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America's Cup
America's Cup.jpg
The America’s Cup Trophy
Sport Sailing match race
Founded 1851
Claim to fame Oldest active trophy in international sport
Most recent champion(s) United States Golden Gate Yacht Club
Most championships United States New York Yacht Club
Official website

The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup sailing regatta match, and the oldest active trophy in international sport—predating the Modern Olympics by 45 years.

Originally named the Royal Yacht Squadron Cup, it became known as the "America's Cup" after the first yacht to win the trophy, the schooner America. The trophy remained in the hands of the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) from 1857 (when the syndicate that won the Cup donated the trophy to the club) until 1983 when the Cup was won by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, with their yacht, Australia II, ending the longest winning streak in the history of sport.[1]

The America’s Cup regatta is a challenge-driven series of match races between two yachts which is governed by the Deed of Gift which was the instrument used to convey the cup to the New York Yacht Club. Any yacht club that meets the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift has the right to challenge the yacht club that holds the Cup. If the challenging yacht club wins the match, the cup’s ownership is transferred to that yacht club.

From the third defense of the Cup in 1876 through the twentieth defense in 1967, there was always one challenger and one defender, although the NYYC ran a defender selection series to pick the yacht they would use in the match. Starting in 1970, interest in challenging was so high that the NYYC started allowing multiple challengers to run a selection regatta among themselves with the winner being substituted as Challenger and going on to the actual America's Cup match. From 1983 until 2007, Louis Vuitton sponsored the Louis Vuitton Cup as a prize for the winner of the challenger selection series.

The Cup attracts top sailors and yacht designers because of its long history and prestige. It is not only a test of sailing skill, boat and sail design, but also of fund-raising and management skills. From the first defense in 1870 the matches were between very large (65 ft (20 m) or greater on the waterline) racing yachts owned by wealthy sportsmen. This culminated in races in magnificent J-class yachts in 1930, 1934 and 1937.

After World War II almost twenty years went by without a challenge, so the New York Yacht Club made changes to the Deed to allow the smaller and less expensive 12-metre class yachts to compete, and this class was used until 1987 when it was replaced by the International America’s Cup Class.

The 2010 America's Cup was raced in 90 ft (27 m) multihull yachts in a one-on-one, best-of-three race regatta in Valencia, Spain in February 2010. The challenger BMW Oracle Racing beat the defender Alinghi 2-0 and won the Cup for the Golden Gate Yacht Club.



The Cup itself is an ornate sterling silver[2] bottomless ewer, one of several off-the-shelf trophies crafted in 1848 by Garrard & Co.[3] Henry William Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey bought one and donated it for the Royal Yacht Squadron's 1851 Annual Regatta around the Isle of Wight.

It was originally known as the "R.Y.S. £100 Cup", standing for a cup of a hundred GB Pounds or 'sovereigns' in value. The Cup was subsequently mistakenly engraved[4] as the "100 Guinea Cup" by the America syndicate, but was also referred to as the "Queen's Cup" and the "America's Cup" (A guinea is an obsolete monetary unit of one pound and one shilling - now £1.05). Today, the trophy is officially known as the "America's Cup" and affectionately called the "Auld Mug" by the sailing community. It is inscribed with names of the yachts that competed for it,[4] and has been modified twice by adding matching bases to accommodate more names.

Yacht America in 1851 by Currier & Ives

1851 America wins the Cup

In 1851 Commodore John Cox Stevens, a charter member of the fledgling New York Yacht Club (NYYC) formed a six-person syndicate to build a yacht with intention of taking her to England and making some money competing in yachting regattas and match races. The syndicate contracted with pilot-boat designer George Steers for a 101 ft (30.78 m) schooner which was christened America and launched on May 3, 1851.

On August 22, 1851, the America raced against 15 yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron in the Club's annual 53 mile regatta around the Isle of Wight. America won, finishing 8 minutes ahead of the closest yacht. Apocryphally, Queen Victoria, who was watching at the finish line, asked who was second; the famous answer being: "Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second."[5]

The surviving members of the America syndicate donated the Cup via a Deed of Gift to the NYYC on July 8, 1857, specifying that it be held in trust as a perpetual challenge trophy to promote friendly competition among nations.

Schooner Columbia, 1871

1870-1881 First challenges

No challenge to race for the Cup was placed until British MP James Lloyd Ashbury's topsail schooner Cambria (188 tons, 1868 design) beat the Yankee schooner Sappho (274.4 tons, 1867 design) in the Solent in 1868.[6] This success encouraged the Royal Thames Yacht Club in believing that the Cup could be brought back home, and officially placed the first challenge in 1870. Ashbury entered Cambria in the NYYC Queen's Cup race in New York City on August 8 against a fleet of seventeen schooners, with time allowed based on their tonnage. The Cambria only placed eighth, behind the aging America (178.6 tons, 1851) in fourth place and Franklin Osgood's Magic (92.2 tons, 1857)[7] in the fleet's lead.[8]

Trying again, Ashbury placed a best-of-seven match race challenge for October 1871, which the NYYC accepted provided a defending yacht could be chosen on the morning of each race. Ashbury's new yacht Livonia (264 tons) was beaten twice in a row by Osgood's new centreboard schooner Columbia (220 tons), which withdrew in the third race after dismasting. The yacht Sappho then stepped in as defender winning the fourth and fifth races, and successfully defending the Cup.[9]

The next challenge came from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and was the first to be disputed between two yachts only. The schooner Madeleine (148.2 tons, 1868), a previous defender from the 1870 fleet race, easily defeated the challenger Countess of Dufferin (221 tons, 1876 design by Alexander Cuthbert). Cuthbert filed the second Canadian challenge, bankrolling, designing and sailing the first sloop challenge for the America's Cup in 1881. The small 65 ft (19.81 m) Canadian challenger Atalanta (84 tons, 1881), representing the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club, suffered from lack of funds, unfinished build and incompetent land transport from Lake Ontario. In contrast, the NYYC cautiously prepared its first selection trials. The iron sloop Mischief (79 tons, 1879 design by Archibald Cary Smith) was chosen from four sloop candidates, and successfully defended the cup.

Defender Volunteer, 1887

1885-1887 The NYYC Rule

In response to the incompetent Canadian challenges, the Deed of Gift was amended in 1881 to require that challenges be accepted only from yacht clubs on the sea and that challenger yachts must sail to the venue on their own hull. Furthermore, Archibald Cary Smith and the NYYC committee devised a new rating rule that would govern the next races. They included sail area and waterline length into the handicap, with penalties on waterlines longer than 85 ft (25.91 m). Southampton naval architect John Beavor-Webb launched the challengers Genesta (1884) and Galatea (1885) that would define the British "plank-on-edge" design (heavy, deep and narrow keel hull), making for very stiff yachts ideal for the British breeze.[10] The boats came to New York in 1885 and 1886 respectively, but neither would best the sloops Puritan or Mayflower, whose success in selection trials against many other candidates proved Boston designer Edward Burgess was the master of the "compromise sloop"[11] (lightweight, wide and shallow hull with centerboard). This design paradigm proved ideal for the light Yankee airs.[12]

In 1887, Edward Burgess repeated his success with the Volunteer against Scottish yacht designer George Lennox Watson's challenger Thistle, which was built in secret. Even when the Thistle was dry-docked in New York before the races, her hull was draped to withhold the secret of her lines which borrowed from American design. Both Volunteer and Thistle were completely unfurnished below decks to save weight.[13]

Challenger Valkyrie II, 1893

1889-1903 The Seawanhaka Rule

In 1887, the NYYC adopted the Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club's rating rule, in which Bristol, RI naval architect Nathanael Herreshoff found loopholes that he would use to make dramatic improvements in yacht design and to shape the America's Cup largest and most extreme contenders. Both Herreshoff and Watson proceeded to merge Yankee sloop design and British cutter design to make very deep S-Shape fin-keeled hulls. Using steel, tobin bronze, aluminium and even nickel for novel construction, they significantly lengthened bow and stern overhangs, further extending the sailing waterline as their boats heeled over, thus increasing their speed.

The next America's Cup challenge was initially limited to 70 ft (21.34 m) waterline in 1889, but the mutual-agreement clauses of a new 1887 Deed of Gift caused the Royal Yacht Squadron to withdraw the Earl of Dunraven's promising Watson-designed challenger Valkyrie as she was sailing across the Atlantic. Dunraven challenged again in 1893, pleading for a return to the longer 85 ft limit. In a cup-crazed Britain, its four largest cutters ever were being built, including Watson's Valkyrie II for Dunraven's challenge. Meanwhile, the NYYC's wealthiest members ordered two cup candidates from Herreshoff, and two more from Boston yacht designers. Charles Oliver Iselin, who was running the syndicate behind one of the Herreshoff designs called Vigilant, gave the naval architect leave to design the yacht entirely as he willed. Herreshoff helmed the Vigilant himself and beat all his rivals in selection trials, and defended the Cup successfully from the Valkyrie II.[14]

Urged to challenge again in yet larger boat sizes, Dunraven challenged again in 1895 with a 90 ft (27.43 m) waterline limit. The Watson-designed challenger Valkyrie III received many innovations: She would be wider than the defender, and featured the first steel mast.[15] The NYYC ordered another defender from Herreshoff, which he had built in a closed-off hangar and launched at night so as to conceal her construction: The Defender used an aluminium topside rivetted to steel frames and manganese bronze below waters. This saved 17 tons of displacement, but later subjected the boat to extreme electrolysis after the Cup races. Valkyrie III lost the first race, was found disqualified in the second race following a collision with Defender before the start line despite finishing first, and in turn withdrew from the contest. The unraveling of the races left Dunraven in a bitter disagreement with all parties over fairness of the Cup Committee concerning claims. After he asserted that he had been cheated, his honorary membership of the NYYC was revoked.[16]

90 ft foot sloops
Columbia & Shamrock

The climate was estranged until Irish-Scotsman nouveau riche Sir Thomas Lipton became the financial backer for the Royal Ulster Yacht Club's 1899 challenge. William Fife was chosen to design the challenging yacht because of past success in American waters.[17] The yachts yet increased in size, and this time Herreshoff fitted a telescopic steel mast to his defender Columbia, but his largest contribution was to recruit Scottish-American skipper Charlie Barr. The latter had helmed Fife designs[18] in Yankee waters before, and he had shown perfect coordination with his hand-picked Scandinavian crew. Barr successfully helmed Columbia to victory, and Lipton's noted fair-play provided unprecedented popular appeal to the sport and to his tea brand.

Although upset with the Shamrock, Lipton challenged again in 1901, turning this time to George Lennox Watson for a "cup-lifter": Shamrock II, Watson's fourth and final challenger, was the first cup contender to be thoroughly tank-tested. To defend the Cup, businessman Thomas W. Lawson funded for Boston designer Bowdoin B. Crowninshield a daring project: his yacht Independence was capable of unrivalled performance because of her extremely long sailing waterline, but she was largely overpowered, unbalanced and suffered from structural issues. Furthermore, Lawson's failure to commit to the NYYC's terms for defending the Cup defaulted the Independenceʼs elimination. Herreshoff had again received a commission from the NYYC, but had failed to secure Charlie Barr to skipper his new yacht Constitution. Instead, the Columbiaʼs syndicate kept Barr's crew and tried another defense. Unexpectedly, Barr led the Columbiaʼs crew to win the selection trials, and successfully defended the cup again.

Lipton persisted in a third challenge in 1903. With the aim to fend off Lipton's challenges indefinitely, the NYYC garnered a huge budget for a single cup contender, whose design would be commissioned to Herreshoff again. Improving on the Independence and on his previous designs, the new defender Reliance is still the largest race sloop ever built. She featured a ballasted rudder, dual speed winches below decks and a cork-decked aluminium topside that hid running rigging. The design focus on balance was exemplary, but the extreme yacht also required the skills of an excellent skipper, which defaulted choice options to Charlie Barr. Facing the equally bold challenger Shamrock III, Barr led the Reliance to victory in just three races.[19]

1914-1937 The Universal Rule

Despite the immense success of the Reliance, she was used only one season, her design and maintenance keeping her from being used for any other purpose than for a cup defense. The extremity of both 1903 cup contenders encouraged Nathanael Herreshoff to make boats more wholesome and durable by devising a new rule. Proposing in the same year the Universal Rule, he added the elements of overall length and displacement into the rating, to the benefit of heavy, voluminous hulls and also divided boats into classes, without handicapping sail area. This went against the American Yacht Clubs' and the British Yacht Racing Association's general desire to promote speed at all costs for cup boats, but the NYYC adopted Herreshoff's proposal. Lipton long pleaded for a smaller size of yachts in the new rule, and the NYYC conceded to seventy-five footers in 1914. Lipton turned to Charles E. Nicholson for his fourth challenge, and got a superb design under the unauspicious shape of Shamrock IV, with a flat transom.[20] She was the most powerful yacht that year, and the NYYC turned out three cup candidates to defend the cup: of George Owen's Defiance and William Gardner's Vanitie, it was Herreshoff who designed the wisest of all contenders.[21] His last design for the cup, Resolute, was small, and earned significant time allowance from other yachts. Barr had died, but his crew manned the Resolute, which faced stiff competition from Vanitie, but went on to win the selection trials, before the Cup was suspended as World War I broke out. The Shamrock IV waited in New York City's Erie Basin dry dock until 1920, when she received some adjustments to her build and ballast, just before the races were held. Despite Shamrock IVʼs severe rating, she took the first two races from Resolute, and came closer to winning back the Cup than any challenger before her. The defender Resolute ended the Old World's dreams by winning every following race of the event.[22]

Harold Vanderbilt, Enterpriseʼs skipper

Shamrock IV was never raced again, but the Universal Rule drew significant appeal, especially in the small M-Class. Undoubting that the new rule meant a serious opportunity for the British to challenge the cup, Lipton challenged the America's Cup for the fifth and last time at age 79, in 1929. The J-Class was chosen for the contest, to which was added scantling rules such as the Lloyds' A1 to ensure that the yachts would be seaworthy, and evenly matched given the Deed of Gift requirement for traveling to the match on the yacht's "own bottom." The waterline length was set between 76 ft (23.16 m) and 88 ft (26.82 m), and there would be no time allowance. Novel rigging technology now permitted the bermuda rig to replace the gaff rig. Nicholson was chosen to design challenger Shamrock V, and despite the Wall Street Crash, four NYYC syndicates responded to the threat and built a cup contender each.[23] The venue was moved to Newport, Rhode Island. There, the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company's new naval architect Starling Burgess used his success in the M-Class and his experience as a wartime plane designer to build the Vanderbilt syndicate's defender Enterprise, the smallest J-Class. Meanwhile, Herreshoff's son Lewis Francis Herreshoff designed a radical boat: Whirlwind, despite being the most advanced boat with her double-ended "canoe" build and electronic measurements, maneuvred too clumsily. The old 75-footers Resolute and Vanitie were rebuilt and converted to the J-Class to serve as trial horses. Enterpriseʼs skipper Harold Vanderbilt won the selection trials with great difficulty. When Shamrock V was revealed, she was an outdated wooden boat with a wooden mast and performed poorly to windward. Enterprise was then fitted with the World's first duralumin mast, the most lightweight at 4,000 lb (1,814 kg), and beat her opponent soundly.[24]

Lipton died in 1931, and English aviation industrialist Sir Thomas Sopwith bought Shamrock V, with the intent of preparing the next challenge. He added to Nicholson's skills aeronautical expertise and materials that would intensify the rivalry into a technological race. In 1934, the Royal Yacht Squadron issued a challenge for Sopwith's newly-built challenger Endeavour. Being steel-plated, she was less disfavoured than Shamrock V, especially after minimum mast weight was limited to 5,500 lb (2,495 kg), as this made American duralumin technology less advantageous for this contest. Endeavour received significant innovations, but Sopwith failed to secure the services of his entire Shamrock V professional crew due to a pay strike. He hired amateurs to complete his team, and while Endeavour was described unanimously as the faster boat in the Cup, taking the first two races, failed tactics and crew inexperience lost her the following four races to Vanderbilt's new defender Rainbow.[25]

To challenge again, Sopwith prepared himself a year early. Nicholson designed and built in 1936 the Endeavour II to the maximum waterline length allowed, and numerous updates to the rig made her even faster than her predecessor. Harold S. Vanderbilt, taking all syndicate defense costs to himself, commissioned Starling Burgess, yacht broker Drake Sparkman and ocean yacht designer Olin Stephens to provide designs. They anonymously built six boat models that were thoroughly tested in water tanks, until model 77-C was selected for its projected performance in light airs. The resulting defender Ranger was even more accomplished than her challenger, and Vanderbilt helmed his last J-Class boat to straight victory.[26][27]

1956-1987 The Twelve-Metre Rule

The J-class yachts remained the default for the Cup, but post-war economic realities meant that no one could afford to challenge in this hugely expensive class. As twenty years rolled by since the last challenge, the NYYC looked for a cheaper alternative in order to restart interest in the Cup. In 1956 Henry Sears[28] lead an effort to replace the J-class yachts that were raced in the 1930s. They selected the 12-metre class yachts, which measure from approximately 65 feet to 75 feet (20 to 23 m) overall. Briggs Cunningham, the inventor of the cunningham sail control device as skipper and Sears navigator lead the Columbia to her 1958 victory against Sceptre. The Sceptre was designed by David Boyd at Alexander Robertson and Sons Ltd (Yachtbuilders), for a Royal Yacht Squadron Syndicate, chaired by Hugh Goodson.[29] A second challenger, Sovereign, was designed by David Boyd and built at Robertson's yard in 1964. The NYYC successfully defended the cup under these rules for 30 years.

Alan Bond, a flamboyant and controversial Australian businessman made three challenges for the cup between 1974 and 1980, failing all three times, including a loss to Ted Turner in 1977, who skippered Courageous. He returned in 1983 with a golden wrench which he claimed would be used to unbolt the cup from its plinth, so he could take it home.

Freedom (12mR, 1980), the NYYC's last successful defender

In 1983 there were seven foreign challengers for the cup. Bond's campaign, representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club, won the elimination series for the right to challenge the NYYC, the prize for which was the Louis Vuitton Cup. In the challenger series, Bond's Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand and designed by Ben Lexcen won easily. The Australians recovered from a bad start to win the America's Cup 4-3 in a best-of-seven format and break the 132-year winning streak.

Losing skipper Dennis Conner won the Cup back four years later, with the yacht Stars & Stripes representing the San Diego Yacht Club, but had to fend off an unprecedented 13 challenger syndicates to do it. Bond's syndicate lost the Defender series and did not race in the final.

Technology was now playing an increasing role in the yacht design. The 1983 winner, Australia II, had sported her innovative winged keel, and the New Zealand boat that Conner had beaten in the Louis Vuitton Cup final in Fremantle was the first 12-metre class to have a fibreglass hull construction rather than aluminium or wood. All three building materials had long been permitted under the 12-metre class rules, however given the nature of building one-off boats fibreglass construction was not considered viable.

The New Zealand syndicate had to fight off demands from other challenging teams concerning the consistency of the thickness of the fibreglass hull. The 12-metre class rules stipulated that the hull had to be the same thickness throughout and could not be made lighter in the bow and stern. The demand was for core samples be taken from the plastic hull to show its thickness. At one press conference Dennis Conner, stated "Why would you build a plastic yacht unless you wanted to cheat?". Despite attempts to defuse the situation the "cheating comment" added to the controversy surrounding the Louis Vuitton challenges races. Chris Dickson, skipper of the "Plastic Fantastic" took the controversy in stride and with humour, Dennis Conner has subsequently stated he regretted the comment.[30]

The controversy over New Zealand's hull could be considered all part of the politics of the cup. The New Zealand refusal was based on the damage core samples might cause to the integrity of the hull. In turn they offered to carry out non-destructive testing. New Zealand syndicate head Sir Michael Fay's comment was that core samples would be taken "over my dead body". Eventually core samples were taken and the hull was found to be consistent and within class rules. Fay ceremonially lay down in front of the measurer before the samples were taken.

1988 The Mercury Bay Challenge

In 1987, soon after Stars and Stripes victory had redeemed Dennis Conner's reputation but before the San Diego Yacht Club had publicly issued terms for the next regatta, a New Zealand syndicate, again led by merchant banker Sir Michael Fay, lodged a surprise challenge under the original rules of the cup trust deed. Fay challenged with a gigantic yacht named New Zealand (KZ1) or the Big Boat, which with a 90-foot waterline, was the largest one-masted yacht possible – even larger than a J-class yacht. This was an unwelcome challenge to the San Diego Yacht Club who wanted to continue to run Cup regattas using 12-meter yachts. A legal battle ensued over the challenge. Justice Carmen Ciparik of the New York State Supreme (trial) Court, which administers the Deed of Gift, ruled that Fay's challenge on behalf of Mercury Bay Boating Club (MBBC) was valid and ordered SDYC to accept it, and to negotiate mutually-agreeable terms for a match, or race under the default provisions of the Deed, or forfeit the Cup to MBBC.

Forced to race, and lacking time for preparation, Conner and SDYC looked for a way to prevail. They recognized that a catamaran was not expressly prohibited under the rules. Multihulls, due to a lower wetted surface area, and vastly lower mass are inherently faster than displacement monohulls. Conner, however, did not leave anything to chance, and commissioned a cutting-edge design with a wing sail, named—as his 12-meter yachts had been—Stars and Stripes.

The two yachts raced under the simple terms of the Deed in September, 1988. New Zealand predictably lost by a huge margin. Fay then took SDYC back to court, arguing that the race had been unfair, certain not the "friendly competition between nations" that the Deed of Gift envisioned. Ciparik agreed, and awarded New Zealand the Cup. However, Ciparik's decision was overturned on appeal and SDYC's win was reinstated. Fay then appealed to New York's highest court and lost, meaning SDYC had successfully defended the Cup—on the water and off—in what most observers have until recently described as the most controversial Cup match ever.[31] (The 2010 America's Cup was a direct descendant of the 1988 Cup, as it featured two gigantic multi-hull yachts and generated even more legal activity and controversy).

1992-2007 The IACC Rule

In the wake of the 1988 challenge, the International America's Cup Class (IACC) was introduced, replacing the 12-metre class that had been used since 1958. First raced in 1992, the IACC yachts were used until the 2007 America's Cup.

In 1992, USA-23 of the America³ team, skippered by billionaire Bill Koch and sailing legend Harry “Buddy” Melges, defeated the Italian challenger Il Moro ITA-25, owned by billionaire Raul Gardini's Il Moro di Venezia 5-1. (Team New Zealand led 4-1 in the Louis Vuitton final before a protest by the Italians about the use of Team New Zealand's bowsprit for certain spinnaker manoeuvres, allowed the Italians to come back and narrowly advance to the cup final).

In 1995, The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron syndicate Team New Zealand, skippered by Russell Coutts, first won the challenger series in NZL 32, dubbed "Black Magic" because of her black hull and uncanny speed. Black Magic then easily defeated Dennis Connor's Stars & Stripes team 5–0 to win the cup for New Zealand. Although team Young America's cup candidate yacht USA-36 was defeated in defender trials by Stars & Stripes' USA-34, the San Diego Yacht Club elected to defend the cup with USA-36 crewed by Stars & Stripes. The 1995 Cup was notable for the televised sinking of oneAustralia during the fourth round robin of the Louis Vuitton challenger selection series. Luckily no-one was injured during the incident. The Australians advanced to the Louis Vuitton final using their second boat. Team New Zealand won the Louis Vuitton final 5-1 over oneAustralia.

Alinghi's 2007 defender SUI-100

In March 1997, a person entered the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's clubroom and damaged the America's Cup with a sledgehammer. The attacker, a recidivist petty criminal, claimed the attack was politically motivated; he was convicted and sent to prison. The damage was so severe that it was feared that the cup was irreparable. London's Garrards silversmiths, who had manufactured the cup in 1848, painstakingly restored the trophy to its original condition over three months, free of charge.

At Auckland in 1999–2000, Team New Zealand, led by Peter Blake, and again skippered by Russell Coutts, defeated Challenger Italy's Prada Challenge from the Yacht Club Punta Ala. The Italians had previously beaten the AmericaOne syndicate from the St Francis Yacht Club in the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals. This was the first America's Cup to be contested without an American challenger or defender.

In 2003, several strong challengers vied for the cup in Auckland during the challenger selection series. Notably a number of original members of Team New Zealand including previous helmsman Russell Coutts were key members of the Swiss challenge Alinghi sponsored by pharmaceutical billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli. Alinghi advanced surprisingly comfortably through the Louis Vuitton series into the America's Cup final. The Alinghi team won the America's Cup with surprising ease (5-0), multiple gear failures not helping Team New Zealand's defence.

In 2003, an extra 20 cm was added to the base of the Americas cup to fit the names of future winners. New Zealand's 2000 success was the first to be added.

Alinghi staged its 2007 defense of the cup in Valencia, Spain, the first time since the original 1851 Isle of Wight race that the America's Cup has been held in Europe, or in a country different from that of the defender. Eleven challengers from 9 countries submitted formal entries. The challenger selection series, the Louis Vuitton Cup 2007, ran from April 16, 2007 until June 6, 2007. Emirates Team New Zealand won the challenger series finale 5-0 against Italians Luna Rossa and met Alinghi between June 23 and July 3, 2007. Alinghi successfully defended the America's Cup by beating Emirates Team New Zealand 5-2. The racing was much closer than the scoreline suggests including a 1 second winning margin by Alinghi in the seventh and final race.

2010 The Golden Gate Challenge

BMW Oracle Racing's 2010 challenger USA-17

After Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) successfully defended the trophy in the 32nd America's Cup, they accepted a challenge from Club Náutico Español de Vela (CNEV) a Spanish yacht club formed expressly for the purpose of challenging for the cup and keeping the regatta in Valencia. When SNG and CNEV published their protocol for the 33rd America's Cup challenge, there was widespread consternation over its terms, with some teams and yacht clubs calling it the worst protocol in the history of the event.[32] Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) filed its own challenge for the Cup and also filed a court case asking that CNEV be removed as Challenger of Record as being unqualified under the Deed of Gift, and that GGYC be named the Challenger, being the first club to file a conforming challenge.[33]

There followed a long and acrimonious legal battle,[34] with the New York Court of Appeals finally deciding on April 2, 2009 that CNEV did not qualify as valid challenger, and that the GGYC was thus the rightful Challenger of Record.[35]

Since the two parties were unable to agree otherwise, the match took place as a one-on-one Deed of Gift match[36] with no other clubs or teams participating.

The match was sailed in gigantic, specialized 90 ft (27 m) multihull yachts in a best of three regatta in Valencia, Spain from February 8 to February 14, 2010. The rigid wing sail of the challenging trimaran USA-17 provided a decisive advantage and it convincingly won the 2010 America's Cup 2-0 against the defending catamaran Alinghi 5.[37][38][39][40]

At the post-race press conference BMW Oracle Racing's Larry Ellison said "they are open to considering a lot of options" for the next Cup location. He mentioned San Francisco, California, San Diego, California, Newport, RI, and Valencia, Spain as possible venues.[41]

The Challenger of Record for the 34th America's Cup will be Club Nautico di Roma, whose team Mascalzone Latino had competed in the challenger selection series for the 2007 America's Cup.[42][43]

Challengers and defenders

Rule Year Venue Defending club Defender Challenging club Challenger Score
fleet regatta 1851 Isle of Wight England Royal Yacht Squadron 8 cutters and 7 schooners, runner-up Aurora United States New York Yacht Club John Cox Stevens syndicate, America 0-1
1870 New York City United States New York Yacht Club 17 schooners, winner Franklin Osgood's Magic England Royal Thames Yacht Club James Lloyd Ashbury, Cambria 1-0
1871 New York City United States New York Yacht Club Franklin Osgood, Columbia (2-1) and
William Proctor Douglas, Sappho (2-0)
England Royal Harwich Yacht Club James Lloyd Ashbury, Livonia 4-1
1876 New York City United States New York Yacht Club John Stiles Dickerson, Madeleine Canada Royal Canadian Yacht Club Charles Gifford, Countess of Dufferin 2-0
65' sloop 1881 New York City United States New York Yacht Club Joseph R. Busk, Mischief Canada Bay of Quinte Yacht Club Alexander Cuthbert, Atalanta 2-0
NYYC 85' 1885 New York City United States New York Yacht Club John Malcolm Forbes syndicate, Puritan England Royal Yacht Squadron Sir Richard Sutton, Genesta 2-0
1886 New York City United States New York Yacht Club Charles Jackson Paine, Mayflower Scotland Royal Northern Yacht Club Lt. & Mrs. William Henn, Galatea 2-0
1887 New York City United States New York Yacht Club Charles Jackson Paine, Volunteer Scotland Royal Clyde Yacht Club James Bell syndicate, Thistle 2-0
SCYC 85' 1893 New York City United States New York Yacht Club Charles Oliver Iselin syndicate, Vigilant England Royal Yacht Squadron Earl of Dunraven, Valkyrie II 3-0
SCYC 90' 1895 New York City United States New York Yacht Club William K. Vanderbilt syndicate, Defender England Royal Yacht Squadron Earl of Dunraven syndicate, Valkyrie III 3-0
1899 New York City United States New York Yacht Club J. Pierpont Morgan syndicate, Columbia Ireland Royal Ulster Yacht Club Sir Thomas Lipton, Shamrock 3-0
1901 New York City United States New York Yacht Club J. Pierpont Morgan syndicate, Columbia Ireland Royal Ulster Yacht Club Sir Thomas Lipton, Shamrock II 3-0
1903 New York City United States New York Yacht Club Cornelius Vanderbilt III syndicate, Reliance Ireland Royal Ulster Yacht Club Sir Thomas Lipton, Shamrock III 3-0
Universal 75' 1920 New York City United States New York Yacht Club Henry Walters syndicate, Resolute Ireland Royal Ulster Yacht Club Sir Thomas Lipton, Shamrock IV 3-2
1930 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Harold S. Vanderbilt syndicate, Enterprise Ireland Royal Ulster Yacht Club Sir Thomas Lipton, Shamrock V 4-0
1934 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Harold S. Vanderbilt syndicate, Rainbow England Royal Yacht Squadron Sir Thomas Sopwith, Endeavour 4-2
1937 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Harold S. Vanderbilt, Ranger England Royal Yacht Squadron Sir Thomas Sopwith, Endeavour II 4-0
IYRU 12mR 1958 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Henry Sears, Columbia England Royal Yacht Squadron Hugh Goodson syndicate, Sceptre 4-0
1962 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Mercer, Walsh, Frese syndicate, Weatherly Australia Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Sir Frank Packer, Gretel 4-1
1964 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Eric Ridder syndicate, Constellation England Royal Thames Yacht Club Anthony Boyden, Sovereign 4-0
1967 Newport United States New York Yacht Club W. J. Strawbridge syndicate, Intrepid Australia Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Emile Christenson, Dame Pattie 4-0
1970 Newport United States New York Yacht Club W. J. Strawbridge syndicate, Intrepid Australia Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Sir Frank Packer, Gretel II 4-1
1974 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Robert W. McCullough syndicate, Courageous Australia Royal Perth Yacht Club Alan Bond, Southern Cross 4-0
1977 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Ted Turner, Courageous Australia Sun City Yacht Club Alan Bond, Australia 4-0
1980 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Freedom syndicate, Freedom Australia Royal Perth Yacht Club Alan Bond, Australia 4-1
1983 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Freedom syndicate, Liberty Australia Royal Perth Yacht Club Alan Bond, Australia II 3-4
1987 Fremantle Australia Royal Perth Yacht Club Kevin Parry, Kookaburra III United States San Diego Yacht Club Sail America, Stars & Stripes 87 0-4
DOG match 1988 San Diego United States San Diego Yacht Club Sail America, Stars & Stripes 88 New Zealand Mercury Bay Boating Club Sir Michael Fay, KZ-1 2-0
IACC 1992 San Diego United States San Diego Yacht Club Bill Koch, America³ Italy Compagnia Della Vela di Venezia Raul Gardini, Il Moro di Venezia 4-1
1995 San Diego United States San Diego Yacht Club Sail America, Young America New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Team New Zealand, Black Magic 0-5
2000 Auckland New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Team New Zealand, NZL-60 Italy Yacht Club Punta Ala Luna Rossa, ITA-45 5-0
2003 Auckland New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Team New Zealand, NZL 82 Switzerland Société Nautique de Genève Alinghi, SUI-64 0-5
2007 Valencia, Spain Switzerland Société Nautique de Genève Alinghi, SUI-100 New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Team New Zealand, NZL-92 5-2
DOG match 2010 Valencia, Spain Switzerland Société Nautique de Genève Alinghi, Alinghi 5 United States Golden Gate Yacht Club BMW Oracle Racing, USA-17 0-2
TBD 34th TBD United States Golden Gate Yacht Club TBD Italy Club Nautico di Roma TBD

In the media

Traditionally, commercial airships or blimps built by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, of Akron, Ohio, USA, have been named after former America’s Cup winning boats. Paul W. Litchfield, an early chairman of Goodyear, envisioned airships as “the aerial yachts of the wealthy” and began the tradition of naming blimps after A.C. boats, in 1925, with the christening of the Pilgrim. The tradition continued with Goodyear blimps named Stars & Stripes, Columbia, Ranger, Rainbow, Enterprise, Resolute, Reliance, Defender, Vigilant, Volunteer, Mayflower, Puritan and America.

See also


  1. ^ An overall account can be found the the book by John Rousmaniere (1983). The America's Cup 1851-1983. Pelham Books. ISBN 978-0720715033. 
  2. ^ "Many thanks for your enquiry. Unfortunately Wikipedia can never be used as definite origin of actual facts. The trophy is not made of Britannia metal, or Britannia silver. It was manufactured from sterling silver. I hope this assists you." email from Garrards, June 3, 2009
  3. ^ "A Cup is a Cup, by any other name". 2005-12-05. 
  4. ^ a b Thomas W. Lawson (1902), "List of Inscriptions on the America's Cup", The Lawson History of the America's Cup, Winfield M. Thompson Press, pp. 374–375, ISBN 9780907069409, 
  5. ^ Alfred Fullerton Loomis (August 1958). ""Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second"". American Heritage. 
  6. ^ Jacques Taglang. "Sappho". 
  7. ^ Jacques Taglang. "Magic". 
  8. ^ "The Queen's Cup race". New York Times. 1870-08-09. 
  9. ^ Hamish G. Ross. "The First Challenge". 
  10. ^ "Yachting - The plank on edge". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1911. 
  11. ^ William Picard Stephens (1904). "Burgess and the America Cup". American Yachting. The Macmillan Company. 
  12. ^ Roland Folger Coffin (1885). The America's Cup: How it was Won by the Yacht America in 1851 and Has Been Since Defended. Charles Scribner's Sons Press. 
  13. ^ Oliver Wendell Holmes (1887). A Testimonial to Charles J. Paine and Edward Burgess, from the City of Boston, for their successful defense of the America's Cup. Rockwell and Churchill Press. 
  14. ^ A. J. Kenealy (November 1893). "The Victory of the Vigilant". Outing ( 
  15. ^ "Valkyrie's steel mast". New York Times. 1895-08-06. 
  16. ^ "The Curtain falls on Dunraven". Outing ( April 1896. 
  17. ^ "skipper success of the Fife cutter Minerva". New York Times. 
  18. ^ "Barr's success on the Fife cutter Minerva". New York Times. 
  19. ^ Christopher Pastore (2005). Temple to the Wind: The Story of America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Masterpiece, Reliance. Lyons Press. ISBN 9781592285570. 
  20. ^ Joseph Brinker (July 1920). "Racing for the America's Cup - When sport becomes a science". Popular Science. 
  21. ^ Herbert Lawrence Stone (1919). The America's Cup Races. Thomas Werner Laurie, Ltd. Press. 
  22. ^ "Shamrock IV". New York Times. 
  23. ^ John T. Brady (July 1930). "A $5,000,000 yacht race". Popular Mechanics. 
  24. ^ Harold Stirling Vanderbilt (1931). Enterprise - The Story of the Defense of the America's Cup in 1930. Charles Scribner's Sons Press. ISBN 9780713669053. 
  25. ^ Starling Burgess (July 1934). "Secret of a racing yacht". Popular Mechanics. 
  26. ^ "America's Cup winner a marvel in design". Popular Mechanics. October 1937. 
  27. ^ Ian Dear (1977). Enterprise to Endeavour - the J-Class yachts. Dodd, Mead and Company. ISBN 9780396074786. 
  28. ^ "AMERICA'S CUP HALL OF FAME > INDUCTEES > Henry Sears, 1995 Inductee". 
  29. ^ "Goodson & Sir Richard Fairey's Flica successes and their 12mR challenge attempt". 
  30. ^ Conner, Dennis; Stannard, Bruce (1987). Comeback: My Race for the America's Cup. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 100-101. ISBN 0312009003. 
  31. ^ "Mercury Bay Boating Club v San Diego Yacht Club, Opinion of the Court". State of New York Unified Court System. 1990-04-26. 
  32. ^ Gladwell, Richard (October 8, 2007). "America's Cup document says RNZYS against Protocol". Sail-World NZL. Retrieved April 16, 2009. 
  33. ^ GGYC Complaint Against SNG
  34. ^ "Scuttlebutt News: Cory E. Friedman – 33rd America's Cup". Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  35. ^ Golden Gate Yacht Club v. Societe Nautique De Geneve, 25 (New York Court of Appeals April 2, 2009).
  36. ^ The Deed of Gift language for this eventuality is: "In case the parties cannot mutually agree upon the terms of a match, then three races shall be sailed, and the winner of two of such races shall be entitled to the Cup. All such races shall be on ocean courses, free from headlands, as follows: The first race, twenty nautical miles to windward and return; the second race an equilateral triangular race of thirty-nine nautical miles, the first side of which shall be a beat to windward; the third race (if necessary) twenty nautical miles to windward and return; and one week day shall intervene between the conclusion of one race and the starting of the next race. These ocean courses shall be practicable in all parts for vessels of twenty-two feet draught of water, and shall be selected by the Club holding the Cup; and these races shall be sailed subject to its rules and sailing regulations so far as the same do not conflict with the provisions of this deed of gift, but without any times allowances whatever. The challenged Club shall not be required to name its representative vessel until at a time agreed upon for the start, but the vessel when named must compete in all the races, and each of such races must be completed within seven hours."
  37. ^ "First blood to USA – News – 33rd America's Cup". 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  38. ^ "BMW ORACLE Racing". BMW ORACLE Racing. 2003-09-30. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  39. ^ "USA win 33rd America's Cup Match – News – 33rd America's Cup". Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  40. ^ "BMW ORACLE Racing". BMW ORACLE Racing. 2003-09-30. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  41. ^
  42. ^ "BMW Oracle's Larry Ellison confirms Mascalzone Latino as Challenger of Record". Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  43. ^ Club Nautico di Roma confirmed as America’s Cup challenger TV3News, 16 February 2010

External links


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