Get­ting into Gear

A year into the lat­est Cup cycle, the teams are start­ing to get se­ri­ous

SAIL - - Racing Under Sail - By Adam Cort

While much of the yacht rac­ing world has had its eyes glued to the Volvo Ocean Race th­ese eight past months, the be­he­moth that is the Amer­ica’s Cup has also been slowly but surely lurch­ing into mo­tion, fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of the of­fi­cial AC75 class rule in late March.

Here at home, the New York Yacht Club’s “Amer­i­can Magic” cam­paign (so named in honor of the schooner that started it all back in 1851) continues to pick up steam, with its sailors first win­ning the Ficker Cup and then tak­ing sec­ond over­all this past April in the Con­gres­sional Cup, be­hind former World Match Rac­ing cham­pion Tay­lor Can­field of the U.S. Vir­gin Is­lands.

In­ter­est­ingly, while renowned U.S. sailor Terry Hutchin­son is cur­rently lead­ing the ef­fort, at the helm is Kiwi Amer­ica’s Cup veteran Dean Barker, the skip­per on the los­ing side of the Jimmy Sp­ithill-led “Come­back” on San Fran­cisco Bay in 2013. “So far, the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence has been very good,” said Hutchin­son. “The Ficker and Con­gres­sional Cups were an op­por­tu­nity to test our­selves, to see where we are, and to ap­ply some pres­sure [to our team]. Over 12 days, Amer­i­can Magic had a record of 39-7 against some re­ally strong com­pe­ti­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, we didn’t win on the last day of the Con­gres­sional Cup, but we did a lot of re­ally good things as a team.”

Dean Barker (in­set) and the rest of the “Amer­i­can Magic” cam­paign (above, to wind­ward) had a chance to start hon­ing their match-rac­ing skills at the Con­gres­sional Cup

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