After three years of build up with Land Rover BAR we are now in the middle of the America’s Cup races, trying to bring the cup home to Britain for the first time ever. Not as widely know as it deserves, let’s explore what the America’s cup is all about.
It’s sailing’s equivalent of Formula one, but more special. Only four nations have won the Cup in the past 166 years. It involves designing and developing the fastest boat to go round the race course only to give the best sailors in the world a chance of actually bringing it home.
How it started
A couple of business guys sailed their yacht “America” across the Atlantic to not just take part but win in the English race around the Isle of Wight in 1851. They took the cup, then renamed America’s Cup, back to the US and it would stay there for over hundred years. Queen Victoria was watching when America crossed the finish line in first place and prompt asked who was in second place. Her attendant replied the now famous America’s Cup saying:
“Your majesty, there is no second.”
Winner takes it all
What makes the America’s Cup unique is the Deed of Gift. Since its inception in 1887, the deed has been the fundamental rule of each Cup match since. It specifies the winner takes it all approach.
This means that once you’ve won the Cup, you are free to choose whatever boat, venue and format as you see fit. This plays in the favour of the defender of the Cup and is what really makes it so difficult to win it, as you have to defeat the defender at his own game.
The Foiling Future
The Cup has always been the place for the most advanced developments, but in 2008 the sport made a massive leap. After a legal dispute, the match between Oracle and Alinghi left the sailing world flabbergasted.
It is then that a new era of sailing started, focussing on commercial developments and very thrilling and exciting sailing. The 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco showed a new way of sailing with foiling catamerans and the greatest comeback in sports of all times.
In the 35th America’s Cup, playing out in May and June 2017 in Bermuda, the yachts are now looking for 100 percent flytime, i.e. flying round the race course on the foils, with the hulls not touching the water once.
The most cutting edge technologies, the best sailors in the world and a great format now makes the America’s Cup one of the most exciting and thrilling sports to watch.