America’s Cup History
(see also video in Briefing Room)
Friday, August 22nd 1851. America wins the £100 Cup in a race around the Isle of Wight… The syndicate from the New York Yacht Club donated the trophy as a challenge prize for “friendly competition between foreign countries.” It took 25 challenges and 132 years for a friendly nation to win a Match for America’s Cup. The Cup went to Australia in 1983, only to be won back by the USA in 1987. The first catamaran to sail for America’s Cup won easily on the water in 1988, but it took two years of lawsuits to decide that Dennis Conner’s cat, Stars and Stripes was the winner and that the San Diego Yacht Club still held the Cup.
More background, from Wikipedia…
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America’s Cup match races between two yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club who is the current holder of the America’s Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club which is challenging for the cup. The America’s Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sport.
The trophy was originally awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight which was won by the schooner America. The trophy was renamed the America’s Cup after the boat 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 yacht club wins the match then the stewardship of the cup is transferred to the challenging yacht club.
The Cup not only attracts the world’s top sailors and yacht designers but also the involvement of wealthy entrepreneurs and sponsors due to the history and prestige associated with the America’s Cup. It is not only a test of sailing skill, 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.