America's Cup

From Academic Kids

Missing image
The America's Cup trophy

The America's Cup is the most famous and most prestigious trophy in the sport of yachting, and the oldest active trophy in international sports, predating the FA Cup by two decades and the Modern Olympics by 45 years. The sport attracts top sailors and yacht designers because of its long history and prestige as the 'Holy Grail' of yachting. Although the most salient aspect of the regatta is its yacht races, it is also a test of boat design, sail design, fundraising, and managing people.

The America's Cup regatta is a challenge-driven yacht series that involves match racing (a duel between two boats) and, recently, fleet-racing (racing with three or more boats). Since 1992 match, the regatta has been sailed with the International America's Cup Class sloop, a monohull boat that has an average length of about 75-feet. Any challenger who meets the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift, which governs the regatta, has the right to challenge the yacht club that holds the Cup. If the challenging team wins the cup, the cup's ownership is transferred from the defender's yacht club to the winning team's yacht club. If there is more than one challenger, the challengers compete for the right to challenge the Cup. Since 1995, the final Cup match has been a best of nine series.



The Cup is an ornate silver bottomless ewer, crafted in 1848 by Garrards of London. The trophy is inscribed with names of the yachts that competed in the regatta's matches. Bases matching the silver cup were added in 1958 and in 2003 to accomodate more names. The cup is one of three or six that were made as off-the-shelf trophies. A member of the Royal Yacht Squadron bought one for the Royal Yacht Squadron's 1851 Annual Regatta around the Isle of Wight. It was originally known by the British as the One Hundred Sovereign Cup and as the One Hundred Guineas Cup, in error, by the American syndicate that won it.

The regatta's origins date back to August 22, 1851 when the 30.86 m schooner-yacht America owned by a syndicate that represented the New York Yacht Club, raced 15 yachts representing the Royal Yacht Squadron around the Isle of Wight. America won by 20 minutes. The syndicate which owned the America donated the Cup through a Deed of Gift to the New York Yacht Club on July 8, 1857. The trophy would be held in trust as a 'challenge' trophy to promote friendly competition between nations.

Stung by this blow to contemporary perception of invincible British sea power, a succession of British syndicates attempted to win back the cup. The New York Yacht Club remained unbeaten for 25 challenges over 113 years, the longest winning streak in the history of sport. The matches were held in the vicinity of New York City from 1870 to 1920; then the races were sailed off Newport, Rhode Island for the rest of the NYYC's reign, from 1930 to 1983.

One of the most famous and determined challengers was Irish tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton, who mounted five challenges between 1899 and 1930, all in yachts named Shamrock. One of Lipton's motivations for making so many challenges was the publicity that the racing generated for his Lipton Tea company, though his original entry was at the personal request of the Prince of Wales in hopes of repairing trans-Atlantic ill-will generated by a contentious earlier challenger. Lipton was preparing for his sixth challenge when he died in 1931. The yachts used during the Lipton era, were very large sailing sloops; for example, "Shamrock V", still sailing today, measures 120 feet long.

After the Second World War, much smaller 12 metre class of yachts were selected as the class of choice. 12 metre class yachts measures from approximately 44 feet to 55 feet. The NYYC's unbeaten streak continued in eight more defences, running from 1958 to 1980. Alan Bond, a flamboyant and controversial Australian businessman made three challenges for the cup between 1974 and 1980, failing all three times, including a loss to Ted Turner in 1977, who skippered Courageous. He returned in 1983 with a golden spanner which he claimed would be used to unbolt the cup from its plinth, so he could take it home.

In 1983 there were six foreign challengers for the cup. Bond's campaign, representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club, won the elimination series for the 'right to challenge' the NYYC, the prize for which was the Louis Vuitton Cup. In the challenger series, Bond's Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand and designed by Ben Lexcen won easily. In a stunning, come-from-behind, win the Australians won the America's Cup in a seven-race match 4-3 to break the 132-year winning streak.

Beaten skipper Dennis Conner won the Cup back four years later, with the yacht Stars & Stripes representing the San Diego Yacht Club, but had to fend off an unprecedented 13 challenger syndicates to do it. Bond's syndicate lost the Defender series and did not race in the final.

Technology was now playing an increasing role in the yacht design. The 1983 winner, Australia II, had sported an innovative but controversial "winged" keel, and the New Zealand boat that Conner had beaten in the Louis Vuitton final in Fremantle was the first 12-metre to have a fibreglass hull construction rather than aluminium. The New Zealand syndicate had to fight off legal challenges from Conner's team who were demanding that 'core samples' be taken from the plastic hull (requiring the drilling of holes in the yacht hull) to prove that it met class specifications.

Missing image
1988 Stars & Stripes and KZ1

Then in 1988 a New Zealand syndicate, led by merchant banker Michael Fay, lodged a surprise "big boat" challenge that attempted to return to the original rules of the cup trust deed. Not wanting to be beaten, Conner's syndicate produced a new Stars and Stripes, a catamaran, which totally outclassed the challenger. The conflict descended into a bitter court room battle that ultimately confirmed that San Diego Yacht Club held the cup.

In the wake of the 1988 challenge, the International America's Cup Class (IACC) of yachts was introduced. These replaced the 12-meter class that had been used since 1958. First raced in 1992, the IACC yachts are the ones used today.

Missing image
1992 America3
  • In March 1997, a person entered the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's clubroom and damaged the America's Cup with a sledge-hammer. The attacker, a recidivist petty criminal, claimed the attack was politically motivated, though that did not stop him going to jail. The damage caused was so severe that it was feared that the cup was irreparable. London's Garrards silversmiths, who had originally manufactured the cup in 1848, painstakingly repaired the trophy to its original condition over three months, free of charge, simply because it was the America's Cup.
  • At Auckland in 1999-2000, Team New Zealand, led by Peter Blake, and again skippered by Russell Coutts, defeated Challenger Italy’s Prada Challenge from the Yacht Club Punta Ala. The Italians had previously beaten the America One syndicate from the St Francis Yacht Club in the Louis Vuitton Cup Finals.

2003 America's Cup

The 2002-2003 Louis Vuitton Cup, held in the Hauraki Gulf in Auckland, New Zealand saw nine teams from six countries staging 120 races over five months to select a challenger for the America's Cup.

  • On February 15, 2003, racing for the Cup itself began. In a stiff breeze, Alinghi won the first race easily after New Zealand, skippered throughout the series by Dean Barker, withdrew due to multiple gear failures in the rigging and the low cockpit unexpectedly taking onboard large quantities of water. Race 2, on February 16, 2003, was won by Alinghi by a margin of only seven seconds. It was one of the closest, most exciting races seen for years, with the lead changing several times and a duel of 33 tacking manoeuvres on the fifth leg. Then on February 18, in Race 3, Alinghi won the critical start, after receiving last minute advice about a wind shift, and led throughout the race, winning with a 23 second margin. After nine days without being able to race, first due to a lack of wind, then with high winds and rough seas making it too dangerous to race, February 28, originally a planned lay-day, was chosen as a race day. Race 4 was again sailed in strong winds and rough seas and New Zealand's difficulties continued, when her mast snapped on the third leg. The next day, March 1, 2003, was again a frustratingly calm day, with racing called off after the yachts had again spent over two hours waiting for a start in the light air. Alinghi skipper Russell Coutts was unable to celebrate his 41st birthday with a cup win, but was in a commanding position in the series to do so on March 2. Race 5 started on time in a good breeze. Alinghi again won the start and kept ahead. On the third leg, New Zealand broke a spinnaker pole during a manoeuvre. Although it was put overboard and replaced with a spare pole, New Zealand was unable to recover, losing the race and the cup.

The win by Alinghi meant Coutts, who had previously sailed for New Zealand, had won every one of the last 14 America's Cup races he had competed in as skipper, the most by any America's Cup skipper. This meant he had won an America's Cup regatta twice as challenger as well as having been a successful defender. Coutts was not the only New Zealander to be sailing for foreign syndicates in the 2002-2003 regatta. Alinghi alone had four New Zealanders as crew. Chris Dickson, skipper of Oracle BMW, also a New Zealander, had been involved in a previous New Zealand challenge for the America's Cup. Whatever the outcome of both the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup, it was certain that the winning skipper would be a New Zealander from the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup final.

2007 America's Cup

The Alinghi team will defend the America's Cup in 2007, according to announcements made following their victory. It was announced on November 27, 2003 that the venue would be Valencia, Spain. This will be the first time that the America's Cup will be held in Europe in over 150 years. The deadline to challenge for the 32nd America's Cup was April 29, 2005, by which time 11 challengers from 9 countries had submitted formal entries.

In preparation for the 2007 championship, there are several regattas leading up to the Cup races, called "Acts." In 2004, there were three acts, "Act 1" held September 2004 in Marseille, France; "Act 2" held October 2004 in Valencia, Spain); and "Act 3" held October 2004, also in Valencia, Spain. These events will feature fleet and match racing between America's Cup class yachts representing the syndicates that will be vying for the Cup in 2007. Points are scored awarded for each Act, and the team with the lowest score at the end of the year is declared the ACC (America's Cup Class) Champion for that year. In 2004, Emirates Team New Zealand narrowly won over second place American challenger BMW Oracle Racing and third place Swiss defender Team Alinghi.

The schedule of Acts in 2005 includes Acts 4 and 5 in Valencia (June 16-26), Acts 6 and 7 in Malmö, Sweden (August 25-September 4) and Acts 8 and 9 in Trapani, Italy (September 29-October 9).

As an Official Partner of the America’s Cup, Alcatel provides a global content distribution solution to the event, ensuring the stories of the America’s Cup are distributed via mobile and internet in a bold, new and innovative way.

America's Cup Challengers and Defenders

Year Winning vessel Opponent Match Location
2003 Alinghi, Switzerland (challenger) Team New Zealand, New Zealand 5-0 Auckland, New Zealand
2000 New Zealand, New Zealand (defender) Luna Rossa, Italy 5-0 Auckland, New Zealand
1995 Team New Zealand 'Black Magic', New Zealand (challenger) Young America, United States 5-0 San Diego, United States
1992 America3, United States (defender) Il Moro di Venezia, Italy 4-1 San Diego, United States
1988 Stars and Stripes '88, United States (defender) KZ1, New Zealand 2-0 San Diego, United States
1987 Stars and Stripes '87, United States (challenger) Kookaburra III, Australia 4-0 Fremantle, Australia
1983 Australia II, Australia (challenger) Liberty, United States 4-3 Newport, United States
1980 Freedom, United States (defender) Australia, Australia 4-1 Newport
1977 Courageous, United States (defender) Australia, Australia 4-0 Newport
1974 Courageous, United States (defender) Southern Cross, Australia 4-0 Newport
1970 Intrepid, United States (defender) Gretel II, Australia 4-1 Newport
1967 Intrepid, United States (defender) Dame Pattie, Australia 4-0 Newport
1964 Constellation, United States (defender) Sovereign, Britain 3-1 Newport
1962 Weatherly, United States (defender) Gretel, Australia 4-1 Newport
1958 Columbia, United States (defender) Sceptre, Britain 3-1 Newport
1937 Ranger, United States (defender) Endeavour II, Britain 4-0 Newport
1934 Rainbow, United States (defender) Endeavour, Britain 4-2 Newport
1930 Enterprise, United States (defender) Shamrock V, Ireland 4-0 Newport
1920 Resolute, United States (defender) Shamrock IV, Ireland 3-2 New York City
1903 Reliance, United States (defender) Shamrock III, Ireland 3-0 New York City
1901 Columbia, United States (defender) Shamrock II, Ireland 3-0 New York City
1899 Columbia, United States (defender) Shamrock, Ireland 3-0 New York City
1895 Defender, United States (defender) Valkyrie III, Britain 3-0 New York City
1893 Vigilant, United States (defender) Valkyrie II, Britain 3-0 New York City
1887 Volunteer, United States (defender) Thistle, Scotland 2-0 New York City
1886 Mayflower, United States (defender) Galatea, Britain 2-0 New York City
1885 Puritan, United States (defender) Genesta, Britain 2-0 New York City
1881 Mischief, United States (defender) Atalanta, Canada 4-1 New York City
1876 Madeleine, United States (defender) Countess of Dufferin, Canada 2-0 New York City
1871 Columbia and Sappho, United States (defenders) Livonia, Britain 4-1 (2-2-1) New York City
1870 Magic and 16 other N.Y.Y.C. yachts, United States (defender) Cambria, Britain 1-0 New York City
1851 America, United States (challenger) Aurora, Britain (and a fleet of 13 yachts) 1-0 Cowes, Isle of Wight

Deed of Gift

Introduction and Brief History of the Deed of Gift The Deed of Gift is the primary instrument that governs the America's Cup regatta. The current version of the Deed of Gift is the third revision of the original Deed. The original Deed was written in 1852 and forwarded to the New York Yacht Club on July 8, 1857.

After the 1881 Cup match, the New York Yacht Club officially returned the Cup to George L. Schuyler, the sole surviving member of the syndicate that owned "America" to rewrite the deed to discourage inland-based, Canadian yacht clubs from challenging the Cup. The New York Yacht Club was disappointed with the lack of competition and the poor build of the yachts of the Canadian challenges of 1876 and 1881. Because the Canadian challenger dragged his boats through the Erie Canal both times he challenged and because his yacht clubs were situated on inland lakes, the the second Deed incorporated, among other things, the following rules: the challenger's yacht club must be located next to the sea or on the arm of the sea and that the challenging boat must sail to the site of the contest on her own bottom. The second Deed was accepted by the NYYC in 1882.

In 1887, the challenging yacht's hull was longer than it was originally stated by the challenger; this alarmed the N.Y.Y.C., but they rectified the situation by handicapping the challenger. Although the N.Y.Y.C. successfully defended the Cup that year, it spurred them to rewrite the Deed. Once again the club officially returned the Cup to Mr. Schuyler. The third Deed is much longer and couched in legal terminology; it is unlikely that Mr. Schuyler himself authored the document. The third Deed tightened the rules for challenging; for example, it explicited stated that the challenger must not exceed the dimensions provided to the holder of the Cup. The new version of the rules created an uproar among many British yachtsmen who claimed that the new rules made it impossible to challenge. No one challenged until six years later when a British lord set forth his first of two challenges.

After World War II, the N.Y.Y.C. amended the Deed by changing the requirement regarding waterline length: the minimum water-line length from 65-feet to 44-feet to allow the use of the 12-metre class. In addition, the rule that the challenging boat had to sail on her own bottom to the site of the match was eliminated.

In 1985 a second amendment was made to allow for matches to take place during an antipodean summer.

THE “AMENDED” DEED of GIFT of the AMERICA'S CUP Incorporating the Waterline Length and “Own Bottom” Amendment, December 17, 1956 and the Southern Hemisphere Amendment, April 8, 1985.

This DEED OF GIFT made the twenty-fourth day of October, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-seven, Between GEORGE L. SCHUYLER as sole surviving owner of the Cup won by the yacht America at Cowes, England, on the twenty-second day of August, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one, of the first part, and THE NEW YORK YACHT CLUB, of the second part, as amended by orders of the Supreme Court of the State of New York dated December 17, 1956, and April 5, 1985, WITNESSETH:

THAT the said party of the first part, for and in consideration of the premises and of the performance of the conditions and agreements hereinafter set forth by the party of the second part, has granted, bargained, sold, assigned, transferred and set over, and by these presents does grant, bargain, sell, assign, transfer and set over unto the said party of the second part, its successors and assigns, the Cup won by the schooner yacht America at Cowes, England, upon the twenty-second day of August, 1851. To Have and To Hold the same to the said party of the second part, its successors and assigns, IN TRUST NEVERTHELESS, for the following uses and purposes: -

This Cup is donated upon the condition that it shall be preserved as a perpetual challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries.

Any organized yacht Club of a foreign country, incorporated, patented, or licensed by the legislature, admiralty or other executive department, having for its annual regatta an ocean water course on the sea, or on an arm of the sea, or one which combines both, shall always be entitled to the right of sailing a match for this Cup with a yacht or vessel propelled by sails only and constructed in the country to which the challenging Club belongs, against any one yacht or vessel constructed in the country of the Club holding the Cup. The competing yachts or vessels, if of one mast, shall be not less than forty-four feet nor more than ninety feet on the load water line; if of more than one mast, they shall be not less than eighty feet nor more than one hundred and fifteen feet on the load water line.

The challenging Club shall give ten months’ notice in writing naming the days for the proposed races; but no race shall be sailed in the days intervening between November first and May first if the races are to be conducted in the Northern Hemisphere; and no race shall be sailed in the days intervening between May first and November first if the races are to be conducted in the Southern Hemisphere. Accompanying the ten months’ notice of challenge, there must be sent the name of the owner and a certificate of the name, rig and the following dimensions of the challenging vessel, namely, length on load water line; beam at load water line, and extreme beam; and draught of water; which dimensions shall not be exceeded; and a custom-house registry of the vessel must also be sent as soon as possible. Vessels selected to compete for this Cup must proceed under sail on their own bottoms to the port where the contest is to take place. Centreboard or sliding keel vessels shall always be allowed to compete in any race for this Cup, and no restriction nor limitation whatever shall be placed upon the use of such centreboard or sliding keel, nor shall the centre-board or sliding keel be considered a part of the vessel for any purposes of measurement.

The Club challenging for the Cup and the Club holding the same may by mutual consent make any arrangement satisfactory to both as to the dates, courses, number of trials, rules and sailing regulations, and any and all other conditions of the match, in which case also the ten months’ notice may be waived.

In case the parties cannot mutually agree upon the terms of a match, then three races shall be sailed, and the winner of two of such races shall be entitled to the Cup. All such races shall be on ocean courses, free from headlands, as follows: the first race, twenty nautical miles to windward and return; the second race, an equilateral triangular race of thirty-nine nautical miles, the first side of which shall be a beat to windward; the third race, (if necessary), twenty nautical miles to windward and return; and one week day shall intervene between the conclusion of one race and the starting of the next race. These ocean courses shall be practicable in all parts for vessels of twenty-two feet draught of water and shall be selected by the Club holding the Cup; and these races shall be sailed subject to its rules and sailing regulations so far as the same do not conflict with the provisions of this deed of gift, but without any time allowances whatever. The challenged Club shall not be required to name its representative vessel until at the time agreed upon for the start, but the vessel when named must compete in all the races; and each of such races must be completed within seven hours.

Should the Club holding the Cup be for any cause dissolved, the Cup shall be transferred to some Club of the same nationality, eligible to challenge under this deed of gift, in trust and subject to its provisions. In the event of the failure of such transfer within three months after such dissolution, said Cup shall revert to the preceding Club holding the same, and under the terms of this deed of gift. It is distinctly understood that the Cup is to be the property of the Club, subject to the provisions of this deed, and not the property of the owner or owners of any vessel winning a match.

No vessel which has been defeated in a match for this Cup can be again selected by any club as its representative until after a contest for it by some other vessel has intervened, or until after the expiration of two years from the time of such defeat. And when a challenge from a Club fulfilling all the conditions required by this instrument has been received, no other challenge can be considered until the pending event has been decided.

AND the said party of the second part hereby accepts the said Cup subject to the said trust, terms and conditions, and hereby covenants and agrees to and with said party of the first part that it will faithfully and fully see that the foregoing conditions are fully observed and complied with by any contestant for the said Cup during the holding thereof by it; and that it will assign transfer and deliver the said Cup to the foreign yacht Club whose representative yacht shall have won the same in accordance with the foregoing terms and conditions, provided the said foreign Club shall by instrument in writing lawfully executed enter with said party of the second part into the like covenants as are herein entered into by it, such instrument to contain a like provision for the successive assignees to enter into the same covenants with their respective assignors, and to be executed in duplicate, one to be retained by each Club, and a copy thereof to be forwarded to the said party of the second part.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the said party of the first part has hereunto set his hand and seal, and the said party of the second part has caused its corporate seal to be affixed to these presents and the same to be signed by its Commodore and attested by its Secretary, the day and year first above written.

In the presence of H. D. Hamilton. George L. Schuyler The New York Yacht Club by Elbridge T. Gerry, Commodore. John H. Bird, Secretary {Seal of the NYYC}

External links

es:Copa América (regata) fr:Coupe de l'America it:America's Cup nl:America's Cup ja:アメリカスカップ pl:Regaty o Puchar Ameryki sv:America's Cup


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools