I vowed to take a week off with the family but the confirmed news that American Magic is not only back for AC37 but back with the New York Yacht Club has me scrabbling for an internet connection high in the Swiss Alps. I almost spluttered on my fondue but wow, this is great news all round and I reckon there must be some pretty happy members of the NYYC right now, safe in the knowledge that their esteemed club has done absolutely the right thing. The America’s Cup without the New York Yacht Club is like Stanley without Laurel. It just doesn’t work. With America’s finest club onboard, it’s just perfect. Welcome back.
But can you imagine what’s been going on behind the scenes? Goodness me this takes courage to do. Swallowing pride, kissing and making up and getting back on track is both noble and right. To err is human. The NYYC just went up like a meme stock in my perception. Good for them.
And equally, good on Doug de Vos and Hap Fauth, and I presume Terry Hutchinson, for taking the lame demotion when the Club went off and backed a spurious attempt on a whim and vanity, with such class and grace. They didn’t throw their toys out of the pram – I have to say I would have done – but just moved on, kept in contact, waited for the deckchairs to shift and sat back down at the top table to talk turkey. Pure class – very much the hallmark of this American Magic Team.
And the deckchairs shifted pretty dramatically with Commodore Culver stepping off a burning political deck and the cooling hand of Paul Zabetakis taking the reins, determining to do things better. He’s played a blinder and all credit to him for steering the club back to the Cup – it would have been a travesty to sit the next one out. This is the New. York. Yacht. Club. for heaven’s sake…they simply have to be in it.
Now the rumour mill can go in full flow. Richard Gladwell, the editor of Sail World in New Zealand is claiming that Paul Goodison will be skipper and he’s usually spot on with predictions.
If that’s so, it’s another brilliant move for the Magic boys. Goody is foiling dynamite and part of that elite coterie at the top of the Moth world alongside Slingers, Kyle Langford and Iain Jensen. He’s fast, some say quicker than Ainslie (not sure on that one) but it’s his time to shine now. Getting the wheel early and establishing the performance pathway is critical. If Magic can sign Slingsby too as rumoured, they will be a heck of a force in AC37…let’s see if that pans out.
But the big news for me is that the New York Yacht Club confirming their support for American Magic snuffs out any fanciful chance of Jeddah or anywhere else in Saudi Arabia being the host venue. That’s it, that ship has sailed as was told to me vociferously quite recently.
If you’re into betting it’s looking like Cork or Spain (pick a seaside town – Valencia, Malaga wherever) with Auckland as the outsider on the proviso that the overseas venue can stump up the money and politically stomach the fall-out. On that basis, my hunch leads towards Spain where Alinghi would be very happy, Ineos would be cool as cucumbers, Magic would be more than approving and the Italians have just a short hop to make. It works all round, so long as the Kiwi fee can be found…Spain can probably get away with that politically easier than the Irish but we will see.
However, back to the American Magic press release and some nice words from the team:
“We intend to compete in AC37 and are hungry and highly motivated to be the most innovative team on and off the water,” remarked Hap Fauth, Principal for American Magic. “We are proud of how our team rebounded during AC36, but we have unfinished business and are committed to investing in technology, design, innovation, and talent so we are best positioned to bring the America’s Cup home!”
“The America’s Cup remains the highest peak in sailing and one of the most difficult challenges in the world of sport,” remarked Paul M. Zabetakis, M.D., Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. “The lessons learned during our previous campaign, combined with American Magic’s physical and intellectual assets and a commitment to multiple cycles, will ensure we come into this challenge with a strong chance to claim sailing’s ultimate prize.”
It’s going to be fascinating to see who they partner up with – Airbus? Haas Racing? Who knows but it’s another great, committed team in what is shaping up to be a fabulous America’s Cup cycle. The New York Yacht Club will field real talent for the AC40 campaigns in the Women’s and Youth divisions and it’s totally logical that a club of their standing is right there in the mix at the pinnacle of the sport supporting one of the nicest teams in the Cup world.
Goodwill all round…the best news of 2022 so far. Welcome back to the New York Yacht Club and the mighty, classy, American Magic Team. Awesome all round.
I’m having double raclette tonight.