New York Yacht Club American Magic, the U.S. sailing team challenging for the 36th America’s Cup, delivered a keynote presentation to open the 2018 Optimist Class U.S. National Championship in Pensacola, Florida.
Over 300 junior sailors were in attendance, along with their coaches, families, and local sailing fans. American Magic CEO and Team Principal Hap Fauth (Naples, Fla.), Helm/Tactician Bora Gulari (Detroit, Michigan) and Grinder Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) educated and inspired the next generation of U.S. Sailors on the evening before the first day of racing in Florida.
“Our team has dual goals of winning back the America's Cup for the United States while re-engaging American sailors in the pinnacle event in our sport,” said Hap Fauth (Naples, Fla.), Team Principal and CEO of American Magic. “Getting U.S. sailors back into the Cup means developing the next generation. The group of young Opti sailors we have met here at the Nationals represents that next generation.”
Fauth delivered an overview of the team’s origins, mission and progress, while Gulari and Paine guided an eager audience through the new AC75 class of racing boats, as well as details of their own development pathways in sailing.
“At a young age, I was sitting in your seats,” said Paine, a U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, to the crowd of young athletes at the historic Saenger Theater. “I was talking and listening to people who had gone off to do great things in sailing. If you set your dreams and aspirations to it, and if this is something you truly want to do later in life, you [can] achieve those goals.”
“Probably my favorite thing is going and seeing [junior sailing] kids,” said Gulari, an Olympian and two-time Moth class World Champion who is also a US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman of the Year honoree, along with Paine.
“The energy here makes me just really happy to be a part of this sport. The thing that always makes it worthwhile is when [the kids] light up during the question and answer sessions. To me, that says that they’re paying attention, they have questions and they want to know more. I’m sure we’re going to see some of these kids in the future.”
American Magic recently named 17 athletes to its sailing team roster, which is led by Skipper and Executive Director Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis Maryland). The team plans to build and test its boats in Rhode Island, not far from New York Yacht Club’s historic Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport. The 36th America’s Cup will take place in March 2021 off Auckland, New Zealand.
Watch the full presentation below: