American Magic's Patriot is back on the water, sporting a heartfelt tribute to their fellow syndicates, who helped make their return possible.
The boat, helmed by Kiwi Dean Barker, has been repaired after sustaining major damage in a dramatic capsize during the first weekend of Prada Cup racing.
The boat emerged from the sheds on Wednesday featuring a sticker made to look like two band-aids over a hole that was repaired, with one a New Zealand flag with the words "Thank you."
"The band-aid graphic with the three flags that cover the repair is an acknowledgement from all of us within the American Magic team of the invaluable assistance received from each of the other three syndicates," an American Magic spokesperson told the Herald.
Engineers and crew have worked tirelessly since capsizing and damaging their vessel just under two weeks ago, putting in long days to ensure they would be back on the water for the semifinal series against Luna Rossa, which starts on Friday.
On Wednesday, after a wait of about two hours for the wind to play ball, American Magic had Patriot back up on its foils, flying over the Course C area of the Waitematā Harbour, off the coast of North Head.
The crew were out until just after 7pm and would go out again on Thursday, if conditions allow, to get as much sailing practice as possible before getting back into race mode.
American Magic have spoken highly of Team New Zealand in recent weeks after being offered their help to repair the boat.
"Really, we've handed off part of the project to them to take on and that's allowed our boat builders and shore team to focus on getting the inside of Patriot back to where she needs to be," American Magic skipper Terry Hutchinson said last week.
"It has been truly impressive to watch our team and the support we've gotten from Team NZ and you just know it wouldn't have happened without it."
After an impressive showing in the America's Cup World Series last month, the Americans did not have the same success in the Prada Cup round robins, going without a win in four races — before capsizing against Italian outfit Luna Rossa.
Although the New York Yacht Club syndicate have shown their ability on the water in the past, the uncertainty around how well their reborn vessel will perform has many viewing the crew as underdogs, particularly given the amount of damage sustained to the interior of the boat, which houses the vital electronic systems.
Grinder Sean Clarkson, however, has high hopes.
"It's a fantastic boat and we have a very good bunch of sailors," Clarkson told the Herald.
"I don't see anything different when we put it back in the water. It will be business as usual.
"The boat is not at all compromised; it is as good or better as it was when we dipped it in. It's up to us to go and deliver.
"I would take our boat any day over our opposition, so it's exciting," Clarkson added.
Heading into the Cup racing?
• Give yourself plenty of time and think about catching a ferry, train or bus to watch the Cup.
• Make sure your AT HOP card is in your pocket. It's the best way to ride.
• Don't forget to scan QR codes with the NZ COVID Tracer app when on public transport and entering the America's Cup Village.
• For more ways to enjoy race day, visit at.govt.nz/americascup.