The New York Yacht Club’s American Magic racing team has returned to the Port of Pensacola to begin their annual training for the 37th America’s Cup, to take place in Barcelona, Spain in 2024. This year will mark the third winter that the American Magic sailing team has spent training along the Gulf Coast.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the America’s Cup and its significance, the race essentially serves as the Super Bowl of the sailing community. Yacht clubs from across the world participate by competing in a race to take home the oldest trophy in international sport, the America’s Cup. The competition dates back to 1851, which is before the modern Olympic Games began.
Led by President of Sailing Operations and Skipper Terry Hutchinson, American Magic will train in Pensacola for the duration of the winter season aboard their boat, the Patriot. Patriot is an AC75 racing yacht, with a 68-foot-long hull and t-shaped foils that allow the boat to reach top speeds.
According to Hutchinson, Pensacola’s waterways are ideal for training. “The sailing conditions in Pensacola Bay are perfect for developing the AC75. The team has the choice to train in the Bay or outside in the Gulf, providing a variety of conditions and sea states to advance and build our high performance race boat. Coupled with the local community support, this makes Pensacola the ideal U.S. training venue,” Hutchinson said.
This year is not the first time that the American Magic team has trained on the Gulf Coast. The team also spent time training in Gulf waters in 2018, 2019 and 2020. In 2019 and 2020, the team trained for the most recent America’s Cup, AC36 (the 36th America’s Cup), which was held in New Zealand last year. Patriot made the trek from New Zealand to Pensacola this past June. Pensacola is an optimal training destination for sailors due to its diverse environmental conditions.
“The 37th America’s Cup is set to take place in Barcelona, Spain. Pensacola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico will provide NYYC American Magic with similar wind and sea conditions, allowing the team to develop for the competition efficiently,” Hutchinson said, adding that the warm temperatures of the Gulf Coast allow the team to train for 12 months out of the year, where that may not be possible in places with cooler climates.
Pensacola Yacht Club’s Commodore, Tom Pace, also spoke to the area’s geographical benefits, “The return of American Magic certainly has a great deal to do with the warm and open interaction with the City, County, Port Authority and many locals, but at the very center of this decision to base in Pensacola again is due to our natural deep-water bay,” Pace said.
Both the City of Pensacola and the community alike have extended their support for the members of the American Magic team. Though only eleven sailors can sail on their boat, the American Magic team consists of over 160 people including sailors, boat builders, engineers and more. The Pensacola community has provided team members and their families with a warm welcome and excitement for their return.
Pensacola and the Port of Pensacola,” Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said. “I know I speak for many of our residents when I say I look forward to seeing the American Magic team sailing on beautiful Pensacola Bay this summer as they train for America’s Cup in Barcelona. We are so proud to serve as the home base for such a world-class team, and we wish American Magic much success as they compete in the 37th America’s Cup.”
As a lot of attention is being brought to Pensacola’s waters with the return of American Magic, many are excited about the potential for the growth of sailing in the area. Pensacola has a rich history of sailing, and it is important to keep creating more sailing opportunities.
“Pensacola was discovered by DeLuna on sailing ships,” Pace explained. “To provide the training base and sailing conditions necessary to help American Magic to win the America’s Cup ties to our maritime history, and as has happened across the past 500+ years, will bring countless eyes to Florida through our amazing bay and the local community. The team’s presence in Pensacola is nothing short of a lifetime opportunity.”
Pensacola’s maritime history is now being enriched, as the Port is playing a part in the world’s most viewed and most notable sailing race. Hutchinson noted the support received from Port staff and Pensacolians, “The Port of Pensacola and the community have been outstanding in their support of NYYC American Magic. Local vendors have worked hard with the team to support us with the necessary skills; from machine shops to grocery stores, you can feel the community’s support,” he explained.
Locals can expect to see the American Magic team sailing on Pensacola Bay throughout the coming months. For more information on American Magic or the 37th America’s Cup, visit americanmagic.americascup.com or follow @AmericanMagicTeam on Facebook and Instagram.