Little Bits of History

America’s Cup

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 22, 2011

America's Cup

August 22, 1851: The first America’s Cup is won when the team from New York City Yacht Club beats the British entry from the Royal Yacht Squadron. This started the most famous regatta race. The America’s Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sports predating the Modern Olympics by 45 years and running 9 challenges prior to the start of the new Olympics. The trophy is named for the first winning schooner, America, not the country.

After winning the race, the New York Yacht Club sold the schooner and returned to the US with the trophy they has wrested from the most powerful seafaring country in the world. And the old Mother Country. The winning crew donated the Cup to the New York Yacht Club under a Deed of Gift, which stated that the trophy was to be “a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations.”

This is a challenged based contest where the winner makes the rules and hosts the event. It took 132 years for a challenger to be able to win the race and take the trophy home. When that finally happened, the new country was also the new defender. The race is not only to the swift, but is also a matter of the design of the boat and the skill of the 17-member crew. Sailing the course is important, but doing so while blocking the opposing ship is also essential to securing the win.

The outcome is based on the best of nine races with two boats and their crews competing. Crews wishing to challenge the defender of the trophy must first meet all the requirements as listed in the Deed of Gift. They compete for the Louis Vuitton Cup (since 1983). The winner of that race becomes the challenger for the America’s Cup. The US has won 28 times while New Zealand, Australia, and Switzerland are the only other countries that have won. The 2007 race will have Switzerland defending against the New Zealand team who won the Louis Vuitton Cup. It is the same match up from the last race run in 2003.

“In the America’s Cup, you can’t go to your backup quarterback. You can’t juggle your batting order. You can’t fire the manager either, although Iain Murray might not be safe if George Steinbrenner were the principal owner of the Kookaburra III.” – Dave Anderson

“Getting the America’s Cup back is one of the biggest issues facing New Zealand sport and industry.” – Grant Dalton

“A ship is always referred to as ‘she’ because it costs so much to keep one in paint and powder.” – Chester W. Nimitz

“Seize, keep, and exploit the initiative.” – John R. Elting

Also on this day:
“Excuse My Dust” – In 1893, Dorothy Parker was born.
The Temperature at which Paper Burns – In 1920, Ray Bradbury was born.

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One Response

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  1. Bobby Dias said, on August 22, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Somehow the young and wealthy always find a way to do something more daring- and useless to everybody else on Earth!

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