Sailing Gone Viral!
Updated: Mar 4, 2019
I was sailing on Pensacola Bay and was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and I captured this video of American Magic, the 38' prototype of the 75' boat representing the US in the 2021 America’s Cup. The video has since had about 12k views, not quite “viral” but good enough for me.
American Magic, affectionately known as the “Mule”, has chosen Pensacola, FL as their winter training base, and this is over the top exciting for me and has put Pensacola and Pensacola Beach on the map. What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, it’s a little like having a pro football team decide to practice on your local high school football field!
Terry Hutchinson, Executive Director and Skipper of American Magic, and a team of others chose Pensacola to test and prove the world’s fastest monohull for a number of reasons. Not only is our weather warm and our southern hospitality warmer, but Pensacola Bay also offers steady winds and few waves, and thus is an ideal spot to prove their design concepts. Terry reports that the crew is working daily on the continuous cycle of designing, building, testing, and revising their design, with very little time off. And this crew, which includes top engineers and designers from around the world, plucked from companies such as Airbus, numbers 130 people, only 18 of which are the crew who are sailing the boat.
Obviously, it takes money to put together a challenge like this, and one of the biggest contributors has been 82 year old Roger Penske, founder of the Penske Corporation. Roger came into this challenge knowing very little about sailing, but with his winning competitive attitude and enthusiastic engagement with the team, he has added much inspiration to the effort.
So, a little history about the cup. America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy. Started in 1851 as a race around the Isle of Wight in the UK, was won by the US based schooner “America”, and thus became known as the America’s Cup.
The prestigious race is held between two yachts, one known as the defender, currently the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, and the second as the challenger, one of which is the New York Yacht Club with the boat “American Magic”. Other challengers include boats from Italy and the UK. Prior to the actual America’s Cup race, the challengers compete against each other to determine which boat will be the “official” challenger in the cup.
The 36th America’s Cup will be held on the waters near Auckland New Zealand in early 2021, where American Magic will wrestle the cup from the Kiwi’s and bring it back home. And yes, this is where we all chant “USA! USA!”