Get Ready for America’s Cup 2013
On August 22, 1851 the schooner America, representing the New York Yacht Club, sailed past an entire British fleet to win the 100 Guinea Cup from the Royal Yacht Squadron. The schooner was quickly sold and the trophy was donated to the New York Yacht Club with the stipulation that the trophy was to be ” a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations”. Thus was born the America’s Cup, named after that famous winning schooner, America.
Gone are the days of national pride, when every crew member was born in the competing country and all sailboats, sails, and equipment had to be built in the representing country as well. Gone too are the days of the 12-meter sleek racing monohulls with Dacron sails. No matter how you feel about the evolution that has taken place over the years, we still have the fastest sailboats in the world competing for a chance to win that same 100 Guinea Cup.
Today all challengers to the Cup must compete in a series of races known as the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenge. This week as we enter the finals of the Louis Vuitton, it is Luna Rosa, representing Team Italy racing against Emirates, representing Team New Zealand, in a best of 13 series. These two teams have defeated teams from Korea, Sweden, France, and the United Kingdom. So it is Italy or New Zealand who will have the honor of challenging Oracle, representing Team USA for the America’s Cup. In the more than 160 years since that first race off England, only 4 nations have won what is called ” the oldest trophy in international sport”
The new America’s Cup sailboats, the AC72’s, are in fact 72 foot catamarans capable of speeds in excess of twice the wind speed. With a crew of only 11, each team member faces extreme physical demands and must exhibit top athleticism that is essential to the yachts performance. The soft Dacron sails are now rigid wings controlled by computers. The ever evolving keels are now hydrofoils that enable the sailboats to rise above the surface of the bay. In fact, I’m not sure if this is sailboat racing or flying but it is amazing!
The races are all taking place in San Francisco from August 17 – September 21. Here are a few links to learn more about the America’s Cup 2013, as well as the broadcast schedule, so you do not miss the opportunity to watch sailboats “fly”.