American Magic’s First New AC75 Patriot Revealed

What a day for New York Yacht Club American Magic who called for all-hands on deck at the base super-early this morning, ahead of rolling out their new AC75 Patriot with the first set of slightly asymmetric race foils, rudder and rig all in place and revealing an interesting deck layout putting the helms and trimmers side by side and well forward.

This boat is packed with design innovations and upgrades, many of which are carried over from their previous AC75, a stalwart from the last America’s Cup. The goal now is to reclaim the prestigious trophy for the New York Yacht Club, located on West 44th Street in Manhattan.

Clare Harrington, the Vice-Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, was present in Barcelona for the boat’s christening. She ceremoniously broke a champagne bottle over the hull, unveiling its name: ‘Patriot’—a fitting tribute to a beloved team vessel. Following the ceremony, which concluded just after 8 am, a tour of the boat showcased the bold direction of American Magic.

The sight of recumbent cyclors facing aft immediately catches the eye, and it’s one of those quintessential America’s Cup visuals that you have to see to believe, with hopes that none of the cyclors experience seasickness. This configuration undoubtedly sparks numerous theories regarding potential increases in wattage, sustained power, and peak loadings. In terms of foil design, American Magic has opted for intricately sculpted, harlequin-style foils that taper into a sharply pointed, stubby bulb. The end-plates are masterfully crafted, curving upward and squared off at the top, while the foil arms are asymmetrically sculpted to meet minimum weight requirements, indicating that the team still has further evaluations and decisions to make regarding the final race foil setup. Along the foil arms, up to the knuckle, three fences are visible—two lower and one upper—with seamlessly integrated surface cameras.

AC75 Patriot America's Cup
Image courtesy America’s Cup

As technicians bustled around the boat and sails were loaded onto the chase boat, the team was prepared to depart the dock at 1:30 pm, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the history of American Magic. They conducted a 7.5 nautical mile tow test at various speeds, which bolstered the team’s confidence enough to deploy the sails for the return leg to the base. The MN2-1 mainsail was initially set, and while the J4 jib was first chosen, it soon became apparent that it would provide insufficient coverage under the existing conditions. Consequently, the J3-1 jib was raised, with LiDar cameras meticulously capturing every subtle detail and nuance.

A short-ish first stint was brought swiftly to a close with the technicians jumping back onboard for what looked like a jib system issue but five minutes later, the boat was sailing again with the harbour getting close. Recon recorded two tacks, one bear-away and a round-up to finish at 5pm at the harbour entrance.

Speaking afterwards, Terry Hutchinson, President of Sailing Operations was delighted with Patriot’s maiden sail saying: “As far as first days go inside the American Magic programme really this is probably our best first day. In our first boat ‘Defiant’ we had a couple issues on the very first day, even though it was a good first day there, but we broke a lot of things.

Our first day with the previous ‘Patriot’ we had a great sail that ended in a big stuff and back to the dock with a lot of broken bits and here the team really executed on the day. We put the boat in the water christened her, thank you Commodore Harrington for that, and went out and methodically work through the systems checks and then went for a good light air sail…We would have stayed out but we got weather coming, the weatherman was skedaddling us in because apparently there’s a risk of thunderstorms here later on in the day and so you know it’s day one and there will be a lot to do in the shed tonight and I’m certain the sailors and everybody wanted to keep going, but probably best that the weatherman called it for us.

Looking forward, the schedule seems simple as Terry explained: “The plan from here on will be to close out this week with some sailing and we’ve got a couple more days of sea-trialling and a couple more days of just working through the systems, but I would suspect very quickly will be with race marks out there and we started a great pattern of development with the AC40s in how we work the boats up there and each day how we got ready to go racing in those, and so I think we’re going to follow a pretty similar pattern there and learn to develop the boat and figure out how we can extract performance.

Terry seems more than comfortable with where the overall programme is at and praised the AC40 two-boat training that the team completed recently saying: “I think the entire team was excited by the AC40 racing that we did, we spent three months of in-house racing and we got over 100 races and 100 starts against each other and that was quality team building, quality development time and so we’re executing our plan, if the others get a couple more days then I would happily trade the racing of April for four or five or nine extra days inside of an AC75.

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