AC World Series - Cascais 2011 - Racing Day 1
America's Cup newsletter for 22 August 2011
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|Celebrating the America's Cup|
|22 August. It was 160 years ago today, on August 22nd, 1851, when the yacht Americatriumphed over the pride of the British fleet in a race around the Isle of Wight, off England's south coast, winning the trophy that came to bear the yacht’s name.|
At 160 years old, the America's Cup is often called the oldest trophy in international sport. To give some context, consider that when the first Games of the modern Olympics were held in Athens, Greece in 1896, the first chapter in the America's Cup story had been written a full 45 years earlier.
It began in the early summer of 1851, Americasailed across the Atlantic from the east coast of the United States for a season of racing against the best that Britain could offer.
But her owners had tipped their hand. On arriving in British waters, Americahad left its welcoming committee in its wake, making races (and the profitable wagers that accompanied them) difficult to find.
Eventually, Americawas able to enter the Royal Yacht Squadron's £100 Cup (also referred to as the 100 Guinea Cup); a race around the Isle of Wight against a fleet of British boats, with the winner on the water taking the trophy - no time allowances would be made.
The boats started, arranged under anchor, in two rows off Cowes. As the start gun fired at 10:00am, the yachts slipped anchor in the light breeze and made their way to the East.
Americaactually started poorly, and was in fifth place when the yachts passed No Mans Buoy.
But after slipping inside the Nab Lightship, she passed Culver Cliff in a dominant position and would never be overtaken.
Americafinished the race at 8:37 pm, 12 minutes clear of Aurora. The last boat to finish, Brilliant, cleared the line at 1:30 am the next day.
The owners of Americabriefly considered melting down the trophy they had just won to create medals. Fortunately, they had a change of heart and donated it to the New York Yacht Club under a Deed of Gift that still governs the America's Cup competition to this day.
That day in August was notable too for giving us perhaps the most famous quote to be associated with the America's Cup - 'There is no second'.
This is how it came about.
Of that first race in 1851, The Times newspaper reported: "Off Cowes…was heard the hail, Is the Americafirst? The answer, yes. What is second? The reply - nothing."
In his history of the America's Cup, An Absorbing Interest, Bob Fisher recounts this and continues: "This almost certainly gave credence to the apocryphal story that the Queen (Victoria) had asked a signalman, on being told that the Americawas first, 'Who is second?' And the signalman was said to have replied, 'Ma'am, there is no second'."
To this day, 160 years later, it still represents a fine description of the sporting contest of the America's Cup.Photo: Beken of Cowes/Louis Vuitton
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|Photos © ACEA (2011) / Photo Gilles Martin-Raget|
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|About the America's Cup|
Nearly 160 years old, the America's Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport. Initially a one-on-one competition between foreign teams, the America's Cup has evolved into one of the world's leading sporting competitions – featuring the best sailors on the world's fastest boats, the wing-sailed AC45 and AC72 catamarans. The new America's Cup World Series begins its inaugural season August 2011. In the summer of 2013, the 34th America's Cup begins with the Louis Vuitton Cup July 4- September 1, followed by the America's Cup Finals September 7-22.
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