ART • CULTURE • SPORTS
to the 35th America’s Cup in Bermuda
WHAT IS THE AMERICA’S
The America’s Cup is the oldest interna-
tional sporting trophy in the world and the
pinnacle of yacht racing. The winner of the
trophy is determined through a series of
one-on-one match races between the holders
of the cup, the defender, and a challenger.
The first race was held in 1851 when a
radical looking schooner named America
crossed the Atlantic to face the British in
a series of yacht races around the Isle of
White. With Queen Victoria looking on,
America blew away the competition with
ease. It would take 132 years for a European
team to beat the Americans, during which
time the America’s Cup was transformed
into one of the toughest competitions in all
Similar to Formula One, winning
requires teams to harness the twin forces of
cutting-edge technology and unparalleled
tactical moves, resulting in one of the most
spectacular competitions ever to grace the
international sporting stage.
WRITTEN BY W.C. STEVENSON
WHO IS INVOLVED?
Besides the United States, the only countries that have won the America’s Cup are
Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. In
1983, the US was defeated for the first time
by Australia, but won back the cup in 1987
before losing it again to New Zealand in 1995,
which in turn lost to Switzerland in 2003. The
US team, funded mainly by Oracle Corporation founder and CEO Larry Ellison, won
back the America’s Cup in 2010 and successfully defended the trophy in 2013 in one of
the greatest come-back victories in all of sport.
The right to challenge Oracle in the 2017
America’s Cup will be awarded to the team
that wins the 2017 Louis Vuitton Cup, a
precursor series to the championship. The racing teams are named for their countries or by
their principal sponsors. Potential contestants
for the 2017 Louis Vuitton Cup are: Artemis
Racing of Sweden (the team’s owner, a Swedish oil magnate and avid sailor, likes the Greek
goddess); Emirates Team New Zealand (
sponsored by Emirates airline); and Luna Rossa
Challenge of Italy (sponsored by Prada).
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT
One of the most unique aspects of the
America’s Cup involves the rules of the game,
which are decided by the winning team.
Since Oracle Team USA has won the last two
competitions, in 2010 team owner Ellison
got to choose the next location and type of
vessel to race.
The billionaire set an unprecedented,
technological challenge for the 2013 Louis
Vuitton Cup by debuting a 72-foot-long catamaran with a carbon-fibre wing sail that can
reach speeds of up to 50mph. Widely recognised as the fastest sailboat ever made, the
AC72 looked terrific on television compared
to mono-hull boats of the past, attracting a
much wider audience than ever before.
With a price tag around $8 million, the
AC72 is complex and expensive, discouraging several potential contestants and sponsors. And that $8 million is only a fraction of
the budget required to operate an America’s
Cup team, which will run around $100
In the preliminary stages of the America’s
Cup World Series, held in San Francisco in
the fall of 2012, the US and seven competing countries sailed AC45s, 45-foot
catamarans identical to the AC72. But four
countries bowed out of the competition
after realising that building, fine-tuning and
powering their own AC72s for the contest’s
next stages would require too much effort
In our nexgt issue, THE LANDLUBBER’S GUIDE will break down what makes these amazing boats so special.