American Magic's hopes of taking the America's Cup back to the New York Yacht Club were dashed the day they capsized.
From then it was a bridge too far. Wrecking that boat and then trying to get it back in 10 days to what it was – it was just never going to happen.
They were just never going to get rid of all the gremlins and the problems that they had got rid of over the months using that boat beforehand. They went into that series really as passengers on board. Delivering it around the course but not really racing.
It appeared Dean Barker had little confidence in the platform that he was on. He didn't really want to engage in the pre-starts because he wanted to get across the start line in reasonable shape. He was just struggling with that boat, especially in that wind every day.
Who can American Magic blame for the exit?
I think the buck stops with the guy that runs the team, which is Terry Hutchinson. It looked like an Old Boys' Club from Newport to me. And I think they paid for that in the end. In reality they had everything that they needed but they just didn't put it all together.
That one mistake cost them everything. The format of the racing is ridiculous. You can't come back from a problem like that. And the boats are difficult because the old boat was never up to speed, so they couldn't revert to the old boat. There is just not enough racing and it's too short, the actual timeframe of it.
For Barker I suspect he's done his dash but you can't rule him out of a role off the boat. He would be a guy you'd be happy to have in your team for sure. If he's good enough sailing a boat you'd have him sailing.
He probably needed a bit more backup in terms of a Tom Slingsby or Nathan Outteridge. One of those guys on board would have helped a lot. You could tell he was struggling with the continuity of how they sailed the boat around the course. Initially, they looked pretty strong but a couple of things went wrong then it all fell apart.
Looking ahead to the Prada Cup final between Ineos Team UK and Luna Rossa and I don't think you can pay any attention to what happened in the semis. Historically the challengers tend to improve dramatically from the start of the regatta to the end of it. They learn a lot. So I expect they'll be different boats. That's the biggest problem Team New Zealand have got. To be able to develop their boat without the racing the challengers are getting.
If you're Team New Zealand you're pretty happy how the challenger series is going. One boat had written itself off. They limited the races in the round robin because one boat disappeared and then the semifinals weren't really races. All that's happened has fallen into Team New Zealand's favour.
If Luna Rossa and Ineos Team UK were smart they'd be looking at how Team New Zealand and their rig is set up and how they sheet their sails. They are learning all the time from the defender when they view them sailing.
I'm expecting some protests and off-the-water niggle coming into it. I expect the Italians to try and unnerve the English, using that yellow card if they can so they'll lose points. It's a developing class so there is always going to be different interpretations in the rules. The measurers have got their work cut out for them. They aren't at the level the teams are at in terms of sophistication so they're trying to catch up all the time.
The Secret Sailor is an internationally acclaimed yachtie with a strong history in the America's Cup.
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