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'Just another day at work' after America's Cup boat almost capsizes

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - America’s Cup challengers American Magic had been pushing the limits of their yacht when it nearly capsized last weekend but the team’s skipper said on Thursday there was no lasting damage to the super-fast foiling monohull.

The New York Yacht Club-backed syndicate were training in their first generation AC75 yacht Defiant on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf on Sunday when it tipped over on its side before correcting itself.

“It wasn’t nearly as impressive as some of the wipeouts I’ve had on a traditional monohull,” Terry Hutchinson told New Zealand’s Stuff Media.

“We righted the boat, did a systems check and a rig check and sailed for another two hours after the fact.

“It was just another day at work.”

Hutchinson added that the team’s experience with capsizing their test boat, which has been nicknamed “The Mule” and is half the size of the America’s Cup yacht, had proven invaluable as they put their full-size boat through its paces.

“We had plenty of experience of those with ‘The Mule,’” he said, adding they capsized the test boat 19 times.

Hutchinson said the crew had been pushing the boat in wind ranges at the top-end allowable under race conditions on Sunday.

“We are definitely working under the mindset of our practices need to be harder than what we think race days will be,” he added.

“We operate in a reasonably safe limit, but not without its moments. It’s exciting, the speed of the boat is impressive.”

American Magic are the first challenging syndicate to arrive in New Zealand for next year’s Cup with teams from Britain and Italy expected in the next month.

The challenger series runs from Jan. 15-Feb. 22 next year before the America’s Cup match against holders Team New Zealand begins on March 6.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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