It’s a kind of Magic

As is the mark of the highly classy American Magic team, news of the top team dropped yesterday and it’s a healthy statement of intent and purpose. Installing Mike Cazer as the dedicated CEO, parachuted in from running the family office, Continuum Ventures, of Doug and Maria De Vos makes a lot of sense with a mission statement of ‘building American Magic into a commercially attractive brand, and as the leader in sailing in the United States.’

Well the good, no great, news for Mike is that it already is a very attractive brand – in fact it’s probably THE most investable brand competing in the next America’s Cup with more global goodwill than the rest combined, with the exception of Alinghi (but that’s a whole other romantic story).

©COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

No, what American Magic has got and probably doesn’t really realise it, is the likeability factor. It’s huge. It’s real. My experience of the whole team has been nothing but positive and I genuinely think that Patriot was not only the prettiest of all the AC75s in Auckland, it was also on the cusp of doing the extraordinary before that horror crash. That boat was a rapid weapon. It was up there with Team New Zealand. It was licking Luna Rossa at a canter. The extreme scalpel and bow-down profile looked right to my eye and the sail programme, led by Terry Hutchinson, with that Batwing main for the big breezes looked innovative and promised much. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

If I were an American CEO leading a big tech or industry business and I was approached by the team, I tell you what, I would listen. I would take that meeting. I would take that call. I’d be more than interested. The story that can be told is immense – at the end of the day, it’s the story of the America’s Cup. The USA only loans the Cup out periodically but it always returns eventually and if you’re corporate America right now, this is a deal that has to be done. And with the fabulous backing of the re-awakened New York Yacht Club, this is the syndicate that you want your marketing dollars to support.

©COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

And so the top team announcement yesterday makes one heck of a lot of sense. Mike Cazer is no stranger to big business and I’ll bet his connections by dint of his stint at Continuum Ventures, runs deep into just about every corporate boardroom worth knowing and that’s just what’s needed here. Sending sailors in is all well and good but having a proper ex-CFO of big business who understand ROI, who’s been round the block and bought the corporate T-shirt as well as knowing every tax advantage in the philanthropic and sponsorship world is just gold-dust. The outcome, I suspect, will be immense. Great appointment.

What I especially like and admire from afar is that American Magic have decided to do things just ever so slightly different to the rest. Yes they have a billionaire family backing the campaign and let’s be honest here, you need that simply to get going and put boots on the ground, but Doug De Vos isn’t your flash, brash, swashbuckling billionaire blowing a fortune on a whim that we are so used to seeing. What I’m sensing, and what these appointments are suggesting, is that American Magic is going down the corporate collegiate route, roping in a united USA effort that has served syndicates from America so well in the past. Further still, they are, as yet, not getting roped into the scramble for Formula 1 resources which could well be a false flag anyway. I like their style.

©COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

But no mention of the sailing team and we all know what appointment we are waiting for. Whether they really can secure Tom Slingsby or not, is the crucial piece of the puzzle that would take this whole campaign from the ‘that’s interesting’ into the realms of serious contender. If the deal is there to be done and there’s truth that Tom has an American passport (I’m still not sure if that’s true?), then American Magic would be mad not to pursue it. Combining Slingers with Paul Goodison puts the two best and most relevant foilers on the planet in the afterguard and the sailing world will be on red alert for fireworks. I would love to see that happen.

©COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

People win the America’s Cup, of that there is no doubt. Unlike that famous American cycling book from Lance Armstrong ‘It not about the bike’ – in the America’s Cup it’s very much about the boat, but it’s the people that design, build and sail the boat that wins. The complete package is flipping hard to create but what I’m seeing is the building blocks in Magic of something special. Right now it’s the housewives favourite, pardon the pun, but if the signings happen and the deal with corporate America is right, this will be the team to watch.

It’s a different kind of Magic. I like it.

5 thoughts on “It’s a kind of Magic

  1. Paul Goodison confirmed he has signed back on to American Magic on Shirley Robertson’s new podcast. Quite a low-key scoop, but the first confirmation of it that I’m aware of?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I listened to Shirley’s excellent podcast where that was confirmed directly but wasn’t it announced before? Not sure but I was pretty certain that Goody had been signed…great signing!


  2. Magnus,
    I seriously doubt Tom Slingsby would sign onto an America’s Cup Team and here are my reasons:

    # 1 Tom likes SailGP!
    # 2 He has been highly critical of the new AC75 Class previously!
    # 3 He wants his own Team. He is not going to play 2nd fidle to Terry Hutchinson.

    My money therefore is that Paul Goodison will likely being installed as new Helmsman for American Magic.

    AM was very bad in light wind so they would have lost to the Kiwis by an even bigger margin had they made it to the Cup Match itself.


    1. Yeah, Tom’s focus ever since AC 35 has been creating an Australian AC challenge. When he couldn’t do it right away he joined SailGP to train up a team and raise their profile.


  3. Definitely think American Magic was the strongest challenger. They have two big advantages going ahead.
    (1) Great name unlike say, Alinghi which has no meaning.
    (2) They are sponsored by a company that flies things which shows they know that the next AC will be contested by gliders rather than cars. I see this as a huge advantage actually. Hint: Cars don’t float.

    I see Peter and Blair being a good match for these likable Yankees.


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