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Skipper's Press Conference: Terry Hutchinson on Patriot's capsize, recovery and next steps

by American Magic 18 Jan 2021 10:35 GMT 18 January 2021
Skipper's Press Conference: Terry Hutchinson © COR36 / Studio Borlenghi

After a mostly sleepless night following the capsize and near-sinking of American Magic's AC75 racing yacht, PATRIOT, Skipper and Executive Director Terry Hutchinson answered questions for assembled journalists in Auckland, and additional press patched in via Zoom.

Quotes:

On the local assistance: "We need to recognize the heroic effort by everybody in the Auckland community that came forward to rescue PATRIOT from despair. In particular the local authorities, the police, the fire and rescue, and then finally the competitors, Team New Zealand and INEOS and Luna Rossa. They were spectacular. When you think about that family, our sailing community, it was awesome to see the show of support."

On safety: "Fortunately, while [PATRIOT] has a bit of damage to her, the crew is safe. And at the end of the day, that's really all you can ask for."

On team dynamics: "I trust Andrew and Dean, as we all do when we get on that boat day in and day out. We trust them with our lives. When one of those guys makes a comment and you hear it in his tone about it being light, you take it seriously. It is truly one of those games that if you make one mistake and the boat touches down, it doesn't take much for the guy behind to get around you. And so we made the decision to do what we did."

On the AC75 at full speed: "The boats by nature are most-controlled when they're going fast. When you slow down from 40 knots to 30 knots, the apparent wind goes aft, all the load in the boat goes up and the boat becomes unstable. So if you have the opportunity to keep the thing ripping all the time, and go as fast as possible, it's the easiest to control.

On the crash: "We struggled through that maneuver because we got a puff at about the same time we were bearing off, and we were accelerating. In that exact moment, the runner was a little bit fetched up on the mainsail, the sails were eased and the boat was accelerating but we were still building up to our top speed. Those are the unfortunate consequences of racing in an incredibly turbulent condition."

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