The New Zealand team raced to help save the AC75 Patriot from American Magic after the boat capsized at high speed and plunged into the water in a dramatic end to Sunday’s Prada Cup competition.
Dean Parker made the Americans on their way to their first victory, and led Luna Rossa to the highest mark the last time when the bear’s move got out of hand.
The Patriot jumped out of the water, with a heel, and fell on its side.
All 11 crew members were counted, but the frantic scenes saw chase boats appear from teams competing to aid in a drawn-out rescue operation that ultimately managed to salvage the boat that had sustained severe damage to its bow.
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They included the New Zealand team that went out on the water, trained and watched challengers races.
American Magic expressed its appreciation for the efforts of its opponents in an incident that no team wants to experience. And they confirmed that there were no injuries to the crew.
America’s Cup / YouTube
The built-in camera captures the dramatic moments before the coup of American Magic.
The Patriot was severely damaged by water entering its hull and threatening to drown.
Coast Guard, police, firefighting crew and divers were dispatched to the scene to assist in the recovery along with chase boats from the competing teams.
Flotation devices were attached to the expensive boat in an attempt to keep it above the surface. Pumps were used to remove water from the ship’s hull.
A float device was also attached to the top of the mast as the boat threatened to go alongside it again in an increasingly desperate rescue operation off Milford in about 12 meters of water.
The huge double-wing sail was eventually removed as the Americans looked to get what they could from the boat.
The state of the sea was rolling back to aid in the process.
The stuff / TVNZ
Duncan Johnston of Stuff and Todd Niall reviews the third day of the Prada Cup.
By 7 PM, the mast was just above the water with support boats preventing the hull from sinking further.
The move to place floatation devices underneath the hull proved successful with the boat rising cheerfully.
Parker and Captain Hutchinson stayed with the boat, helping to steer operations in the fading light. Other American crew members also shared with some of the beach crew members.
There was satisfying success. The Patriots were cared back to stern base first, and were tied to support boats, at a pace of about 2-3 knots. It was an 11-nautical-mile journey since the race was held at the northernmost track of the Cup off the bays of Auckland’s east coast.
As darkness fell in the rescue attempt as the boat continued to circulate around North Cape, another New Zealand team boat arrived with pizza and soft drinks.
Ironically, the incident related to the New York Yacht Club, which has expressed a desire to move away from the boat frustration and return to the traditional monocle boats if they win the America’s Cup in Oakland.
The AC75s were prone to capsizing.
The New Zealand team capsized their boats three times but managed to set sail.
This would not be the case for American magic.
The next races in the Prada Cup will be held on Friday and it remains to be seen if they will be able to compete.
They have their first Defiant boat in Auckland, although it has been dismantled with many parts aboard the Patriot.
The interior of these boats is filled with expensive technology, including electronics, which is essential to their performance, and the Patriot is sure to have problems in this area.
Sitting at the bottom of the points table without a win, American Magic was already facing the prospect of having to go to the buyback semi-finals that doesn’t start until January 29th.
This is the second major accident in the Copa America for a team representing the New York Yacht Club.
In 1999 during Series Competitors, Young America suffered structural failure in Oakland and while not sinking, was severely damaged without injuries to the crew.
In 1995, the last boat sunk in the America’s Cup was One Australia that broke in half in San Diego. One of the crew who ended up in the water was Iain Murray, the regattas manager at this trophy event.
In 2013, defenders Oracle Team USA seriously damaged their 72-foot raft in a training coup.
The New Zealand team thwarted their 50-foot raft in the semi-finals of a series competition in Bermuda. They managed to repair the damage in time for the next race and went on to win the Copa America.