A 110-strong workforce recruited by sole America’s Cup challenger American Magic is working flat out on the design of the team’s first foiling monohull which they hope to launch next year.
According to a story on the NewportRI.com website the team’s new headquarters in Bristol, RI now houses around 32 designers, 32 boatbuilders, 18 sailors, as well as a variety of other shore team and operations staff.
According to the syndicate’s chief operations officer Rob Ouellette many of the employees in the brand-new facility located in a small warehouse tucked away in a residential neighbourhood have recently moved to Rhode Island from around the world – although a significant number of jobs have been created for local people too.
American Magic, the team representing New York Yacht Club, is currently designing the boat it hopes will be victorious in Auckland in 2021.
The state of Rhode Island was long synonymous with the America’s Cup until in 1983 when the 25th edition saw John Bertrand’s Australian crew on Australia II from the Royal Perth Yacht Club become the America’s Cup’s first ever successful challenger when they defeated Dennis Conner’s Liberty.
Back then the racing took place in stately and elegant 12 Meter monohulls but now 35 years on the American Magic campaign are designing a very different kind of monohull to contest the 36th America’s Cup which is scheduled to take place in Auckland, New Zealand in 2021.
The new America’s Cup AC75 yachts will fly above the water on foils and will be capable of speeds above 40 knots.
Nobody has yet built a full-size version and American Magic designers along with their opposite numbers at the other two challenging syndicates – Sir Ben Ainslie’s INEOS Team UK and Max Sirena’s Prada-backed Luna Rosa – both know that they are playing catch up against the America’s Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand.
Narrowing the estimated sixth month advantage that the Cup holders have over the Challengers is going to take time, effort and cash, and it seems that American Magic has sufficient resources in all three areas.
The team is currently being bankrolled by three prominent and successful American businessmen: investment banker Hap Fauth; Amway president Doug DeVos; and motor racing entrepreneur Roger Penske.
Together, they created the Bella Mente Quantum Racing Association to challenge for the 36th America’s Cup after Emirates Team New Zealand, won the 35th America’s Cup by soundly beating American two-time winner Oracle Team USA on the waters off Bermuda in 2017.
Fauth and DeVos are also the owner drivers of their own world championship winning teams in the Maxi 72 and 52 Super Series circuits with their respective teams, Belle Mente Racing and Quantum Racing.
“I think with Hap and Doug, they’ve both been leading successful sailing teams for a long time. This is a logical next step for them,” Ouellette told NewportRI.com.
“They’re embedded in the sport, and the America’s Cup is the end all, be all. [The team] starts with a good backbone and good leadership in the sport, and that’s where Doug and Hap have been fantastic.”
Although not as well known in sailing circles Penske (81) – a fellow-New York Yacht Club member – knows a thing or two about mounting successful campaigns in high-performance sports. Penske is himself an ex-Formula 1 driver and his Team Penske operation has fielded 17 Indianapolis 500 winners and also operates a NASCAR team.
Penske is a member at New York Yacht Club and “knows winning,” Ouellette said to NewportRI.com.
“He knows how to prioritize and what you need to win. A lot of the technology we’re using to design these boats is similar to what Roger does with NASCAR and IndyCar. He’s just a competitor and he’s totally into it.”
Read the original article on NewportRI.com