3 America's Cup

America's Cup

Infobox sports league
logo=America's Cup.jpg
caption=The America’s Cup Trophy
teams=13 (2009?)
country= International ESP (2009 Host)
champion=flagicon|Switzerland Alinghi

The America’s Cup is the most prestigious regatta and match race in the sport of sailing, and the oldest active trophy in international sport, predating the Modern Olympics by 45 years. The sport attracts top sailors and yacht designers because of its long history and prestige. Although the most salient aspect of the regatta is its yacht races, it is also a test of boat design, sail design, fundraising, and management skills. The cup, originally offered as the Royal Yacht Squadron cup, is now named after the first yacht to win the trophy, the schooner "America". The trophy remained in the hands of the New York Yacht Club of the United States from 1852 or 1857 (when the syndicate that won the Cup donated the trophy to the club) until 1983 when the Cup was won by the challenger, "Australia II" of Australia, ending the longest winning streak in the history of sport. The skipper of "Australia II", John Bertrand, was quoted in saying, “This puts yacht racing back on the map!”. Fact|date=May 2008

The America’s Cup regatta is a challenge-driven yacht series that currently involves a best-of-nine series of match racing (a duel between two boats). Since the 1992 match, the regatta has been sailed with the "International America’s Cup Class" (IACC) sloop, a monohull class. Boats that conform to the IACC rules typically have a length of about 75 feet (23 m). Any challenger who meets the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift, which governs the regatta, has the right to challenge the yacht club that holds the Cup. Since 1983, Louis Vuitton has sponsored the Louis Vuitton Cup as a prize for the winner of the challenger selection series (which was inaugurated for the 1970 match). The America’s Cup is a race between the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup and the current holder. If the challenging team wins the cup, the cup’s ownership is transferred from the defender’s yacht club to the winning team’s yacht club.


The Cup itself is an ornate silver-plated Britannia metal bottomless ewer, designed and crafted in 1848 by Garrard & Co.Americascup.com: " [http://www.americascup.com/en/americascup/news_official/detail.php?idIndex=0&idContent=5549 A Cup is a Cup, by any other name] ", December 5, 2005. URL last accessed 2007-09-05.] The trophy is inscribed with names of the yachts that competed in the regatta’s matches. Bases matching the silver cup were added in 1958 and 2003 to accommodate more names. The cup is one of three or six that were made as off-the-shelf trophies. Sir Henry Paget, the 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 by the Squadron as the “Royal Yacht Squadron Cup” or the “RYS Cup for One Hundred Sovereigns”. The Cup subsequently became known as the “One Hundred Guinea(s) Cup”, by the American syndicate that won it. As time went by, the Cup was also referred to as the “Queen’s Cup”, the “America Cup”, and the “"America"’s Cup”. Today, the trophy is officially known as the America’s Cup and affectionately called the “Auld Mug” by the sailing community.

The regatta’s origins date back to August 22, 1851 when the 30.86 m schooner-yacht "America", owned by a syndicate that represented the New York Yacht Club, raced 15 yachts representing the Royal Yacht Squadron around the Isle of Wight. "America" won by 20 minutes. Apocryphally, Queen Victoria asked who was second; the answer famously was: “There is no second, your Majesty.” Fact|date=May 2008

The surviving members of the syndicate which owned the "America" donated the Cup through a Deed of Gift (written in 1852) to the New York Yacht Club on July 8 1857. The trophy would be held in trust as a “challenge” trophy to promote friendly competition among nations.

The Start of the Challenges

Stung by this blow to the contemporary perceptions of invincible British sea power, a succession of British syndicates attempted to win back the cup, but the New York Yacht Club remained unbeaten for 25 challenges over 113 years, the longest winning streak in the history of sport. Matches were held in the vicinity of New York City from 1870 and 1920, which includes the “Herreshoff Period” between 1893 and 1920, when cup defenders were designed by Nathanael Herreshoff. From 1930 to 1983, the races were sailed off Newport, Rhode Island for the rest of the NYYC’s reign.

One of the most famous and determined challengers was Scottish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton. Between 1899 and 1930 he mounted five challenges, all in yachts named "Shamrock", two of which were designed by William Fife. One of Lipton’s motivations for making so many challenges was the publicity that racing generated for his Lipton Tea company, though his original entry was at the personal request of the Prince of Wales in hopes of repairing trans-Atlantic ill-will generated by the contentious earlier challenger, Lord Dunraven, who had accused the NYYC of cheating. Lipton was preparing for his sixth challenge when he died in 1931. The yachts used during the Lipton era were very large sailing sloops; for example, "Shamrock V", which is still sailing today, measures 120 feet (36 m) long.

After World War II

After World War II, the huge and expensive J-class yachts were replaced by the much smaller 12-metre class yachts, which measure from approximately 65 feet to 75 feet (20 to 23 m) overall. The New York Yacht Club’s unbeaten streak continued in eight more defenses, running from 1958 to 1980. The inventor of the cunningham sail control device to increase performance, Briggs Cunningham, skippered the "Columbia" during its 1958 victory in the first challenge after 1937. 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 spanner which he claimed would be used to unbolt the cup from its plinth, so he could take it home.

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.

Beaten 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.

The changing face of the Cup

Technology was now playing an increasing role in the yacht design. The 1983 winner, Australia II, had sported its 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 Tom Blackaller, the skipper of the USA syndicate from San Francisco, stated “Why would you build a plastic yacht unless you wanted to cheat?”. Dennis Conner, who was sitting next to Blackaller at the press conference, attempted to defuse the situation but it certainly added to the controversy.

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.

The end of the 12-metre era

In 1988, 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 “big boat” challenge under the original rules of the cup trust deed. The challenge used a gigantic yacht named "New Zealand" (KZ1) or the "Big Boat". Fay had challenged using the maximum size one-masted yacht possible – even larger than a J-class yacht – which was swiftly built and presented for the contest. Conner’s syndicate, however, recognised that a catamaran was not expressly prohibited under the rules. Catamarans, due to lower mass to sail area ratios and other factors, are in general vastly quicker than monohulls. Conner did not leave anything to chance, however, and commissioned a cutting-edge design with a wing sail, also named "Stars and Stripes". A legal battle ensued over whether Conner or Fay had broken the rules or if both had merely skirted the edges of them. 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. By then, neither side was keen to negotiate, and 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. Ciparik ruled that Conner's catamaran was not in accordance with the Deed, 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 top court and lost, meaning SDYC had successfully defended the Cup -- on the water and off -- in what most observers described then and since as the most controversial Cup match ever. [Citation
title=Mercury Bay Boating Club v San Diego Yacht Club, Opinion of the Court
publisher=State of New York Court System


In the wake of the 1988 challenge, the International America’s Cup Class (IACC) of yachts 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 its 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 “Stars & Stripes” won the defender selection trials sailing “USA-34” they decided to sail USA-36 to defend the America’s Cup. USA-36 was the yacht campaigned by the "Young America" team in the defender trials and beaten by USA-34. 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".

*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.

*It was announced on November 27, 2003 that Alinghi would defend the America’s Cup in 2007 in Valencia, Spain, the first time since the original 1851 Isle of Wight race that the America’s Cup has been held in Europe. The deadline to challenge for the 32nd America’s Cup was April 29 2005, by which time 11 challengers from 9 countries had submitted formal entries. The challenger selection series, the Louis Vuitton Cup 2007, began in Valencia on April 16, 2007 and concluded on June 6 2007 after 122 matches. Emirates Team New Zealand won the challenger series 5-0 against Italians Luna Rossa and met Alinghi between June 23 and July 3, 2007. Alinghi successfully defended the America's Cup on July 3, 2007 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.

The 33rd America's Cup

The protocols for the 33rd America's Cup were released on July 5, 2007.

The Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC), on behalf of BMW Oracle Racing, lodged a complaint against the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG) in the New York Supreme Court pleading violations of the Deed of Gift. The deed specifies the New York Supreme Court is the arbiter of last resort in the event of a dispute. The suit alleged that the Spanish club, Club Náutico Español de Vela, did not meet the terms of the Deed of Gift as a legitimate yacht club that would qualify to be the Challenger of Record [http://www.ggyc.org/Verified_Complaint.PDF GGYC Complaint Against SNG] ] . This complaint was upheld by the court in late November 2007, confirming GGYC as the Challenger of Record and leading to the expectation of a "Deed of Gift Challenge."

SNG subsequently filed a motion to renew and reargue, and on 2008-03-17 Justice Cahn denied SNG's motion and entered a final order [ [http://www.ggyc.com/March%2017,%202008.pdf Disposition of Motion and Final Order] ] declaring CNEV’s challenge invalid and Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) the Challenger of Record.

SNG appealed the final order to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Department in Manhattan, which on July 30, 2008 reversed the lower court ruling, stating in a 3-2 decision that the Deed of Gift provision at issue was ambiguous. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/29/AR2008072901261_2.html]

America’s Cup challengers and defenders

The defending club only lost its title five times (1851, 1983, 1987, 1995, 2003).

Most wins by country

America’s Cup in the media

The America’s Cup series of races, particularly Dennis Conner’s quest to regain the Cup after losing it to Australia and winning it back in the subsequent series, was used as the inspiration for the 1992 film "Wind" starring Matthew Modine and Jennifer Grey.

Jimmy Buffett wrote his song "Take It Back" about the loss of the America's Cup to the Australians, and Dennis Conner's attempt to "take it back" to the United States where, according to the lyrics of the song, the singer felt it belonged.

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".

The America's Cup regatta in San Diego in 1995 provided a fictional plot background for the crime novel "Floaters", by Joseph Wambaugh.

ee also

*America's Cup Hall of Fame
*Louis Vuitton Cup
*Citizen Cup awarded in the defenders series for the America's Cup - not raced for since 1995
*2007 America's Cup
*Little Americas Cup
*“New” Little Americas Cup


External links

* [http://www.americascup.com Official website]
* [http://www.avistadegoogle.com/localizacion.php?id=78&z=15 America´s Cup Historic Locations google maps]
* [http://www.herreshoff.org/ Herreshoff Marine Museum / America’s Cup Hall of Fame]
* [http://www.jsjohnston.org/collection.html 1890s Yacht Photography of J.S. Johnston]
* [http://www.cupinfo.com CupInfo.com] Features on America's Cup History
* [http://www.clearpointweather.com America’s Cup High Definition Wind Modeling By ClearPoint Weather]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • America's Cup —   [ə merɪkəz kʌp], Segeln: bedeutendster Wettbewerb des Hochseesegelns um einen 1851 von Königin Viktoria von Großbritannien gestifteten Pokal, der zunächst »100 Guineas Cup« genannt wurde; von der amerikanischen Jacht »America« im gleichen Jahr… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • America's Cup — coupe remise en 1851 par la reine Victoria au voilier américain America qui avait remporté une course autour de l île de Wight. Depuis, le New York Yacht Club organise tous les 4 ans une épreuve de voile récompensée par cette coupe …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • America's Cup — America s Cup, the a sailing competition in which teams from the US, Australia, and other nations compete …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • America's Cup — Logo des America’s Cup USA 87, die Yacht der Mannschaft BMW Oracle Racing …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • America’s Cup — Logo des America’s Cup U …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • America's Cup — 1. an international yachting trophy, originally offered as the Hundred Guinea Cup in 1851, but renamed for the yacht America, winner of it that year. 2. the yacht race itself, the oldest and most prestigious event in international sailing, now… …   Universalium

  • America's Cup — /əmɛrɪkəz ˈkʌp/ (say uhmerikuhz kup) noun 1. a perpetual international challenge competition for 12 metre yachts. 2. the trophy awarded for winning this competition. {named after the schooner America, which won the trophy (originally called the… …   Australian English dictionary

  • America's Cup — Trophy Tro phy, n.; pl. {Trophies}. [F. troph[ e]e (cf. It. & Sp. trofeo), L. tropaeum, trophaeum, Gr. ?, strictly, a monument of the enemy s defeat, fr.? a turn, especially, a turning about of the enemy, a putting to flight or routing him, fr. ? …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • America's Cup — Coupe de l America Pour les articles homonymes, voir America et Copa América. La goélette America La Coupe de l A …   Wikipédia en Français

  • America's Cup — 1. an international yachting trophy, originally offered as the Hundred Guinea Cup in 1851, but renamed for the yacht America, winner of it that year. 2. the yacht race itself, the oldest and most prestigious event in international sailing, now… …   Useful english dictionary

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