THE AMERICA'S CUP
INTERESTING FACTS YOU POSSIBLY NEVER KNEW
The 36th America’s Cup is arguably a topic on many people’s minds currently as the world of sailing revs itself up a notch in preparation for the first of the world series regattas. Auckland’s Viaduct harbour is undergoing an immense transformation to host this prestigious event which we only witness when a qualified yacht club challenges the club holding the cup - the almighty Emirates Team New Zealand. The magnificence and splendour of this event, the boats, breakthrough technology, competitive rivalry and the feel of extravagance associated with the fashion-house Prada who have given this international event its luxurious feel over the years is often what comes to mind when one think’s about ‘The America’s Cup.' Asides from the glamour, prestige and excitement, there is an entire history behind this event - let me shed some light on the most fascinating of facts and stories you never knew about one of the world’s most loved celebrated sporting events.
1851, nearly 170 years ago the America’s Cup was first awarded to the American Schooner (boat with at least two masts) in a race around the Isle of Wight in England on September 22nd. Why the name ‘America’s Cup’ I hear you thinking? The schooner beat 14 British yachts and for 132 years the trophy was jealously guarded by the New York Yacht Club, therefore it truly was the America’s Cup. To this day it is still considered to be the oldest internationally contested trophy in the world.
Although the trophy was awarded by the Royal Yacht Squadron to its ‘America’s owners in 1851, today it stands at Cowes on the Isle of Wight on the south coast of England. It was situated at the Gloucester Hotel across the Esplanade on the island where it was established in 1825. The Royal Yacht Squadron took residence at King Henry VIII’s Castle fortress in 1858.
Variations of the trophy name
The America’s Cup wasn’t always referred to by its American title, in fact in it its earliest days it was referred to as the ‘The Queens Cup’ or the 'Royal Squadron Trophy' and most interestingly, the ‘One Hundred Guinea Cup.’ The trophy was made in 1848 by Royal Jeweller Robert Garrad of London who initially gave the cup it’s 100 Guinea name - yes, valued at 100 pounds sterling! Fast-forward to 2020 where 100 pounds sterling will buy you a monthly bus pass in London or roughly 18 pints of beer in a pub (to watch the sailing with of course).
Ah, Your Majesty, There is no second.
It is said, yet never qualified, that the young Queen Victoria, while watching the race from her Royal ship Victoria & Albert anchored in Alum Bay Isle of Wight in 1851, asked her signalman when the first sightings of leaders in the race would be witnessed around the island.
“Say signal-master, are the yachts in sight?”
“Yes, may it please Your Majesty”
“Which is first”
“Which is second?”
“Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second.”
Owners of the Schooner ‘America’
Commodore John Cox Stevens, his brother Edwin A. Stevens with members Hamilton Wilkes, George L. Schuyler, James Hamilton and J. Beckman Finlay built the Schooner to sail to England where they laid claim to the 100 Guinea Cup - and so the America’s Cup was born. The Schooners tragic demise saw it become a Union Ship in the Civil War before being sold to a former Civil War General who raced and refitted the boat for a further 20 years before eventually being handed down to his son following his death. The death of the general saw almost death to the Schooner who’s owner left it in such a state of decay it was donated back to the Navy.
What is the America’s Cup?
The Cup itself is a baroque wine ewer, standing 27 inches tall, 36 inches in circumference of body, 24 iches of base, and weights almost 4kgs (134 oz) of stirling silver crafted by Messrs R & S Garrard, Panton Street London 1848.
At one time in the late 1850’s the owners considered melting down the trophy, so that each of the six owners could have a medal made from silver, inscribed to commemorate the race in which the Cup was won. However, this idea died along with a number of its original owners and remains in it's original state to this day.
Experience? There is no second.
As a young Queen Victoria said and as our Director Sharon Stewart would repeat, there is no second. When it comes to the customer journey, Love My New Zealand leaves nothing to chance to curate the experience of a lifetime. The journey you have with us is centered around authentically designed experiences far from any guidebook norm. Our ethic in looking after people from client to host and our on the ground connections and networks truly is the magic behind what we offer.
Look no further for the ultimate experience of the America’s Cup combined with the best of what New Zealand has to offer. Contact Sharon to start your journey.