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Rebuilding an America's Cup culture, one boat at a time

by American Magic 28 Feb 19:18 GMT
IYRS graduate and American Magic boatbuilder James Allsopp (Annapolis, Md.) works at the team's production facility in Bristol, Rhode Island. © Amory Ross / American Magic

With nine graduates of Newport's IYRS School of Technology and Trades already working in the Bristol, R.I. production facility of New York Yacht Club American Magic, a U.S. Challenger for the 36th America's Cup, the two organizations have announced plans to formally collaborate and strengthen the marine and composite fabrication industries in the United States.

IYRS has been named a Sailing Community Partner of American Magic, and the team will work to continue providing the school's graduates with professional opportunities at the pinnacle of the sport.

"Our team was formed to win the America's Cup and to help rebuild an America's Cup culture in the United States," said Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and Executive Director of American Magic. "IYRS is helping us to accomplish both. It is a real testament to the quality of the school's programs that we were able to plug so many IYRS graduates directly into an America's Cup facility building AC75 yachts. Our boatbuilders from IYRS will help ensure that the U.S. can produce the fastest racing boats in the world long into the future."

The America's Cup is the oldest trophy in international sports, and the highest prize in sailing. First contested in 1851, the competition was held in Newport from 1930 until 1983, when the team onboard Australia II defeated Liberty, the defending syndicate from New York Yacht Club. Formed in 2017, American Magic is New York Yacht Club's Challenger for the 36th edition of the event, set to be held from March 6-21, 2021, in Auckland, New Zealand.

"IYRS is thrilled to have its graduates be a part of the team working to build American Magic's boats," said Jay Coogan, President of IYRS School of Technology and Trades in Newport. "The America's Cup has fostered innovation in racing yachts throughout its history. It is exciting that American Magic is bringing together expertise across many disciplines to create this high-performance production program here in Rhode Island. An IYRS education shares the same high standards of execution using technology and hands-on knowledge that is being employed in the building of American Magic. We are honored to partner with a team doing so much for our industry."

Rhode Island has a storied history of America's Cup boatbuilding, with the first locally produced America's Cup "defender" yacht, Vigilant, built in Bristol during the winter of 1892/1893 by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. American Magic's production facility is located a short distance from the Herreshoff yard, which now houses the Herreshoff Marine Museum and the America's Cup Hall of Fame. Other Cup contenders have been built by Rhode Island companies including Goetz Composites in Bristol and New England Boatworks (NEB) in Portsmouth.

"Working on an America's Cup program is a dream come true for someone in the composites industry, and especially for someone who loves sailing," said James Allsopp, IYRS '13 and American Magic boatbuilder. "The boats we are building in Bristol are pretty special, and I think they will generate a lot of pride for IYRS grads, American Magic fans, and everyone in the marine industry."

To celebrate the new partnership, American Magic Chief Operating Officer Rob Ouellette will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming IYRS Winter Celebration on March 28, 2019 at New York Yacht Club in New York City.

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