Cup Insider Exclusive: Terry Hutchinson Interview

American Magic’s skipper and president of sailing operations gives an update on what the US Challenger has been up to since the conclusion of AC36.

As the sailing world waits for the announcement of the Protocol for the 37th America’s Cup from Defender Emirates Team New Zealand on November 17, Cup Insider editor Justin Chisholm sat down with American Magic’s president of sailing operations and skipper Terry Hutchinson for an update on what the US Challenger has been up to since the conclusion of AC36.

During the interview they discuss:

  • the frustrations of not knowing the timing and venue of the 37th America’s Cup

  • the American team’s view of the potential venues for AC37

  • how the American Magic syndicate debriefed the last Cup cycle

  • the key lessons learned from that debrief

  • the potential upsides and downsides of the introduction of the new AC40 foiling monohull

  • the prospect of a Women’s America’s Cup and a Youth America’s Cup

  • American Magic’s relationship with the US Olympic programme

  • Ineos Britannia’s tie up with the Mercedes Formula 1 team and the potential benefits and challenges of that relationship

  • the chances of Terry racing aboard the American AC75 at the next Cup

  • Emirates Team New Zealand’s signing of Nathan Outteridge and which helmsmen American Magic’s may or may not be targeting

It's been it's been about three months since American Magic syndicate announced it was planning to challenge again for the next America’s Cup. Was that decision ever in doubt? Was it ever a possibility that you wouldn't challenge?

I think for any America’s Cup Challenger, before the event details are released, the decision on whether or not to actually enter is always in question.

We are sitting here today at the beginning of November, and we don't have a venue and we don't have a Protocol yet – although we're anticipating the protocol to be released on the seventeenth of this month. I think from an American Magic perspective, we need to see the rules of engagement. We need to understand where the venue is.

Obviously not knowing the venue is difficult for everyone. Are you frustrated by it, or do you understand the difficulty of the situation the Defender is in?

I understand the situation and I understand why these announcements have been delayed by the Defender. As a Challenger, the only way to fix the frustration with your lack of power over the America’s Cup it is to win the regatta. That's just a very honest statement. When you win the regatta, you get to avoid being frustrated by these things.

Saying all of that, we're still frustrated. We're not in a position really to comment because we don't know all the ins and outs of those dealings by Emirates Team New Zealand and INEOS Britannia.

Obviously, we still have our team base up in Auckland and we have all of our gear in that shed, in anticipation or hope that maybe AC37 is going to be there. But I don't think it's our role to really comment because we didn't win AC36.

Would Auckland be your preferred decision for America’s Cup 37? Is that where you want to go?

Absolutely. Our Team Principals want to see a venue picked that first and foremost is a good fit for the America’s Cup as an event. American Magic wants the event to have a lot of teams, good racing, and a healthy commercial and media environment. We prefer that a venue have a strong connection to the sport of sailing, or even better, to be a proven Cup venue.

Some of the venues that have been shortlisted by Emirates Team New Zealand fit all of those criteria. Some of them give us some pause, and some worry. Unfortunately, as a Challenger we are pretty powerless to impact the venue and Protocol details.

For the good of the Cup, and for the good of the teams, we all hope that Dalts, Ben and their teams get the details sorted as soon as possible and act in the best interests of the sport.

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