America's Cup 2021: American Magic's Terry Hutchinson feared for his life after being 'trapped' during dramatic capsize

  • 09/04/2021

For a brief moment, American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson feared for his life, after being "trapped" following Patriot’s capsize on the Hauraki Gulf

Helmed by Dean Barker, the Americans were on course for victory against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli during the America’s Cup challenger rounds, when the Kiwi lost control of the vessel around the final mark.

What followed was near tragedy.

Speaking on Last Call, a mini-documentary on the America's Cup regatta, Hutchinson reveals the panic he experienced seconds after the boat went airborne and crashed into the water. 

"My most vivid memory is when I heard Dean say 'I've lost the rudder'," Hutchinson recalls. "I'm basically clipped into the boat, so I went to eject myself out, but my clip didn't come undone, which straight away got my cackles up.

"So I went for my knife, but the cockpit filled up straight away and it very quickly went from ‘everything's okay’ to a pretty high fever from my perspective, because straight away I was underwater and under the mainsail."

Grinder Cooper Dressler was scrambling for safety, when he noticed Hutchinson struggling to free himself. 

"Cooper grabbed his knife and cut the left one [clip] and got me out.

"From there, all four of us popped out from under the mainsail, and we did the headcount and everybody was safe."

And once all 11 sailors were accounted for, attention turned to the recovery of Patriot, which had suffered major damage and was in immediate danger of sinking. 

"When we got her upright, it was clear that there was a hole. It very quickly went to a rescue operation of the boat."

All three rival teams, as well as several emergency service personnel, chipped in to prevent a total catastrophe.

"We all thought the boat was going to sink."

"In that situation, the boat is designed for a certain amount of impact, but having watched and looked at the pictures, I can tell you we were well beyond the threshold."

"But we received some incredible support from the New Zealand authorities and some truly unbelievable support from Team New Zealand, INEOS [Team UK] and Luna Rossa, and we managed to save her."

Patriot was eventually repaired in time for the Prada Cup semi-finals, but suffered a clean sweep at the hands of Luna Rossa. 

"It was hard - we had three years invested into this boat, but we brought her back to life and got back into the water."