For the first time since 1970, an America’s Cup syndicate is training on the Gulf Coast. New York Yacht Club American Magic, U.S. Challenger for the 36th America’s Cup, chose the Port of Pensacola as the team’s winter training base for the latter part of 2018 and early 2019. The sailing team’s dynamic crew was composed in 2017 with some of the most aggressive guys ever to train together for a Cup. Team American Magic, an electric squad, was formed to win the America’s Cup; the highest prize in sailing and the oldest trophy in international sports.
If you were to go out to the Bay and watch these guys train, the boat you’d see is the team’s advanced 38-foot test boat, the Mule, was brought down from Newport, Rhode Island, along with over 100 American Magic crew members that will sail and support it on the sunny waters of Pensacola Bay. It’s a fifty-percent scale of what they’re racing in the America’s Cup and the idea behind the boat is that it’s a test platform. “When we come up with concepts and ideas, it’s a way to validate the concept that the designer is working on, engineering and designing. It’s a platform for development, a platform for developing the sailors and the race team, and a platform for developing all of our systems that go inside the Americas Cup 75 class boat so it’s a unique way for us to develop and improve a lot of different areas of our team.”
Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic, Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, MD), says,
“Pensacola is the foiling mecca of the world. It’s a perfect flat-water venue, and for what we’re developing and what we need to do, it’s providing us with an unbelievable resource.”
Foiling refers to the use of hydrofoils attached to the hull of fast boats, which provides additional lift and planning speeds – often enough to lift the hull completely off of the water. Hutchinson, a sixteen-time sailing world champion, says this is his first experience with Pensacola and that he and his team couldn’t have asked for a better spot to train for a lot of different reasons –
“From the sailing to how people are treating us to our efficiency and our time on the water, it’s been great!”
American Magic’s first exposure to Pensacola came this past summer, July 2018, when the Optimist U.S. National Championship was hosted by Pensacola Yacht Club which showcased the nation’s best International Optimist Dinghy sailors 8-15 years old. CLM magazine was there to document that occasion, and it was spectacular! At that championship Team Principal and CEO Hap Fauth (Naples, FL) and team sailors, Bora Gulari (Detroit, MI) and Caleb Paine (San Diego, CA) gave an America’s Cup presentation to more than five hundred junior sailors, coaches, and families.
“Having American Magic training here for the winter not only provides the Port of Pensacola with a unique new customer but shines a worldwide spotlight on the amazing natural sailing venue that is Pensacola Bay,” said Port Director Amy Miller. “Our hope is that we can work with tourism officials and our local sailing community to leverage this exposure and attract more training and competition venue opportunities in the future.”
Our Port of Pensacola is home to world-class amenities, facilities and offers a great location. Its resources include a wide, deep channel, endless feet of dockage, an abundance of indoor/outdoor storage, direct rail access, a broad range of cargo handling equipment, and capable staff.
The 36th America’s Cup match is slated for March 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand. American Magic will compete in several America’s Cup World Series events before the America’s Cup including the Prada Cup, the Challenger selection finals. The Challenger who wins the Prada Cup in early 2021 will earn for the right to face the current Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, in the America’s Cup match.