America's Cup 2021: American Magic likely to recover from capsizing, says sailing expert Richard Gladwell

If history is anything to go by, NYCC American Magic's 'Patriot' should be able to recover from their disastrous capsizing on the Hauraki Gulf on Sunday, according to's NZ editor Richard Gladwell.

Speaking to The AM Show, Gladwell says the AC75's jaw-dropping crash and the gaping hole it caused in its hull shouldn't be a fatal blow to the Americans' Prada Cup campaign, insisting their predicament is far from unprecedented.

"They'll do a damage assessment today and work out where they're going but these sorts of things have happened in the past," Gladwell says.

"Team New Zealand in Bermuda and Ben Ainslie had a hole on the boat the size a man could climb through and they fixed those overnight."

In 2017, Team NZ capsized during the Challenger semi-finals in Bermuda and did significant damage to its AC50, but were back and ready to race the very next day.

But the determining factor as to how quickly they're able to be back on the water won't be the hole, but the painstaking replacement of the onboard electronics, says Gladwell.

"The real issue with any boat that goes under the water, particularly a race boat, is that you can't go through and test the electrics," he says. 

"You actually have to go through and replace the whole lot and that's what takes the time.

"But it depends on how they've put it together. They may have made the whole thing totally waterproof."

After a five-hour ordeal salvaging the boat and towing it back to its base, American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson and his team worked overnight to assess the full extent of the repair required.

The hole in the hull of 'Patriot'.
The hole in the hull of 'Patriot'. Photo credit: Photosport

With the wealth of boating resources available in Auckland, Gladwell says American Magic are ideally placed to make a hasty recovery.

"If they had to have this incident happening you couldn't have it happen in a better place than Auckland because of all of the resources that are here to fix it," Gladwell says, "It's just phenomenal."

"The other thing that will happen with this is they'll go in and they'll share the experience and come out of it the better.

"The good thing is all the emergency procedures worked properly and they activated their emergency plan."

Join us at 3pm Friday for live updates of the America's Cup challenger series