History of The Americas Cup

Similar boat to the first Americas Cup Winner

Similar boat to the first Americas Cup Winner

The history of The America’s Cup stretches back a long way and it is regarded as the oldest “active” trophy in international sport.

The Cup is actually a trophy which is awarded to the winner of a series of match races between two sailing yachts. One of the yachts is the defender, and it represents the yacht club that presently holds the America’s Cup. The second yacht is known as the challenger, and this represents the yacht club that is challenging to be in possession of the cup.

Schooner America took the very first trophy in 1851 and was organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron. The race took place around the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England. To honour the boat which won the race, the trophy was renamed the America’s Cup and was later donated to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC). However, it was donated as a Deed of Gift, which means the cup was made available for perpetual international competition.

The terms basically mean that a yacht club which meets the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift has a right to challenge the yacht club that presently holds the Cup.

Modern day winner The BMW Oacle

Modern day winner The BMW Oacle

America Cup has such a great history and there is so much prestige associated with the event, it attracts the best sailors in the world and and also the top yacht designers. There are also wealthy entrepreneurs who sponsor the event. It is regarded as a a test of ultimate sailing ability and boat and sail design. Sponsorship is needed because the yachts are incredibly expensive to build and maintain. Sailing kit such as buoyancy aids, sailing clothes and sailing jackets will often bear the sponsors names. Without sponsorship the sailors would undoubtedly not be able to afford to race. Although the sailing teams are often called national teams by the media, the sailors so not need to necessarily come from the specific  country of the yacht club.

In recent years The America’s Cup was raced in 90 ft multi-hull yachts in a best-of-three “deed-of-gift” match in Valencia, Spain. The cup was won by challenger BMW Oracle Racing which beat the defender Alinghi 2–0, BMW Oracle won the Cup for the Golden Gate Yacht Club. In 2013 The America’s Cup will be held in San Francisco, California and the event will be broadcast around the world.

Article by Simon Lucas.

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