New York Yacht Club has announced its decision to participate in the 36th «America's Cup» ahead of schedule: the application period is not open to potential candidates for the oldest award in sailing until January 1. In an interview with Sailingscuttlebutt.com, team skipper Terry Hutchinson revealed some details of the upcoming campaign.
This campaign started, I think, five years ago with Doug (DeVos, owner of the TP52 Quantum Racing team) and three years ago with Hap (Picture, owner of the Maxi72 Bella Mente team) and evolved as our relationship in sailing evolved. When it became clear that Team New Zealand would win, after a series of discussions with them and their main rival (team Luna Rossa), in which they specified what they were going to do with the boats, we had the opportunity to at least sit down and discuss whether we wanted to get involved.
The more I, Doug and Hap talked about it, the more they realized that our goals were the same in what we wanted to do, what we wanted the team to do. We found out if we could get the support of New York City to bring the next match one step closer to our vision of sport. We have been walking towards this for about 6 months and this is just the visible side of a much longer process.
We already have a yachting infrastructure in place and this part of the program is functioning at a pretty high level for most of the last five years. Hap and Doug are helping us build the business infrastructure. I think Doug best expressed its importance by saying, "«Success in the America's Cup is as much a business venture as a sports venture».
Besides, an important part will be how the team will represent the United States. It will be an American flag team.
When you race on the TP 52 or Maxi 72, you realize that there is a huge gap between my generation and young athletes around the age of 20. As a team we want to bring the America»'s Cup «back to the basics of our sport and get support in the same way. We want to represent the United States as we see fit - through hard work and good results in the race.
According to the protocol in its current version, 20% of the teams should be flag country citizens and 80% should be residents. I think that resident status will be quite difficult to achieve by inviting foreigners, so our goal is to create a team based in the U.S., involving young yachtsmen.
If we think big, if we win, we need a team of younger athletes who can then defend the Cup.
Most likely, our team will be mixed - from American and foreign athletes, but as a skipper of the team and as an American, I think of it as an American team. Will each of its members be an American citizen? Probably not, but we will certainly be proud to carry the American flag.
Although there is a rule «in the «America»'s Cup, never say never».
If you turn over the timeline and start looking at the Cup match today, it turns out that we don't have much time left to practice on that very boat. But we have wonderful young American sailors, who are now developing in different directions, we have talents that we need to develop and see which of them is the most suitable for our campaign. We first need to make sure that we have all the necessary infrastructure to attract the best athletes and get into the fight on time.
After the discussions that we had with the Defender, we got an idea of the general direction (in which the concept of AC class will develop), but it's too early to speak about full clarity here, as there are many variables to be defined.
The task of the organizers is, on the one hand, to attract spectators to New Zealand and ensure the spectacle of the competition, and on the other hand, to return the regatta to the basic principles of sailing. It is also to maintain the» status of a top yachting destination in the «America's Cup. This is a real challenge. They want to attract competitors, they have to control their expenses so that this regatta does not become an anecdotal race, but at the same time remains the pinnacle of sailing.
He's in a great position because he just won, but winning brought responsibility. I know they don't take that responsibility lightly.
When it comes to participating in the campaign itself, there is a risk of overthinking it, so the main lesson for me is to look for simple solutions and focus on the main thing.
To keep it simple, it's important to get the right people in the right places. In my sailing career, I was lucky to be a tactician with the best teams, and what I learned from that experience is the importance of choosing the right people to work on both the water and shore. So we will focus on getting the right people together.
One of the strengths of the Quantum Racing and Bella Mente programs is the formation of great teams from nose to stern, in which everyone works hard and respects the process that goes on at every moment of the race.
We are looking forward to applying this approach to the new campaign.
In four years, if we are lucky enough to win, we will probably have some vision of what the «America»'s Cup should be like, different from the previous two competitions. One thing I know for sure: the challenge of the future is to push the boundaries of our sport.