America's Cup 2021: Rivals race to assistance of capsized American Magic

NYYC American Magic have paid tribute to their America's Cup rivals - among others - for rushing to their aid, after a spectacular crash during racing on the Hauraki Gulf.

Rounding the final mark at high speed in squally wind conditions, the AC75 yacht Patriot caught a sudden gust of wind and went airborne, crashing back to the water and tipping over.

As Italian opponents Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli were declared winners, all crew were quickly accounted for and rescuers rushed to the scene to secure the boat, before it could sink.

Hours afterwards, the syndicate has released an official statement on the incident, which threatens its future involvement in the Prada Cup challenger series over the next month.

"New York Yacht Club American Magic, the US challenger for the America's Cup, capsized in a strong gust of wind, while leading around the final mark, during a Prada Cup race shortly before 6:00pm (NZ time) on Sunday, January 17," it says.

"All team members onboard were quickly accounted for by the team's on-the-water safety personnel and declared safe. The team's AC75 racing yacht, Patriot, was damaged during the incident and began taking on water. 

"American Magic received rapid assistance from the three other America's Cup teams, along with American's Cup Event Ltd, the race management team, Coastguard New Zealand, the Auckland harbourmaster, and local fire and police personnel.

"Efforts to stabilise Patriot and get the yacht back to shore are currently underway. American Magic is sincerely thankful for all of the assistance rendered to the team following today's incident."

Late Sunday night, salvagers were painstakingly towing the foiling monohull from the racecourse off East Coast Bays to the Auckland Viaduct. Emirates Team NZ reportedly delivered pizza to the American Magic team during their long journey.

Winless after two rounds and now possibly boatless, the Americans - along with Kiwi helmsman Dean Barker - must take stock of how they continue in a competition they were favoured to win only three days ago. 

The calamity would have brought back bad memories for Barker, who was at the helm of New Zealand boat that took on water and almost sank during the Kiwis' unsuccessful 2003 America's Cup defence.

He was also on the wheel in San Francisco 2013, when the Team NZ's foiling catamaran teetered dangerously and only narrowly avoided disaster against Oracle Team USA.

Questions may now be asked about the wisdom of attempting such a high-risk manoeuvre in treacherous conditions with the race seemingly under control.

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