America's Cup 2021: Foolish to write off American Magic - New Zealand sailing great Sir Russell Coutts

New Zealand sailing great Sir Russell Coutts thinks it would be foolish to write off NYYC American Magic after their dramatic capsize on Sunday. 

The American Magic yacht 'Patriot' crashed and overturned around the final mark while leading the race against the Italian team on Sunday and are now in a race against time to be ready for the America's Cup Challenger series final in just eight days. 

But New Zealand sailing great Sir Russell Coutts thinks anyone would be foolish to write off the Americans in their quest to get back on the water. 

"Clearly they wouldn't have wanted that to happen but it's amazing what you can do," Coutts says. "It's a big repair they have to undertake but they have experienced people on the team and they will be on the water soon I'm sure."

Major repair work isn't new in the America's Cup with multiple teams in the past working night and day to get their boats back on the water.

In 2017, Emirates Team New Zealand crashed and capsized in the challenger semi-finals in Bermuda against Sir Ben Ainslie's men and were able to get back on the water within two days. 
In this year's event, Dean Barker's men can look at the improvements their rivals INEOS Team UK made in the three weeks after the Christmas regatta going from their impersonation of a paper plane in water to favourites to face Team NZ in the America's Cup. 

Obviously the repair work wasn't on the scale of what American Magic is dealing with, but they should take confidence that it's been done in the past.   

When 'Patriot' was pulled from the water late on Sunday night, it showed a massive hole in it the hull while most concerningly water has damaged all the electrics inside the boat and that will be most important in their repair work.  

Coutts who is in Christchurch to announce the newest leg of his Sail GP and the announcement of a New Zealand team in his event. One thing Coutts is impressed about is how the America's Cup has done in the face of a global pandemic. 

"I think the boats are really cool," he says. "Obviously COVID-19 put some restrictions on some things but it's been a great event so far."  

Prada Cup racing is back in action on Saturday with a single race between Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli and Team UK after American Magic withdrew from this weekend's racing to focus on their repair work. 

Join us at 4pm Saturday for live updates of America's Cup challenger racing