"It will be difficult. It's not a pleasant situation. I spent the last 13 years of my life chasing this, and to have this pulled from me, it's difficult at this time," said Hutchinson, a four-time world champion who was Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in 2008. "But I look at it as a speed bump in the road to where I'm going."

Asked whether he would entertain an offer between now and next September from another of the four America's Cup teams, Hutchinson seemed conflicted.

"If an opportunity was presented to me — we're at a critical time for all the teams — you would certainly listen and entertain an offer because it's an opportunity to be involved," he said. "My goal hasn't changed. I still want to win the America's Cup. But I also appreciate that all these teams are in an area of development where the last thing they need is a distraction."

As in most multimillion-dollar sports, politics might have played a part. When Hutchinson joined Artemis in 2010, he was the lone helmsman. After Outteridge won the gold medal in the 49er class in the London Olympics last summer, the 26-year-old Australian sailor was added as a second helmsman.

It didn't surprise Jobson, who was a part of five America's Cup teams.

"You actually want to have two really good helmsmen in camp when you have two boats to compete against each other," he said. "One thing I learned from Ted Turner racing years ago was you always want to have the best people available and never fear having good competition because everyone lifts their game."

Some thought Hutchinson was pushed aside in what has become a generational shift toward younger helmsmen such as Outteridge. Hutchinson believes that as long as a helmsman is physically fit, experience should be considered a plus.

"There's no question in my mind, sailing is a learned sport," he said. "I believe my best years are in front of me. There will be a time when I'll be just as competitive mentally, but maybe not physically. That time hasn't come yet. I'm not even close to being done."

Sport's shifting winds

But as the America's Cup boats get bigger and faster — next year's competition will feature catamarans that are to the water what Formula One racecars are to blacktop — even Jobson realizes that younger, stronger crew members could give a team an advantage.

"The athleticism required for these catamarans is pretty extraordinary," Jobson said. "Guys like Terry and Paul Cayard and some of these guys in their mid-40s and early 50s, some of them say, 'This is a hard boat.' Youth serves you well on a boat as energetic as a [72-foot catamaran]."

But Jobson is quick to add: "You still need to have some experience. Every America's Cup, it doesn't matter what kind of boats you're on, the most successful campaigns do a good job integrating young, fresh, athletic, inspired, skilled sailors with some veterans. Most of the good crews have some veterans around who have seen it all. It's like a football team that has those 35-year-old veterans in the locker room, the America's Cup is like that."

Wrote Cayard: "The AC72s are fast and powerful, requiring very quick reactions. Once a certain level of experience has been attained, it is generally a young man's game."

Along with resilience, Jobson has told Hutchinson to stay patient — the next America's Cup will be over sooner than he thinks.

"By the end of September next year, it's over," Jobson said. "Any group around the world contemplating putting together an America's Cup campaign, you're going to have a Terry Hutchinson on your short list of people you want to consider for tactician or helmsman."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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