The capsize of American Magic's boat has thrown the Prada Cup into disarray and questions now abound as to if, when and how the team can continue to compete in the competition.
Heading for their first victory of the Cup after a frustrating two days, the American Magic crew capsized their boat in dramatic fashion and not only gifted victory to Luna Rossa in the race, but potentially ended their Prada Cup campaign - and with it their America's Cup quest.
Photos and footage emerged overnight that reveal extensive damage to the hull while the several hours the boat spent submerged in water surely damaged electrical systems onboard the yacht.
Is the damage to the boat repairable?
This is the first question that the American Magic team, as well as sailing fans, will be looking to answer - can they fix it? And if so, how long will those repairs take?
Each syndicate must declare and present the yacht they intend to race to Prada Cup organisers two days before each round begins; meaning Wednesday would be the first opportunity for the team to do so. However, that seems like it would be a miraculous recovery.
Instead, skipper Terry Hutchinson says the team is hopeful they can sail in the semifinal in two weeks' time. That gives the team 10 days to make repairs ahead of that week's declaration deadline.
"We obviously sustained some damage to the bow of the boat. It's too early to really comment on how long it takes or the extent of it. We'll get a better look at it when we get Patriot in the shed and from there we're going to keep our sights set on the semifinal, get our feet back on the ground," Hutchinson told NZME.
What made the big hole?
That's a fairly big hole in the hull of Patriot. Either that's happened on impact or something heavy has fallen onto the bottom of the boat to cause damage like that. If it was a battery or electrics that caused the hole then they are looking at two big fixes - structural and with the internal components.
"The electronics down below these boats are like a pinball wizard show.. there'll be a lot of damage there," NZME commentator PJ Montgomery told the Mike Hosking Breakfast on Newstalk ZB.
"Bite the bullet and prepare for the semifinal," Montgomery suggested.
What is the deadline?
And if the boat cannot be repaired in time? There seems to be two possibilities in play.
American Magic have their first edition AC75, Defiance, up their sleeve, which could be resurrected although that seems highly doubtful.
As it stands their first boat is pretty much decommissioned in a sense that components were taken out and used in Patriot. It could be just a shell and potentially more work for little gain if it doesn't have a chance to compete - one suspects it would struggle with the revised and racy Team UK and Luna Rossa boats.
What happens to the Prada Cup schedule?
Ineos Team UK need one more on-water victory to guarantee a spot in the final.
That means unless the Brits fail to record another win over Luna Rossa, we're pretty much locked in for a Luna Rossa v American Magic semifinal - if the Americans can get a boat ready.
If no boat is capable of taking to the water in time for semifinal racing, currently scheduled for January 29 until February 2, then that part of the schedule may not take place at all.
Instead, sailing fans may have to put up with a gap of almost three weeks between the final round-robin races and the Prada Cup final series beginning February 13.
No doubt more information will emerge from the American Magic team in the coming days, but one fact is concrete: after pouring an estimated amount upwards of $180m into this campaign, the team will not go down without a fight.
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.