he America's Cup, first awarded to its namesake, the schooner
America, in the mid-19th century, is the most sought-after
trophy in sailboat racing.
he Americas Cup, dating from 1851, is the
oldest trophy in international sport and is considered yacht racings
Although there is no prize money awarded
to the winner, racing syndicates spend tens of millions of dollars
mounting campaigns to either defend or challenge for the Americas
Cup and prove their technological supremacy at sea.
Because of the enormous cost and preparation required, the event
is held approximately every three years. That rule of thumb is
being broken this go-round, however. Americas Cup XXX is
scheduled for early in the year 2000 in Auckland, New Zealand,
with the challenger selection trials to begin in late 1999.
The regatta is governed by three sets of rules, the Americas Cup Deed of Gift, the
Protocol for Americas
Cup XXX and the Conditions of Match.
The Deed of Gift, written more than 100 years ago, established
the event and governs it to this day. The protocolsigned
April 23, 1996, by representatives of the defender Royal New Zealand
Yacht Squadron and challenger of record New York Yacht Clubsets
down the rules for conducting the 30th defense of the Cup. The
Conditions of Match, to be issued at least a year prior to the
final match, will establish the specific dates of the races, and
address a number techical issues relative to conducting the races.
100 Guinea Cup
Originally known as the 100 Guinea
Cup, the trophy became the namesake of New York Yacht Clubs
rakish schooner America, which won the trophy after defeating
14 British yachts in the All Nations Race at Cowes, Isle of
Wight, on August 22, 1851. The race was held in conjunction with
Prince Alberts Great London Exhibition of 1851, which paid
tribute to the technological achievements of the time.
That first race was to showcase a countrys ability to
build technologically superiori.e., fastsailing vessels,
which were critical to each nations economy and the ability
to transport cargo across the seas. That tradition of technological
superiority remains as the basis for the Americas Cup. Ultimately,
it is a race between sailboats. But because of the highly competitive
nature of the event, it also requires superior seamanship to win
the Americas Cup.
132-year Winning Streak
To encourage friendly competition
among foreign countries, George L. Schyler, the the sole surviving
owner of the America syndicate, assigned the Americas
Cup to New York Yacht Club through a Deed
of Gift. New York YC subsequently announced it would accept
challenges for the Americas Cup from any organized yacht club
of a foreign nation.
The club successfully defended the Americas Cup 24 times
over a span of 132 years, ultimately losing the ornate Victorian
ewer to Western Australias Royal Perth Yacht Club in 1983.
During that period, such internationally renowned people as
Sir Thomas Lipton, Cornelius and Harold Vanderbilt, William Rockfeller,
Sir T.O.M. Sopwith and Ted Turner vied for the Auld Mug,
as it is affectionately known.
Dennis Conner, who has won the Americas
Cup outright a record three times and participated in a fourth winning
campaign, was at the helm of the 12-meter Liberty in the
1983 loss to Alan Bonds Australia |. Conner staged
a remarkable comeback to claim the Cup in 1987 and return it to
the United States, this time under the San Diego Yacht Club burgee.
San Diego YC defended the Cup three times before losing it to
New Zealands Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in 1995. SDYCs
first defense, the so-called catamaran defense, came
at the expense of a tarnished image for the Cup. After quickly
dispatching New Zealander Michael Fays 133-foot big
boat on the water, it took a lengthy year-and-a-half year
battle in the New York Supreme Court against New Zealands
Mercury Bay Boating Club before the Cup was officially retained
by the San Diego YC.
In 1992, newcomer Bill Kochs
America³ defeated Italian Raul Gardinis Il
Moro di Venezia, 4-1, marking the debut of the International
Americas Cup Class yacht. But San Diegos third defense
was not successful. Not even the venerable Dennis Conner, with veteran
Paul Cayard at the helm, could stem the New Zealand tide. The Kiwis
won by a stunning 5-0 margin to take the Cup Down Under
for only the second time in its 144-year history.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron is now the keeper of the
Cup, and will defend it in early 2000. A formidible fleet of challengers
is lining up to take it away, including the AmericaOne challenge
representing San Franciscos St. Francis Yacht Club.
The challenging clubs will conduct a months-long series of races
amongst themselves to determine which one will face New Zealand
in the showdown for the Americas Cup. Challenger of Record
New York Yacht Club formed the Americas Cup Challenger Association
Inc. to conduct the challenger trials, which are scheduled to
begin in late 1999 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Please see the America's
Cup Fact Sheet for dates and details of America's Cup
||100 Guinea Cup
||134 ounces of silver-plated
||R. & G. Garrard, Queens
jewelers, London, circa 1848
||100 guineas (about £100
|The cup was made for Englands
Royal Yacht Squadron as a yacht racing trophy. It was orginally
dubbed the 100 Guinea Cup, as that was its worth. A guinea
was roughly equivalent to one British pound (£) sterling.
|A seven-inch base was added
to the Americas Cup in 1958 to accommodate the additional
|* Britannia metal is an
alloy, similar to pewter.
Solutions | Telcordia
New Zealand | Charles
Schwab | Global
Integrity | Intesa
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