U.S. challenger launches

WELLINGTON (AP) — America’s Cup challenger American Magic has launched its second racing yacht in Auckland, revealing significant design developments compared with its predecessor.

The 75-foot Patriot was publicly revealed by the New York Yacht Club-backed team at its launching ceremony this morning local time.

Patriot more closely approaches the design features of boats developed by defender Team New Zealand and Italian challenger of record Luna Rossa, which had a head start in the design process because they collaborated in forming the class rule.

American Magic appears to have moved away from the flat-bottomed design of its experimental first-generation sailboat, Defiant, to a deeper skiff-style design apparently favored by the New Zealand and Italian teams.

The striking, deep blue Patriot also features flared decks at the bow, with the helm and grinding stations more deeply inset into the deck for aerodynamic reasons. The helm has also been moved forward.

Patriot’s debut precedes a flurry of launches. British syndicate INEOS Team UK will launch its new boat Saturday and Luna Rossa will do so on Tuesday.

The four competing syndicates will first race each other for the first time in the Christmas Cup from Dec. 17-20. The Prada Cup challenger series begins in January and the 36th America’s Cup match begins in March.

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