The straight-talking skipper of eliminated America’s Cup challenger American Magic says he’s still in “a bit of shock.”
Terry Hutchinson expected the team would take a couple of days off to recover from its 4-0 loss to Luna Rossa, before considering its future.
American Magic’s campaign came to a faltering end after its foil arms began failing, leaving it wallowing and out of control at times, as Luna Rossa sailed away to clinch the remaining slot in the Prada Cup Final.
“Brutal I think is the right word for it,” Hutchinson told Stuff, hours after the end of the team’s campaign.
The form team in the build-up regatta before Christmas in Auckland returned in January slightly on the back foot, compounding with a catastrophic capsize, which required a 9-day rebuild of its AC75 “Patriot”.
With just two days of shaking before facing a much sharper Luna Rossa in the semi-final, American Magic was out-sailed in the first three races, before the technical problems scuttled its last chance.
“I’m probably a bit in shock because we’ve spent the last three years of our lives chasing one thing, and it comes to an abrupt stop,” said Hutchinson.
The team’s tactician and chief executive had revived his partnership with helmsman Dean Barker, after the pair held similar helmsman/tactician roles in Team New Zealand’s 2007 challenge in Valencia.
Hutchinson paid credit to the support of key figures in the New York Yacht Club, for which the team had sailed, and said they would take time before looking ahead.
“We have a responsibility to ourselves and our principals to take a couple of days off, take a step back away from it, and come back with clear heads and have a good honest debrief to identify the strengths and weaknesses,” he said.
Hutchinson said that would include shortcomings of the campaign, and things that could have been done better.
American Magic was one of only three challengers to run campaigns in the new high-tech AC75 foiling monohulls, ushering in a new era of America’s Cup racing.
Prada Cup: American skipper Terry Hutchinson on the ‘shock’ of elimination.
Whether the team would roll into a new campaign was not yet known.
“We’re always up for a good challenge,” joked Hutchinson, when asked about the future.
“It’s not a game for the faint of heart financially and I have the utmost respect for what (team principals) Doug DeVos, Roger Penske, and Hap Fauth and the New York Yacht Club membership did, it’s not something we take lightly,” said Hutchinson.
“With that responsibility, I think they will guide us in the direction they want to go, and yet we’ve built a great infrastructure and great team, to allow that to continue,” he said.
Whether challengers decide to retain bases in Auckland, will depend on the outcome of the America’s Cup itself in March, as the event would leave the city if a challenger won it from Team New Zealand.