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History of the America's Cup
Brownielocks and The 3 Bears
The History of the
years, American yachtsmen successfully defended this Cup against all challengers
from countries all over the world. They first competed in schooners and then
later in sloops (single-masted boats). From 1930-1937 the American defending
boats were all "J" boats, averaging 130 feet in length and masts
rising as high as 155 feet above the water. But, by the end of WWII (1939-1945)
it became obvious that the size requirements were going to have to be reduced if
this competition were to survive. From 1958 - 1987 the
"12-Meter" boats (65 feet) raced. The end of the "J"
boat era was (and still is for many) mourned by yachting enthusiasts.
race is held every 3 or 4 years. It is the longest-running international
sporting event in the world. It is held in the country that is the current
holder of the Cup. Because the United States held the cup for over a
century, the contest was always held in the USA, with the cup located at the New
York Yacht Club. But the last time the contest was held, it was won by New
Zealand in 1995.
(Auckland, claims to host more yachting races
per capita than any other city in the world.)
As I understand it, Australia was suppose to host New Zealand's defense of
the Cup from October 1999 through March 2000; but, with the 2000 Summer Olympics
and The Cup Jubilee in 2001, the America's Cup race is now scheduled to
begin Saturday, February 15, 2003.
America's Cup Jubilee, will be held this August 19-25, 2001 to celebrate the
150th Anniversary of the America's Cup. This International Sailing Event will
take place in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, the location of the first America's
Cup Challenge in 1851, from Saturday 18th August through to Saturday 25th
August. This will be a week of racing, nostalgia, celebration, parties, old
friends getting together and also set the tone for the upcoming America's
Cup preparation in 2003.
did it all begin?
originally called, "The Guinea Cup" by the Royal Yacht Squadron of
Great Britain, which invited the Americans to send a boat to compete in a race
around the Isle of Wight. This was held in conjunction with the International
Exposition going on in London's Crystal Palace in 1851. So...
Americans, not afraid of a challenge said, "Sure."
:) It was actually John C. Stevens, Commodore of the New York Yacht
Club who agreed to race. He formed a syndicate to finance the building of
a new yacht with the latest technology to take on the world. On
August 22nd 1851, at exactly 1000, a gun fired by the Royal Yacht Squadron
signaled the start of a race that would change the history of yachting.
boat was designed by by George Steers and built by William H. Brown. It
was a 100-foot schooner and named, "America." Her start wasn't
impressive in the 53-mile course. But like the turtle and the hare,
well, by the end of the race she ended up so far ahead of all the other
competitors that it triggered this legendary conversation:
first?" Queen Victoria asked her attendant when one solitary boat could be
seen on the horizon through her binoculars.
"The 'America' ", replied her attendant.
"Then who is second?" the queen asked.
"Your Majesty," came the attendant's response, "There is no
black schooner 'America' 's overwhelming victory heralded the beginning of the
modern age of yacht racing and the America's Cup tradition.
are familiar with the competiton of major league baseball in the US, well it
works like that.
are two leagues = The Challengers
and The Defenders.
compete against each other in the pre-season. But once the regular season
begins, the Challengers
only compete against other Challengers and the Defenders
only compete against other Defenders.
Winner of the Challengers
then competes against the winner of the Defenders.
how Craig Peploe, Manager of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (that
currently has the Cup) explained it to me:
location is always in the country of the last winner of the cup, as I said
earlier. However, now we've had some upsets by the Australians and New
Zealanders a few times, and America's dominance is over. In 1983, a boat named
'Australia II' owned by the Royal Perth Yacht Club defeated the boat, 'Liberty'
owned by the New York Yacht Club, in waters off Newport, Rhode Island. And so
the cup sailed down under for it's new home.
awesome defeat over the United States after all these years by the Australians
just caused an international explosion in the Cup race. In the past, the
number of competitors was rather limited (after all how many can afford the
hundreds to millions of dollars to build these boats?) to around 10 countries.
Today, countries like France, Great Britain, Italy, New Zealand, Australia,
Sweden and Japan have declared Cup challenges.
viewing of the race has grown tremendously through the years also. The
biggest boost comes from television sports networks such as ESPN, as well as
other television stations throughout the world, including CNN Sports. But
ESPN since 1990 has broadcast the race LIVE!
the IACC (International America's Cup Class) requires that all competitive boats
meet a specific rule or mathematical formula when they are built. The rule
takes into account the boat's length, sail area and displacement. It's the
job of the boat designers to come up with the best boat possible that meets all
also study the wind, water temperatures, sea and weather conditions of the area
of the upcoming race to help gain an edge on the competitors also.
Cup Most Famous Good Sport
the Royal Ulster Yacht Club of Belfast, Ireland, was Sir Thomas Lipton, who was
the only challenger from 1899 to 1930. He brought 6 different yachts, all were
named 'Shamrock' by the way, to the competition. Every time he lost!
Finally, in 1930, at the age of 82, he was presented with a gold cup made by
Tiffany & Company in honor of his five noble challenges. He was dubbed
the "Gamest Loser in the World of Sport."
About the "Cup"
goes to say that if the America's Cup is the oldest international sports
competition in the world, then that makes the CUP the oldest international
trophy in the world.
originally called the "The Hundred Guinea Cup" after the original name
of the race. It was renamed the "America's" cup after the name of the
boat that won the race by America.
commissioned by the Royal Yacht Club of Cowes, England, which asked Garrards of
London to design a Victorian ewer (aka pitcher) from 134 ounces of silver with a
fancy, elaborate handle and immense Victorian decoration. The result
was a trophy 27" high, weighing 16 lbs., and originally cost 100 guineas or
$500. Today, the value of the cup is $250,000. The bell-shaped bottom was
added in 1958.
cup's home for many years was in the New York Yacht Club. In 1983, it went
to Australia. Then in 1987, 1988 and 1993 the United States were victorious and
brought it back to it's US home at the NY Yacht Club. But....
1995, as we all know, Australia won and the cup is down under until 2003, when
the results of it's next home are still unknown.
in March 14, 1997, a New Zealand native Maori attacked the cup in its display
case at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Club Squadron in Auckland. He bashed it over
and over with a sledgehammer causing a lot of damage on the 1850 trophy.
Why did he do it? It seems it was a political statement because the Maori
people make up 15% of New Zealand's population and are among the poorest. They
have a number of grievances against the country and it's government. The cup was
sent to the original maker and has been fully restored. Amazing!
the United States won this cup for over a century, ever wonder who came in
second? I did. :) Since our motto, "Where Things are Almost
Just Right" I felt that would be interesting.
Below is a chart of defending champions against competitors since 1851.
and The Losers
1851 - 2007
Countess of Dufferin
Moro di Venezia
read several websites including those I've linked to here.
"Holidays and Symbols, 2nd Edition."
by Sue Ellen Thompson
Omnigraphics © 2000
Brailey, New Zealand
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron
Craig Peploe, General Manager
Jim Marshal, "The
Sailing Company.com" for informing us of a few errors
and making our site just right! :)
Midi is "Sailing,
Sailing" - Kid's Tune
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