American Magic will miss the next round of racing in the America’s Cup challenger series after its dramatic capsize but the team is determined to be ready for the series semifinals in 12 days.

The New York Yacht Club-backed team faces a huge repair job after a high-speed crash while leading Sunday’s race against Italy’s Luna Rossa left its racing yacht Patriot with a gaping hole in its hull.

Crew from the United States' American Magic boat Patriot and Team New Zealand attempt to keep Patriot afloat after it capsized during its race against Italy's Luna Rossa on the third day of racing of the America's Cup challenger series on Auckland's Waitemate Harbour, New Zealand, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Michael Craig/NZ Herald via AP)

Skipper Terry Hutchinson on Monday said the yacht sustained internal and external structural damage, and would need to replace the complex system which controls its foils and almost all of its electronics.

The work is likely to take 8 to 10 days, leaving American Magic on a tight deadline to have any race time before the semifinals begin.

Hutchinson feared Patriot might sink but a lengthy salvage effort involving fire officers, Coast Guard and rival teams saved the high-tech 75-foot yacht which was towed back to its base in Auckland, New Zealand late Sunday night.

Team New Zealand crewmen grab the sail of United States' American Magic's boat, Patriot, after it capsized during its race against Italy's Luna Rossa on the third day of racing of the America's Cup challenger series on Auckland's Waitemate Harbour, New Zealand, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Michael Craig/NZ Herald via AP)

Fortunately we didn’t sink this one and we’ll live to fight another day,” Hutchinson said. “While the boat has a bit of damage to her, the crew is safe and at the end of the day that’s really all you can ask for.

Hutchinson said American Magic’s rivals, notably the defender Team New Zealand, have offered personnel and facilities to help rebuilt Patriot.

American Magic lost its first three races in and was heading for its first win of the series when the capsize occurred.

Crew from the United States' American Magic boat Patriot and Team New Zealand attempt to keep Patriot afloat after it capsized during its race against Italy's Luna Rossa on the third day of racing of the America's Cup challenger series on Auckland's Waitemate Harbour, New Zealand, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (Michael Craig/NZ Herald via AP)

Hutchinson described the experience of the crew as Patriot reared up, then heeled over as “pretty hairball.” Several of the crew were submerged beneath the yacht’s giant mainsail.

The accident occurred as Patriot approached the top gate powered up at around 45 knots. It tacked to round the left-hand mark and attempted a tricky bear-away tack at speed but sailed into a squall of rain and wind which included a gust of almost 25 knots.

I have to say there’s a little bit of mother nature biting us. We’ve debriefed it internally, we’ll get better from the situation and work to not make the same mistake twice.

AP / Shoco Sport News 2021.

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Prima Donna
Prima Donna
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21-01-21 16:39

Nice work by the rescuers?