Americas Cup

The Americas Cup is an ornate sterling silver bottomless trophy that is passed to the winner of the yacht match races known today as the America’s Cup races that are held about every four years; it holds a claim to fame as the oldest active trophy for international sport. Individual sailing yachts, two at a time, race on behalf of sponsoring yacht clubs, and the Americas Cup is awarded to and held by the club of the winning yacht. The craft representing the club holding the cup is known as the defender.  Any opposing yacht is known as the challenger. More than an exciting sporting event, Americas Cup promotes an environmentally responsible experience, hosting their events with as little impact on the environment as possible and promoting the values of minimizing waste and pollution, while raising awareness of saving energy and sustainable traveling options.

Americas Cup History

Americas Cup History
Americas Cup History  Image: jeanfrancois beausejour (flickr)

Before the Americas Cup received its current name, it was standard trophy purchased by the First Marquess of Anglesey for the Royal Yacht Squadron 1851 Annual Regatta, which followed a path around the Isle of Wight; it was known as the “R. Y. S. £100 Cup.” Submitted by the newly established New York Yacht Club (NYYC), the freshly designed schooner, America, raced in the regatta and won the cup; it then became officially known as America’s Cup. Several years later, the trophy was donated to the NYYC under the law of the Deed of Gift of the America’s Cup, wherein is stated the stipulation that the Cup be used and exchanged in friendly international challenges and competitions of sailing yacht races. More than ten years later, the first challenge was placed and accepted. The British schooner, Cambria, entered the cup race in New York City in August of the year 1870; NYYC maintained ownership of the trophy.  It was 132 years and 26 races later before NYYC lost the cup, 1983, and the challenger was Australia II of the Royal Perth Yacht Club, an event which really brought Americas Cup onto the international scene. Since that time, the cup has transferred hands via many challenges and will continue to see many more exchanges in the future.

Americas Cup Dates

Americas Cup Dates
Americas Cup Dates  Image: hdreisler (flickr)

The cup was originally awarded in 1851, at the Royal Yacht Squadron Annual Regatta in England, at which time it journeyed to America and was donated to the NYYC, where it remained until 1983.  The first challenges for the cup took place in the years between 1870 and 1881, successfully defended by a selection of yachts of various designs hosted by the NYYC. Because of some discrepancies in three failed challenges from the Canadians, the Deed of Gift was altered in 1881 to specify requirements of accepting challenges only from yacht clubs situated on the sea. In the years following, many changes on the Gift of Deed specifications, regarding yacht designs and measurements as well as challenge acceptance rules.  In 2010, the first court case was brought up against a disputed challenge that breached the rules of the Gift of Deed and was therefore unqualified; the successful challenger following this settled dispute was the USA-17 of the Golden Gate Yacht Club. Beginning in 2011, races are held all over the world, culminating in the actual race for the cup in San Francisco in 2013. 

Americas Cup Winners

Americas Cup Winners
Americas Cup Winners  Image: modernrockstar (flickr)

Americas Cup winners include competitors and clubs from four countries from around the globe. The first and longest holder of the cup was the New York Yacht Club for 132 years. It was then awarded to the Royal Perth Yacht Club, after which it was recaptured by the San Diego Yacht Club. The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron won the coveted trophy in 2000.  In 2007, the Societe Nautique de Geneve achieved glory and took the cup to Spain, and in a DOG match, the Golden Gate Yacht Club took the prize back to America.

Louis Vuitton Cup

Louis Vuitton Cup
Louis Vuitton Cup  Image: chatani (flickr)

Because challengers for Americas Cup came in multiples for the first time in 1970, another challengers’ competition was established to decide which craft would become the official challenger of each of the Americas Cup race, eliminating all but the most skilled and fastest challenger. Thirteen years later, in 1983 and since then, Louis Vuitton has sponsored these races with a trophy awarded to the winning challenger, prompting the series to be name the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Top image: Oracle EMEA PR (flickr)

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