Neigh­bor­hood Ri­vals Meet at Amer­ica’s Cup

Brady, Hutchin­son Are An­napo­lis Res­i­dents

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sunday Morning On The Air - By An­gus Phillips

VA­LEN­CIA, Spain — If all goes to plan, which it rarely does in the Amer­ica’s Cup, top chal­lengers BMW Or­a­cle and Emi­rates Team New Zealand will slug it out next month for the right to sail against Swiss Alinghi in the Cup Match in June. That would find two familiar faces glar­ing at each other across the wa­ter in the best-of­nine chal­lenger fi­nals.

“At home, we live about three miles apart. We see each other a lot,” said Terry Hutchin­son, tac­ti­cian on top-ranked Team New Zealand, of Gavin Brady, his coun­ter­part on No. 2-rated U.S. en­try BMW Or­a­cle. “Our kids play to­gether.”

Here they live even closer — just a long golf shot apart, says Hutchin­son — but don’t so­cial­ize as much. The ex­cep­tion was Easter Sun­day, when the Hutchin­sons and Bradys con­vened for din­ner un­der spe­cial rules set by the wives: no Cup talk.

That two An­napo­lis sailors would wind up call­ing the shots here on top chal­leng­ing teams from op­po­site sides of the world is not sur­pris­ing in to­day’s Cup, where na­tion­al­ity means lit­tle. It’s worth not­ing that Brady, a na­tive New Zealan­der, sails for his adopted home while Hutchin­son, born and bred in Mary­land, rep­re­sents the South Pa­cific is­land Brady came from.

What­ever hap­pens in May and June, Hutchin­son reck­ons by mid­sum­mer the ri­vals will be back home with their com­bined five kids mix­ing it up pool­side. And Brady ex­pects he and Hutchin­son will be at each oth­ers’ throats in a friendly way on the Sev­ern River, prac­tice-rac­ing small boats to keep sharp.

“I keep two IC-24s [mod­i­fied J-24s] at Bert Jabin’s Yard,” said Brady, 33. “Terry and Chris Lar­son and I go at it when­ever we’re in town. It’s prob­a­bly some of the most com­pet­i­tive rac­ing in North Amer­ica. The power­boaters don’t know what to make of it.”

Brady came to An­napo­lis from Ti­maru on New Zealand’s South Is­land to work on lo­cal racer Ge­orge Collins’s fleet of boats in 1993. He was a raw teenager but made an im­pres­sion. In two years he’d been hired by fel­low Kiwi Chris Dick­son, now skip­per of BMW Or­a­cle, to sail in the 1995 Cup in San Diego. Brady wound up call­ing tac­tics, a stun­ning rise for a 20-year-old.

Hutchin­son, 38, an all-Amer­i­can at Old Do­min­ion Univer­sity, took longer to climb the Cup lad­der. His first ex­pe­ri­ence was in 2000 in Auck­land as main­sail trim­mer on Paul Ca­yard’s Amer­i­caOne. In 2003, he called tac­tics on Den­nis Con­ner’s ill-fated Stars & Stripes.

Does he have any mis­giv­ings about switch­ing to a non-Amer­i­can ef­fort? “It never crossed my mind,” Hutchin­son said. “My goal is to win the Amer­ica’s Cup by any means pos­si­ble. My only hope is the third time’s the charm.”

The two tac­ti­cians ar­rived at their cur­rent spots by dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent routes. Hutchin­son was re­cruited by TNZ skip­per Dean Barker in a sort of “ar­ranged mar­riage,” by Barker’s de­scrip­tion. They hadn’t sailed to­gether, but “he was ex­cited about it, and that was the key in­gre­di­ent,” Barker said. “He had the at­ti­tude we wanted but we had to make it work.” Over 21⁄ years of train­ing and rac­ing,

2 Barker and Hutchin­son forged a bond. There were bumps in the road, Barker said. Trust is cru­cial be­tween skip­per and tac­ti­cian. “We made mis­takes and got over them. You take a lot from that.”

Ki­wis love to nee­dle each other and, over time, Hutchin­son learned to give as good as he got. “He’s been Kiwi-fied,” team spokesman War­ren Douglas said. “He and Dean go at it all the time.”

Brady had other is­sues. He was helms­man on BMW Or­a­cle when the pro­gram got go­ing but was re­placed a year and a half ago at the wheel by Dick­son, who heads the sail­ing pro­gram.

Brady left for al­most a year, dur­ing which time French­man Ber­trand Pace called tac­tics. But he kept up with Dick­son by phone and with Larry El­li­son, the bil­lion­aire soft­ware baron who bankrolls the team and sails on the boat, tak­ing the helm from time to time. Brady coached El­li­son in match-rac­ing tac­tics in San Fran­cisco.

Last Septem­ber, he got the call to come back as tac­ti­cian and agreed. By all ac­counts, there are no lin­ger­ing re­sent­ments. “He’s into it 110 per­cent,” said Tom Ehman, BMW Or­a­cle’s di­rec­tor of ex­ter­nal af­fairs.

Brady says hav­ing two Ki­wis in the back of the boat makes life sim­pler. “It’s un­be­liev­ably noisy when we’re rac­ing,” he said, “and when the he­li­copters come in for the big matches it’s worse. It helps if you can un­der­stand each other with­out words.”

Hutchin­son says he and Barker have de­vel­oped the same sort of con­nec­tion de­spite their cul­tural dif­fer­ences. “We be­came friends,” he says. “We had to. But first, we learned to sail to­gether. We’re in a re­ally com­fort­able place now. We each know what the other means. Some­times it’s not what you say but how you say it.

“About 80 per­cent of the time, Dean will de­fault to me if I ex­plain my de­ci­sion right. If I don’t, he’ll de­fault to his own in­stincts, and that’s not too bad be­cause he has great in­stincts. Some­times I just say, ‘Go with your in­stinct.’ ”

Hutchin­son reck­ons the long-term sta­bil­ity of the af­ter­guard on TNZ will more than off­set the nat­u­ral bond Dick­son and Brady have. “It’s go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing to see how it goes with them,” he said. “They raced all last sea­son in one con­fig­u­ra­tion [with Pace] and now they make the change. They have a new boat [USA 98] that they haven’t had a lot of time to de­vel- op and a new tac­ti­cian. How will they hold up?

“With us,” Hutchin­son con­tin­ued, “there’s noth­ing we haven’t done. We’ve been train­ing for three years, we’ve had plenty of time to de­velop our boat, we have ad­e­quate money and a good leader in Dalts [team leader Grant Dal­ton], who is re­lent­less and crazy in a good way. I don’t see the wheels com­ing off.”

“We’ve come a long way in the last six months,” Brady says in re­sponse. “At this point, it’s quite un­cer­tain how we’ll match up. Th­ese two boats have never been on the wa­ter to­gether. It’s go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing.”


Gavin Brady, right, has coached soft­ware bil­lion­aire Larry El­li­son in match-rac­ing tac­tics. Brady is a na­tive New Zealan­der who came to the United States as a teenager.


Terry Hutchin­son, mid­dle, is the tac­ti­cian on top-ranked Team New Zealand, which is com­pet­ing for a spot in the chal­lenger fi­nals. Hutchin­son is a Mary­land na­tive.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.