America's Cup

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This article is about the international yachting trophy. For other uses, see America's Cup (disambiguation).
America's Cup
The America's Cup.jpg
The America’s Cup trophy
Sport Sailing match race
Founded 1851
Most recent champion(s) United States Golden Gate Yacht Club
Most titles United States New York Yacht Club (25)
Official website americascup.com

The America's Cup, affectionately known as the "Auld Mug", is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two sailing yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging for the cup. The timing of each match is determined by an agreement between the defender and the challenger. The America's Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy.[1]

The trophy was originally awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was won by the schooner America. The trophy was renamed the America's Cup after the yacht and was donated to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) under the terms of the Deed of Gift, which made the cup available for perpetual international competition.

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 club wins the match, it gains stewardship of the cup.

The history and prestige associated with the America's Cup attracts not only the world's top sailors and yacht designers but also the involvement of wealthy entrepreneurs and sponsors. It is a test not only of sailing skill and boat and sail design, but also of fund-raising and management skills.

The trophy was held by the 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, represented by the yacht Australia II, ending the longest winning streak in the history of sport.[2]

From the first defense of the Cup in 1870 through the twentieth defense in 1967, there was always only one challenger. In 1970, for the first time, there were multiple challengers, so the NYYC agreed that the challengers could run a selection series with the winner becoming the official challenger and competing against the defender in the America's Cup match. Since 1983, Louis Vuitton has sponsored the Louis Vuitton Cup as a prize for the winner of the challenger selection series.

Early matches for the Cup were raced between yachts 65–90 ft (20–27 m) on the waterline owned by wealthy sportsmen. This culminated with the J-Class regattas of the 1930s. After World War II and almost twenty years without a challenge, the NYYC made changes to the Deed of Gift to allow smaller, less expensive 12-metre class yachts to compete; this class was used until it was replaced in 1990 by the International America’s Cup Class which was used until 2007.

After a long legal battle, the 2010 America's Cup was raced in 90 ft (27 m) lwl multihull yachts in a best-of-three "deed-of-gift" match in Valencia, Spain. The victorious Golden Gate Yacht Club then elected to race the 34th America's Cup in AC72 foiling, wing-sail catamarans. Golden Gate Yacht Club successfully defended the Cup. The 35th America's Cup match will be sailed in 62 ft foiling catamarans .

History[edit]

The Yacht "America" Winning the International Race, by Fitz Henry Lane, 1851

The Cup is an ornate sterling silver 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" (a guinea is an old monetary unit of one pound and one shilling, now £1.05). Today, the trophy is officially known as the "America's Cup" after the 1851 winning yacht, and is 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.

1851 America wins the Cup[edit]

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 3 May 1851.

On 22 August 1851, America raced against 15 yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron in the Club's annual 53-nautical-mile (98 km) regatta around the Isle of Wight. America won, finishing 8 minutes ahead of the closest rival. Apocryphally, Queen Victoria, who was watching at the finish line, was reported to have 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 the Deed of Gift of the America's Cup to the NYYC on 8 July 1857, specifying that it be held in trust as a perpetual challenge trophy to promote friendly competition among nations.

Defender Columbia, 1871

1870–1881 First challenges[edit]

No challenge to race for the Cup was issued until British railway tycoon 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 8 August 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 offered 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 to win the fourth and fifth races, thereby 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[10] (84 tons, 1881), representing the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club, suffered from lack of funds, unfinished build and a difficult delivery through the Erie Canal from Lake Ontario to New York. 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[edit]

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). Irish yacht designer John Beavor-Webb launched the challengers Genesta (1884) and Galatea (1885), which would define the British "plank-on-edge" design of a heavy, deep and narrow-keel hull, making for very stiff yachts ideal for the British breeze.[11] 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"[12] (lightweight, wide and shallow hull with centerboard). This design paradigm proved ideal for the light Yankee airs.[13]

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 protect the secret of her lines, which borrowed from American design. Both Volunteer and Thistle were completely unfurnished below decks to save weight.[14]

1889–1903 The Seawanhaka Rule[edit]

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's 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.

Challenger Valkyrie II, 1893

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 while she was crossing the Atlantic. Dunraven challenged again in 1893, pleading for a return to the longer 85 ft (26 m) 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 Vigilant himself and beat all his rivals in selection trials, and defended the Cup successfully from Valkyrie II.[15]

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.[16] 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: Defender used an aluminium topside riveted 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 deemed 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.[17] Henry "Hank" Coleman Haff, was inducted into America's Cup Hall of Fame in 2004 for his sailing of Defender in 1895 and bringing the cup back. At age 58, Hank Haff was the oldest cup winner in the history of the race.[18]

The climate was estranged until Scottish businessman 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.[19] The yachts increased yet again 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[20] 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 unrivaled performance because of her extremely long sailing waterline, but she was largely overpowered and 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 to successfully defend 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 his previous designs, the new defender Reliance remains 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.[21]

1914–1937 The Universal Rule[edit]

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 Ernest Nicholson for his fourth challenge, and got a superb design under the inauspicious shape of Shamrock IV, with a flat transom.[22] 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.[23] His last design for the cup, Resolute, was small, which earned significant time allowance over 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 subsequent race of the event.[24]

Harold Vanderbilt, Enterprise's 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 were added Lloyds' A1 scantling rules in order to ensure that the yachts would be seaworthy and evenly matched, given the Deed of Gift requirement for yachts to sail to the match on their "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.[25] The venue was moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where, 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 instruments, maneuvered too clumsily. The old 75-footers Resolute and Vanitie were rebuilt and converted to the J-Class to serve as trial horses. Enterprise's 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 (1,800 kg), and beat her opponent soundly.[26]

Lipton died in 1931, and English aviation industrialist Sir Thomas Sopwith bought Shamrock V with the intent of preparing the next challenge. To Nicholson's skills, he added 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 a minimum mast weight limit was set to 5,500 lb (2,500 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.[27]

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. A change in the America's Cup rules now allowed a contending yacht to be declared 30 days before the races, so both Endeavour and Endeavour II were shipped to Newport, where the RYS held selection series before declaring Endeavour II as the challenger. Meanwhile, 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, which 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.[28][29]

1956–1987 The Twelve-Metre Rule[edit]

President Kennedy and wife watching America's Cup, 1962

The J-class yachts from the 1930s 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 had passed since the last challenge, the NYYC looked for a cheaper alternative in order to restart interest in the Cup. In 1956 Henry Sears[30] led an effort to replace the J-class yachts with 12-metre class yachts, which are approximately 65 to 75 feet (20 to 23 m) in overall length.

The first post-war challenge was in 1958, again from the British. Briggs Cunningham, the inventor of the cunningham sail control device, as skipper with Sears as navigator led Columbia to victory against Sceptre, which was designed by David Boyd at Alexander Robertson and Sons Ltd (Yachtbuilders), for a Royal Yacht Squadron Syndicate, chaired by Hugh Goodson.

1962–1983 The Australian challengers[edit]

The first Australian challenge was in 1962, when Gretel lost to the NYYC's Weatherly, designed by Philip Rhodes.

A second Boyd/Robertson challenger, Sovereign, lost to the Olin Stephens–designed Constellation in 1964. In 1967, another Australian challenger, Dame Pattie, lost to the innovative Olin Stephens design Intrepid (which won again in 1970, to become the second yacht, after Columbia, to defend the Cup twice).

Defender Freedom, 1980

For the 1970 America's Cup, interest in challenging was so high that the NYYC allowed the Challenger of Record (the original yacht club presenting the challenge accepted for the match) to organize a regatta among multiple challengers with the winner being substituted as challenger and going on to the Cup match. This innovation has been used ever since, except for the default Deed of Gift matches in 1988 and 2010.

Alan Bond, a flamboyant and controversial Australian businessman, made three unsuccessful challenges between 1974 and 1980. In 1974 the Cup was successfully defended by Courageous, which successfully defended again in 1977, at which time she was skippered by Ted Turner. In 1980 the Cup was defended by Freedom.

1983 Australia II wins the Cup[edit]

Main article: 1983 America's Cup
The Winged keel of the victorious challenger Australia II, 1983

Bond returned in 1983 for a successful fourth challenge, complete with a symbolic golden wrench which he claimed would be used to unbolt the cup from its plinth, so that he could take it back to Australia. In 1983 there were seven challengers for the cup competing for the inaugural Louis Vuitton Cup, the winner of which would go on to the America's Cup match against the NYYC's yacht selected in their trials. Bond's yacht, Australia II, designed by Ben Lexcen, skippered by John Bertrand, and representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club, easily won the Louis Vuitton challenger series, and Dennis Conner in Liberty was selected for the Cup defense.

Sporting the now famous Boxing Kangaroo flag and the controversial Winged keel designed by Ben Lexcen, the hull of Australia II was kept under wraps between races and was subject to attempts by the NYYC to disqualify her. In the Cup races, the Australians got off to a bad start with equipment failures and false starts giving the defenders a head start. But it wasn't to be a repeat of the last 132 years with the Australians coming back to win the 1983 America's Cup 4–3 in a best-of-seven format. This was the first time the NYYC had lost the cup in 132 years and 26 challenges. Alan Bond joked that the cup would be renamed "The Australia's Cup".

1987 Technology and professionalism are increasingly important[edit]

Main article: 1987 America's Cup

For the first time since its inception the America's Cup was defended outside of the US off the coast of Fremantle, Western Australia, making it a truly international race. This was a new era for the cup which was now starting to see many other international challengers.

Representing the San Diego Yacht Club, Conner returned to win the 1987 America's Cup. His yacht Stars & Stripes 87 earned the right to challenge by winning the 1987 Louis Vuitton Cup against an unprecedented field of 13 challenger syndicates. In the America's Cup regatta he faced defender Iain Murray sailing Kookaburra III, who had defeated Alan Bond's Australia IV in the defender selection trials. Stars & Stripes 87 defeated Kookaburra III four races to nil.

Technology was now playing an increasing role in yacht design. The 1983 winner, Australia II, had sported the revolutionary 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 hull of fiberglass, rather than aluminum or wood.

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 other challengers demanded that core samples be taken from the plastic hull to show its thickness. At one press conference Dennis Conner asked, "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 challenge races. Chris Dickson, skipper of the Kiwi Magic (KZ 7), took the controversy in stride and with humor, and Conner has subsequently stated his regret over his comment.[31] New Zealand syndicate head Sir Michael Fay's comment was that core samples would be taken "over my dead body". Eventually some small holes were drilled to test the hull, and ultrasonic testing was done to rule out air pockets in the construction. The boat was found to be within class rules, and the issue was set aside. Fay ceremoniously lay down in front of the measurer before the samples were taken.

1988 The Mercury Bay Challenge[edit]

Main article: 1988 America's Cup

In 1987, soon after Conner had won back the Cup with Stars and Stripes 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 Deed-of-Gift challenge. Fay challenged with a gigantic yacht named New Zealand (KZ1) or the Big Boat, which with a 90-foot (27 m) waterline, was the largest single-masted yacht possible under the original rules of the cup trust deed. This was an unwelcome challenge to the San Diego Yacht Club, who wanted to continue to run Cup regattas using 12-metre yachts.[32] A legal battle ensued over the challenge, with Justice Carmen Ciparick of the New York State Supreme (trial) Court (which administers the Deed of Gift) ruling that Fay's challenge on behalf of Mercury Bay Boating Club (MBBC) was valid. The court ordered SDYC to accept it and negotiate mutually agreeable terms for a match, or to race under the default provisions of the Deed, or to 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 equal-length monohulls. Conner, however, left nothing to chance and commissioned a cutting-edge design with a wing sail, named—as his 12-metre 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, certainly not the "friendly competition between nations", envisaged in the Deed of Gift. Ciparick agreed and awarded New Zealand the Cup. However, Ciparick's decision was overturned on appeal and SDYC's win was reinstated. Fay then appealed to New York's highest court and lost. Thus SDYC successfully defended the Cup in what observers described as the most controversial Cup match to that point.[33] (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[edit]

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.

Defender SUI-100, 2007

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, 4–1.

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 run-up to the 1995 Cup was notable for the televised sinking of oneAustralia during the fourth round robin of the Louis Vuitton challenger selection series, with all hands escaping uninjured. The 1995 defender selection series also had the first mostly female (with one man) crew sailing the yacht USA-43, nicknamed "Mighty Mary".

On the 14th of March 1996, a man (Benjamin Peri Nathan; who was subsequently tried, convicted and jailed) entered the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's clubroom and damaged the America's Cup with a sledgehammer. 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. In 2003, an extra 20 cm was added to the cup's base to accommodate the names of future winners.

At Auckland in 1999–2000, Team New Zealand, led by Sir Peter Blake, and again skippered by Russell Coutts, defeated the Italian 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 final. This was the first America's Cup to be contested without an American challenger or defender.

America3's after successfully defending the America’s Cup in 1992

During the Twelve-Metre era, the New York Yacht Club, citing the Deed language that the Cup should be "perpetually a Challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries", had adopted several interpretive resolutions intended to strengthen nationality requirements. By 1980, these resolutions specified that besides being constructed in the country of the challenger or defender, a yacht had to be designed by and crewed by nationals of the country where the yacht club was located. Globalization made it increasingly impractical to enforce design nationality rules, and starting in 1984, the Royal Perth Yacht Club began relaxing this requirement. Numerous members of the New Zealand AC 2000 team became key members of the Swiss 2003 Alinghi challenge, led by biotechnology entrepreneur Ernesto Bertarelli. To satisfy the crew nationality requirements, New Zealand team members of Alinghi took up residence in Switzerland.

In 2003, several strong challengers vied for the right to sail for the cup in Auckland during the challenger selection series. Bertarelli's team representing the Swiss yacht club, Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), beat all her rivals in the Louis Vuitton Cup and in turn won the America's Cup 5–0. In doing so, Alinghi became the first European team in 152 years of the event’s history to win the Cup.

For the 2007 Cup, SNG rescinded all interpretive resolutions to the Deed, essentially leaving "constructed in country" as the only remaining nationality requirement. The 2007 defense of the cup was held in Valencia, Spain. This was the first time since the original 1851 Isle of Wight race that the America's Cup regatta had been held in Europe, or in a country different from that of the defender (necessary because Switzerland, despite having huge lakes and a national passion for sailing, does not border a "sea or arm of the sea" as specified in the Deed). Eleven challenging yacht clubs from 9 countries submitted formal entries. The challenger selection series, the Louis Vuitton Cup 2007, ran from 16 April to 6 June 2007. Emirates Team New Zealand won the challenger series finale 5–0 against Italians Luna Rossa and met Alinghi between 23 June and 3 July 2007. Ernesto Bertarelli's Team- Alinghi successfully defended the America's Cup 5–2, under the colors of SNG.

2010 The Golden Gate Challenge[edit]

Successful challenger USA-17, 2010
Main article: 2010 America's Cup

After Société Nautique de Genève 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, there was criticism over its terms, with some teams and yacht clubs calling it the worst protocol in the history of the event.[34] Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) then filed its own challenge for the Cup and also filed a court case asking that CNEV be removed as being unqualified under the Deed of Gift, and that GGYC be named the challenger, being the first club to file a conforming challenge.[35]

There followed a long and acrimonious legal battle,[36] with the New York Court of Appeals finally deciding on 2 April 2009 that CNEV did not qualify as valid challenger, and that the GGYC was thus the rightful challenger.[37]

Since the two parties were unable to agree otherwise, the match took place as a one-on-one Deed of Gift match[nb 1] 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 race series in Valencia, Spain from 8 to 14 February 2010. The rigid wing sail of the challenging trimaran USA-17 provided a decisive advantage, and it won the 2010 America's Cup 2–0.[38][39][40][41]

2013 The AC72 rule[edit]

Main article: 2013 America's Cup
Defender Oracle Team USA

The Challenger of Record for the 34th America's Cup was Club Nautico di Roma, whose team Mascalzone Latino had competed in the challenger selection series for the 2007 America's Cup.[42][43] In September, 2010, GGYC and Club Nautico di Roma announced the protocol for AC34, scheduling the match for 2013 in a new class of boat, the AC72, a wing-sailed catamaran. Paralleling the "Acts" of the 32nd America's Cup—a series of preliminary events in different venues leading-up to the actual event—a new series, the America's Cup World Series was to be run using AC45 class boats (smaller one-design versions of the AC72s), in various world venues in 2011 and 2012.[44][45]

On 12 May 2011, Club Nautico di Roma withdrew from the competition, citing challenges in raising sufficient funds to field a competitive team.[46][47] As the second yacht club to file a challenge, the Royal Swedish Yacht Club assumed the duties of the challenger.[48]

Rumors of stable hydrofoiling of an AC72 were confirmed when Emirates Team New Zealand's AC72 yacht Aotearoa was seen to be sailing on hydrofoils in August, 2012. This triggered a technology race in foil development and control.[49] The Royal New Zealand Yacht Club won the right to sail in the America's Cup match easily beating the Italian and Swedish challengers in the Louis Vuitton Cup. The resulting match between the USA and NZ was the longest on record both in calendar time, and the number of races, with the Golden Gate Yacht Club staging an improbable come-from-behind victory, winning eight races in a row to defend the Cup with nine points to New Zealand's eight.

35th America's Cup (future event)[edit]

Oracle Team USA is the defender of the 35th America's Cup. It is scheduled to take place sometime during 2017. Protocol for the 35th America's Cup is currently being negotiated with the Challenger of Record, Team Australia and the Hamilton Island Yacht Club.[50][51]

Venue[edit]

In June 2014 media reported the venue of the 34th America's Cup San Francisco is no longer considered to host the 35th sailing regatta. San Diego, Chicago and Bermuda are still in the running.[52] In July 2014, Americascup.com reported the venue choices were shortlisted to Bermuda and San Diego, with Chicago being dropped from the running.[53]

Challenger of Record[edit]

On October 1, 2013, Australia's Hamilton Island Yacht Club[54] was confirmed as the "Challenger of Record" for the 35th America's Cup.[55] Only moments after the win by USA team Oracle, Hamilton Island Yacht Club (HIYC), located on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia issued its challenge for the 35th America’s Cup. The HIYC challenge has been accepted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which remains the Defender and Trustee of the world’s oldest international sporting trophy.[56] Australian billionaire Bob Oatley was said to be financially backing the Hamilton Island Yacht Club as the Challenger of Record for the 35th America's Cup.[57] For three decades HIYC has run the "Hamilton Island Race Week", which has become the largest annual regatta in Australia. HIYC is led by Australian winemaker and sailing legend Bob Oatley, whose series of yachts named Wild Oats have dominated ocean racing in Australia for years, including having won six of the last eight Sydney-Hobart races. An Australian team led by Mr. Oatley won the last Admiral’s Cup, widely regarded as the world’s top prize in ocean racing. The challenge was filed by Mr. Oatley and his son, Sandy, on behalf of HIYC shortly after ORACLE TEAM USA won the thrilling deciding final race in the 34th America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand on San Francisco Bay on September 25.

Potential Challengers[edit]

Ben Ainslie, ORACLE TEAM USA's tactician at the 2013 America's Cup, has expressed serious interest in challenging his former employers' with his own team based out of the United Kingdom if sufficient funds can be found to support the effort.[58]

In an interview on RadioLIVE on 8 June the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key referred to the new America's Cup rules as "Mickey Mouse" and said the government would not help fund a challenge. In a followup interview with Grant Dalton the same day Dalton said that the team's knowledge of the 62 ft cat was far more advanced than at the same stage with the AC72. He announced that Team NZ has secured the services of the designer who fitted the servo to the Team Oracle USA AC72 in the last America's Cup.[59] On 25 June 2014 Team New Zealand confirmed their intention to challenge in a media statement as they had gained sufficient private financial backing from private sources such as Sir Stephen Tindall without government assistance.[60] Speaking on RadioLIVE government minister Steven Joyce said he did not rule out a New Zealand government contribution after the election as the government's previous investments of $37 million NZ had yielded dividends of about $87 million NZ in the previous challenge.[61]

Rule changes[edit]

On June 5 it was announced in New Zealand media that the contest will be sailed in 62 feet foiling catamarans. No venue has yet been announced. The entry fee which must be paid by the end of June is $3 million. The rules have been changed so that only Team Oracle USA may build two boats and challengers only one each. The holder, Team USA will sail in some stages of the challengers' series.[62][63] Only 2 of the crew of 8 must be from the boat's sponsor nation. The rules specify the size of each sailor which must average 87.5 kg. Team New Zealand's manager has been in Europe seeking sponsorship but without a named venue it is unlikely Team NZ will enter a boat, though it is expected that most successful crews will be dominated by kiwi sailors. The neutral International adjudicating yachting panel has been dropped in favour of a 3 man panel appointed by the defender. In the last America's Cup, the defender, Team Oracle USA was penalized for cheating in the build up 45 ft series by the neutral International Panel. Gino Morelli one of the design team for the AC62 said the sail plan cannot be fully designed until the venue is known. Only team Oracle USA know the venue and have not released the information.

Challengers and defenders[edit]

Challengers and defenders
Rule Year Venue Defending club Defender Challenging club Challenger Score
Fleet racing
1851 Isle of Wight United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom Royal Thames Yacht Club James Lloyd Ashbury, Cambria 1–0
Schooner
match
1871 New York City United States New York Yacht Club Franklin Osgood, Columbia (2–1) and
William Proctor Douglas, Sappho (2–0)
United Kingdom 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 Richard 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 United Kingdom Royal Yacht Squadron Sir Richard Sutton, Genesta 2–0
1886 New York City United States New York Yacht Club Charles Jackson Paine, Mayflower United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom Royal Ulster Yacht Club Sir Thomas Lipton, Shamrock IV 3–2
Universal
J-Class
1930 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Harold S. Vanderbilt syndicate, Enterprise United Kingdom Royal Ulster Yacht Club Sir Thomas Lipton, Shamrock V 4–0
1934 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Harold S. Vanderbilt syndicate, Rainbow United Kingdom Royal Yacht Squadron Sir Thomas Sopwith, Endeavour 4–2
1937 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Harold S. Vanderbilt, Ranger United Kingdom Royal Yacht Squadron Sir Thomas Sopwith, Endeavour II 4–0
IYRU 12mR
1958 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Henry Sears, Columbia United Kingdom 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 United Kingdom Royal Thames Yacht Club Anthony Boyden, Sovereign 4–0
1967 Newport United States New York Yacht Club William Justice Strawbridge syndicate, Intrepid Australia Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Emile Christenson, Dame Pattie 4–0
1970 Newport United States New York Yacht Club William Justice Strawbridge syndicate, Intrepid Australia Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Sir Frank Packer, Gretel II 4–1
1974 Newport United States New York Yacht Club Robert Willis 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, NZL-32/Black Magic 0–5
2000 Auckland New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Team New Zealand, NZL-60 Italy Yacht Club Punta Ala Prada Challenge, Luna Rossa 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 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 Switzerland Société Nautique de Genève Alinghi, Alinghi 5 United States Golden Gate Yacht Club BMW Oracle Racing, USA-17 0–2
AC72 2013 San Francisco United States Golden Gate Yacht Club Oracle Team USA, Oracle Team USA 17 New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Emirates Team New Zealand, Aotearoa 9–8[nb 2]
AC62 2017 United States Golden Gate Yacht Club Australia Hamilton Island Yacht Club (challenger of record)

All-time finals records of Clubs that have won the Cup[edit]

United States New York Yacht Club: 25–1
United States San Diego Yacht Club: 3–1
New Zealand Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron: 2–3
Australia Royal Perth Yacht Club: 1–3
Switzerland Société Nautique de Genève: 2–1
United States Golden Gate Yacht Club: 2–0

In the media[edit]

In 1928 Goodyear chairman Paul W. Litchfield began a tradition of naming the company's blimps after America's Cup yachts, including America, Puritan, Mayflower, Volunteer, Vigilant, Defender, Reliance, Resolute, Enterprise, Rainbow, Ranger, Columbia and Stars & Stripes.[66]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 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 (37 km) 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 (37 km) 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." See also: Deed of Gift on Wikisource.
  2. ^ Oracle Team USA, representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club, started the 2013 first-to-win-nine-races match with a two-race deficit due to a penalty applied for modifications to the team's AC45-class yachts during the America's Cup World Series (ACWS). The modifications were held to be an intentional violation of the AC45 one-design rules, and as the ACWS was deemed to be a part of the America's Cup event, a penalty was assessed against Oracle Team USA in the America's Cup Match.[64][65]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]