The Legend of America's Cup


America's Cup

The America's Cup was created in 1848 by the London jeweler Robert Garrard as a stock item. More...

The yacht America in 1851. (Photo Beken of Cowes/Louis Vuitton)

The America's Cup race course ran clockwise around the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England.

The legend of the America’s Cup, the oldest continuous sports competition, even older than the modern Olympic games, began in 1851 with a race around the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England. Eighteen boats joined that race all vying to win the Silver Cup. Ten hours later her Majesty Queen Victoria gave the bulky silver cup to the winner America, from the New York Yacht Club, which defeated the English Aurora by 8 minutes. The race was contested, since the America had taken an illegal shortcut, but the result stood, and the regatta has been known as the America's Cup ever since.

For many years the American boats kept on winning the race against yachts from around the world. American dominance finally faded in 1983, when Australia II, from the Royal Perth Yacht Club, succeeded in winning the Cup thanks to an innovative idea: the application of winglets on the bulb. This change gave birth to a technological challenge, which is playing a critical role in modern competitions: Use technology to design faster and more maneuverable sailboats.


The appendages under the hull are the rudder in the aft, the center keel, the bulb, and the winglets. more...