Established in 1851, the America’s cup is the oldest trophy in international sport. This challenge between Yacht Clubs of different nations is also one of the main theaters for the evolution of naval architecture in terms of racing yachts.
“Your Majesty, there is no second”
In 1851, during the London World’s Fair, the Royal Yacht Squadron organized for the first time an international regatta around the Isle of Wight. The story remains famous: the schooner “America”, from the New York Yacht Club, won this trophy, and brought it back to New York after the famous exchange between Queen Victoria and her First Admiral when “America” crossed the finish line: “Admiral, who is in second place?” Your Majesty, there is no second.”
The silver ewer, made in 1848 for the Royal Yacht Squadron by the London jeweler and silversmith Robert Garrard, was brought back to the United States in September 1851 under the name of “Hundred Guineas Cup”, and became in July 1857 the “America’s Cup”, in homage to the winning schooner. It was not until the end of the American Civil War that a second race was organized.
Since that time, each edition sees the establishment of a particular regulation, called act of donation, defining among other things the conditions of racing and the type of boat used based on a race rule, drafted by the defender and the reference challenger, that is to say the first Yacht Club to challenge the title holder.
Today, the America’s Cup remains the friendly challenge between Yacht Clubs of different nations intended by its initiators.
An intact prestige
Throughout its history, the America’s Cup has shone with prestige. Recognized as one of the most difficult competitions to win (only four nations have ever won it), it attracts the best sailors and the most incredible yachts.
The trophy is currently held by Emirates Team New Zealand, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, which defeated the Italian Challenger Luna Rossa of the Circolo della Vela Sicilia in Auckland Bay in March 2021.