A sailing competition steeped in history
As well as its status as yacht racing’s most prestigious and venerated competition the America’s Cup origins dating back to 1851 also make it international sport’s oldest event.
Over its 169-year history the America’s Cup’s unique lure has compelled multiple generations of high-profile business magnates and world class yachtsmen to invest vast amounts of their money and decades of their time attempting to win it.
The America’s Cup trophy was named in tribute to the US schooner America which crossed the Atlantic in 1851 to test its racing prowess against the British fleet at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. In a now legendary race around the Isle of Wight America outpaced 14 English yachts to win the 100 Guinea Cup.
In 1857 America’s syndicate of owners renamed the trophy as the America’s Cup and donated it to the New York Yacht Club as the prize for a new perpetual international competition between yacht clubs.
Under the terms of the Deed of Gift for the newly formed competition the winning club would take on the stewardship of the competition – including the right to choose the venue and format of the next edition.
Despite multiple Challenges over the first 23 editions of the America’s Cup coming from Australia (6), Canada (2), England (8), Northern Ireland (5), and Scotland (2), it was to be a remarkable 132 years before a successful Challenge was mounted to wrest the America’s Cup from the vicelike grip of the NYYC.
The American’s extended winning streak was finally brought to an end in 1983 by a pugnacious Australian crew, led by Olympic yachtsman John Bertrand, who fought back from three races to one down to win four-three against the American skipper Dennis Conner in Newport, Rhode Island.
Over the past 37 years since then the Cup has been won by teams from America five times, Switzerland twice and New Zealand three times – including a comprehensive victory by Emirates Team New Zealand in the 35th edition in Bermuda in 2017 over the American syndicate Oracle Team USA.
That win served to salve some of the pain still felt by the sport-fanatic population of New Zealand following the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco when their national team found itself on the wrong end of one of professional sport’s most spectacular comebacks as the Oracle Team USA crew incredibly fought back from an 8-2 deficit to win 9-8.
Driving the advancement of
Throughout its history the America’s Cup has always been synonymous with the most advanced technology, the latest thinking in design, construction, and materials. The accepted perceived truth is that “the team with the fastest boat always wins”, and over the years that has meant an arms race amongst the teams to try to achieve that.
In the same way that the Cold War Space Race between the Americans and the Russians resulted in the creation of consumer products like GPS, wireless headsets, LED lighting, portable cordless vacuums, freeze-dried foods, and memory foam, many of the high-tech materials, and gadgets used on mainstream racing and cruising boats are the result of the vast research and development budgets lavished on America’s Cup campaigns of the last 30 years.
Now, for the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada, technology is once again at the forefront.
For evidence of this we need look no further than the breathtaking AC75 foiling monohull yachts which the teams will race. Seventy-five feet long and sailed by a crew of 11 these single hulled boats fly clear of the water balanced precariously on a lateral hydrofoil and a t-foil rudder.
The AC75 design rule is a never-before-conceived concept resulting from a collaboration between the Defender Emirate Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team.
Just watching these revolutionary boats in full flight hitting speeds over 50 knots (58 mph/93 km/h) is a truly exhilarating experience. But perhaps even more impressive is the fact that all four teams – the Defender and Challenger of Record, along with two other Challengers, Ineos Team UK (GBR) and NYYC American Magic (USA) – have designed and built boats capable of foiling at speed within the first few hours of their maiden sail.
This is a testimony not only to the excellence of the teams’ vast design departments and boatbuilding squads, as well as to the skill of the ultra-talented sailors who make up the crews who will race these boats.
In January and February 2021 Auckland, New Zealand will host Prada Cup – which is the Challenger Selections Series – ahead of the America’s Cup Match in March.
Yanmar in the
36th America’s Cup
Yanmar is no stranger to the America’s Cup having played a key role over several editions. At the 34th edition of the America’s Cup in 2013, Yanmar supported Oracle Team USA as Official Technical Partner, and supplied the chase boat engines for the team. Then in 2017 Yanmar served as the Official Marine Engines Partner for the 35th edition in Bermuda.
Now for the 36th America’s Cup, as part of the company’s role as the event’s Official Marine Supplier, Yanmar will provide key on-the-water support to the race management team at all the America’s Cup events during 2020 and 2021.
PRESENTED BY PRADA
As well as providing Yanmar inboard diesel engines to power official race management boats, a specially branded America’s Cup edition of the company’s latest brand flagship, the X47 Express Cruiser has also been made available to the organisers.
The X47 has been designated as the official VIP Cruiser of the 36th America’s Cup presented by Prada and will be at the heart of the action when the teams race their AC75s in the Americas’ Cup World Series events in New Zealand in 2020, and at the Prada Cup and America’s Cup Match in 2021.