in Auckland, American Magic will be buzzing tonight. Terry will be beaming. A wry Kiwi smile will be etched on Deano’s granite-face. The shore team might have a beer after packing the boat away. Texts will be landing from mates. Parents will be proud. Momentum picks up. Washing the boat down is a joy. Stripping that winch is a pleasure. Knee-deep in hydraulic oil? No problem – I’ll do that. The team comes together.

NYYC American Magic, 36th America’s Cup. 14 December, 2020 © Sailing Energy / American Magic

And so it should do. Dean Barker just hauled American Magic to victory over Team New Zealand. That doesn’t (and won’t) happen very often. He also put the dog-slow Brits to the sword – admittedly after a Ben masterclass in the pre-start but that’s largely irrelevant at the moment. Dean Barker totally out-sailed the Kiwis and the Brits today. Totally. It was encouraging to watch and what really struck me is that ‘tactics’ actually meant something. The drive by the America’s Cup to introduce dragsters has largely negated the tactics that us Corinthian sailors know sailing to be. Cup sailing is another world to what we weekend warriors pretend to understand and fail at most time we go yachting. It’s all about aerodynamics, lift, flight and forces and let’s be honest, most of us were asleep at the back of the class during those compulsory Physics lessons. A bit like the wind, most of that stuff whistles over our heads.

NYYC American Magic, 36th America’s Cup. 14 December, 2020 © Sailing Energy / American Magic

But tactics, windshifts, calling the breeze. Wow. I thought the Cup had consigned these dark arts to Fremantle in 1987 or Newport in 1983. But today they were back and American Magic called both the shifts and the breeze to perfection. It’s just fantastic for them and whilst the rest of the world waits for a shot in the arm of a different kind, the Magic Team just got theirs and boy must it feel good. Congratulations guys.

PS: Thanks to Scotty for giving me access to the American Magic press area. Great photos, courtesy of the team and the dudes at Sailing Energy.

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One thought on “Magic

  1. Really enjoying your blog. I am a semi retired competitive sailor and like most have sailed since a kid and just love the sport. An ex pat Kiwi stuck in Oz but have close ties to Team NZ as my cuz is shore manager. No I can’t give you any scuttlebutt lol.

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