Holed up in Pensacola in Western Florida, American Magic's Kiwi skipper Dean Barker admits the current coronavirus situation in the United States is 'scary', as he contemplates delays to the New York yacht club's America's Cup campaign.
With the cancellation of this month's World Series regatta in Cagliari and June's regatta in Portsmouth, Barker is desperate to set up base in Auckland as soon as possible but knows it could be some time before he can return home.
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"Fortunately, we are away from most of the issues within Florida, but we are not that far from New Orleans where obviously it's pretty tough now," Barker says. "It's developing fast in the US.
"I think just with the size geographically and the population base in the US the way it's dealt with is very different to what we are accustomed to in New Zealand. Each state seems to have their own regulations which they impose and today the Florida Governor imposed a stay-at-home ban until the end of April.
"Things are definitely changing all the time so it's difficult to make too many plans and it's scary times for sure."
American Magic had planned to relocate to New Zealand after the Portsmouth regatta in June but how soon they can get Down Under is up in the air.
"June is not likely with border closures, and with everything going on in New Zealand it remains to be seen when the borders will be open to allow foreign team members to come into New Zealand," he says. "We are committed to getting there as soon as we can but again it's not really in our control."
For now, American Magic are continuing to build their second AC75 at their base in Bristol Rhode Island, but Barker is aware construction could cease at any moment.
"It's hard because just staying on track with the construction of the second boat - the timelines are already very tight right now," he says.
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"In Bristol the guys can carry on building a boat, but we know that at some point of time it could easily get closed down so every week lost is pretty valuable time that gets chewed up. It's just such a difficult situation we find ourselves in."
Barker believes American Magic's second boat will be a significant improvement on their first AC75, which they have sailed in Newport and in Florida. The plan is still to launch the second boat in Auckland sometime this spring.
"I think all the teams have learned a lot just in the design phase, let alone in the small amount of the sailing that we've had in the 75s to date. We have a lot of confidence in the changes that we've made and we think our boat two will be a good step up, but there's still a lot of unknowns," Barker says.
The cancellation of the first two World Series regattas means syndicates won't have an accurate gauge on how they are tracking until they hit the waters of the Hauraki Gulf, with the final World Series regatta set for Auckland from December 17-20.
The Prada Cup Challenger series is scheduled from January 15 - February 22, with the 36th America's Cup from March 6-15 next year.
Barker remains optimistic the regatta will be completed on time but acknowledges there are now significant disadvantages for the challengers not spending time racing each other.
"I suppose the advantage of having done Cagliari in the first place would have been to get a much better sense of where you are at and there would have been opportunities to react in some way or another based on how you came out of that event.
"When you go into a World Series event in December and you enter the challenger selection series in January, the die is pretty much cast at that point, so it would be hard for any team to make significant changes if they find themselves a little bit off the pace. So it's going to really put a lot of pressure on the teams to turn up in Auckland with their best foot forward."
There has been some talk that due to the tighter timeframes, the challengers would be keen for the America's Cup to be delayed until the following summer, but Barker is supportive of sticking to the original schedule.
"Obviously there's already been a bit of speculation about the timing of it all, but we are fully supportive of the scheduled World Series event in Auckland in December and then the challenger series and Cup match to carry on as planned," he says.
"So again, it's going to be out of everyone's control whether or not that's possible in the end."
In a perfect world, Barker says American Magic would have set up base in Auckland last year and sailed on the Hauraki Gulf last summer.
"Delays from Luna Rossa getting the foil arms really late, it just completely disrupted the programme," he says. "So, because we couldn't launch the boat until September or October, it made no sense to relocate to Auckland with the timing of the World Series.
"You just have to sort of be able to adapt and deal with what you've got so we had some great sailing in Newport over the summer and then even the stuff here in Pensacola has been great as well."
In the absence of any regattas against the other teams, Barker says they are doing their best to keep tabs on their rivals.
"Really the only way we can evaluate how we are doing is from the analysis we do of pictures and videos of the other teams sailing.
"It's certainly by no means conclusive but all teams have had their fair share of issues large and small - which is very much nature of the beast with a new class of boat like this."