Closing out 2023: Terry Hutchinson's Final Recon Interview of The Year

As 2023 draws to a close, Justin Chisholm of the America's Cup Recon team spoke with Terry Hutchinson, Skipper and President of Sailing Operations of American Magic, to reflect on the team's journey throughout the year. In this interview, Hutchinson shares his perspectives on the team's final sail of the year, the development of their boat Patriot, and the process of preparing for the America's Cup. 

 America’s Cup Recon 
So, Terry, that looked like a productive day, a productive way of rounding out the year. 

Terry Hutchinson 
Yeah, I think part of the day was very productive. As you just rightfully pointed out, today was our last sail of 2023. I think that session summed up a bit of where we are. We're developing a lot, and the starting and stopping, along with some of those aspects, is always a good reminder of how hard what we're doing actually is. And the process of development is sometimes starting and stopping.

America’s Cup Recon 
It's interesting, that's your response. From our observation standpoint, we seem to see Patriot getting more and more reliable each time you go. 

Terry Hutchinson
She is, she's always been, she's been a good boat for us. And I stand there and watch it all, listen to the guys on the comms, and help support that sailing side of the operation. So you can see it happening. And I'm glad that it looks like it does to you. We're one step closer to the inside of it, and so you'd always like to see more time foiling and more efficiency in that area. But, when you're developing stuff, you do need to start and stop.

America’s Cup Recon 
These last couple of months have been all about kind of recommissioning Patriot with these new systems; as we get to the end of the year now, how far along that line are you? As a percentage, where would you say the boat is?

Terry Hutchinson
We have a couple more weeks when we come back in 23. So, if you look at it purely in time, we're probably 85% of the way through it. But I think that 85% would be a misrepresentation of the amount of work that actually still needs to be done. But you know, what a glamour day, though, to go out this morning in 17 or 18 knots of breeze and sail in perfectly flat waters with the J3, and then end the day on the J1 and, in lighter conditions and have the full range of it, that allows the workings inside of the boat to happen.

America’s Cup Recon 
You told me that the AC75, you'll use it in January for a few weeks, and then it'll be back into the 40s. Is that the AC40s in one design mode or the AC40s in a different mode

Terry Hutchinson
To be determined, we're still to decide what we're going to do there. We do know that we'll have both of them back. We were happy to hear yesterday from the shipping company that Magic got through the Suez Canal and is into the Med now, with the Red Sea being shut down to commercial traffic. So we were happy to hear that. And that was a bit of a relief.

America’s Cup Recon 
What are the milestones now for the team? Between now and the beginning of racing in the cup, there must be some key milestones; the boat obviously is one. But aside from that.

Terry Hutchinson 
We got a big Christmas party tonight. That'd be the first milestone. We have a couple of new team members that have just come in. Elle and Tom Slingsby had a baby boy last night. So there's another milestone, and the Campbells aren't too far behind.

I think as you get into the first quarter next year, you know, it'll be the two boating in the AC40s. And, then, as you rightfully point out, boat three, in late May, will show up, and there'll be a period that will be off the water, as we're prepping for boat three to come out and, and start that whole process of development, which will be exciting. It's hard to believe that we're less than ten months from the main event in some ways. And so, in that regard, there's a lot to do; there's definitely way more than ten months worth of work to do. So we're gonna have to be efficient with our time and do a good job at managing that side of our program. 

America’s Cup Recon 
For you personally. Are you happy with where the team is right now?

Terry Hutchinson 
I think when you look at 2023 and reflect upon it, we did a lot in this past year; we did a very good job. The team did a very good job moving from Pensacola to Barcelona, getting ourselves out on the water, and being as efficient as possible. We had one good regatta and we had one bad regatta, so that shows some promise. It was awesome for the team to win in Villanova, and equally, it's probably awesome that we didn't win in Jeddah. And that, the defender still demonstrated how good they are; they sailed very well there; you can see them being very efficient with their time in the AC40. They were very efficient with their time in the AC75 here, and so, from an American Magic perspective, our focus has got to be on getting through the Challenger Series and then, when we get to the match, putting ourselves in the best chance that we possibly can to beat them. But they're good, and you can see that they're good, and so that's that's not going to be easy for any team.

America’s Cup Recon 
Fantastic, Terry. Have a great Christmas, and we'll see in the New Year. 

Terry Hutchinson
Thank you. Thanks for everything, guys.


Stay updated with NYYC American Magic on Instagram @AmericanMagicTeam.

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