America's Cup

10 Fun Facts About the America’s Cup World Series

Victoria Barnett

By Victoria Barnett

February 24, 2016


The America’s Cup makes its triumphant return to New York after 96 years, so in honor of this exciting moment in history, we are giving you a few fun facts about the America’s Cup! Keep reading to learn more about the history, the trophy, the boats, the sailors and how you can attend this prestigious race in New York.

Where are the America’s Cup World Series 2016 races?

The schedule for the 35th America’s Cup is as follows:

  • Oman | February 27, 2016
  • New York | May 6, 2016
  • Chicago | June 10, 2016
  • Portsmouth | July 21, 2016
  • Toulon | September 10, 2016

Which Teams Are Competing?

G15LVACWSD4_1972_1.jpgArtemis Racing
Emirates Team New Zealand
Groupama Team France
Land Rover BAR
SoftBank Team Japan

Which Countries Have Won?

The America’s Cup is the oldest active trophy in international sports and arguably the hardest and most prestigious trophy to win.

Since 1851, only four nations have won: Australia (once), New Zealand and Switzerland (twice) and the USA (28 times). Despite the first race taking place in Cowes in 1851, Britain has yet to win it.

How Are the Racing Locations Decided?

Whoever wins the race wins the right to decide the rules for the next contest, such as what type of boats will be used, when they should race, and where the location will be.

How Did the America’s Cup Get Its Name?

In 1851, a schooner named America, beat the British in the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Pound Cup, which symbolized a great victory for the new world over the old. America dominated the 53-mile course and won by eight minutes. The trophy went to the United States and remained in their hands well over 100 years before it was taken away from New York.

The New York Yacht Club sold the schooner and donated the trophy under a Deed of Gift, which stated the trophy was to be “a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations.”

Thus was born the America’s Cup, which was named after the winning schooner America, rather than the country.

Does the America’s Cup Have a Motto?

rp151018_lvacwsbd2_2022.jpgWhile watching the inaugural race in 1851, Queen Victoria asked one of her attendants to tell her who was in second place. The reply? “Your Majesty, there is no second.” This phrase is now the best description of the America’s Cup and has come to be the motto of the competition.

What Are the Boats Like?

Not all America’s Cup boats are the same, and each team works in secret to design their hulls. For the 35th America’s Cup, teams will race in fully-foiling, one-design AC45 catamarans. The AC45 is a lean, mean, speed machine held down by a five-person crew. It spans 45 feet wide and 70 feet high and can sail at speeds up to 42 mph.  

A significant amount of force is generated to propel the boat and lift it above the water, making it look like it is actually flying. Only the centerboards and rudders stay in contact with the water, reducing drag and making the boats move at fast speeds.

Needless to say, it doesn’t look like what you might think a sailboat would look like; as some would say, it looks more like a transformer.

Is Sailing a Dangerous Sport?

Put simply, America’s Cup sailing is no breeze. In fact, an average sailor burns 6,000 calories in a day’s racing. The crews have to work extremely hard to keep the boats afloat, and danger is always on the horizon.

Injuries are common, and sailors come dressed for battle. For protection, each sailor wears Lycra pants and shirt, high-top sneakers, a crash helmet and harness, and a flotation vest equipped with an automatic homing beacon, a personal spare air tank and knives for cutting a slack line or netting if they get trapped underwater.

What is the Famous America’s Cup Trophy?

The Cup, widely known as the “Auld Mug,” is an ornate sterling silver bottomless ewer crafted by Garrad & Co. in 1848. The trophy travels around the world in a custom-designed Louis Vuitton case and always flies in business and/or first class.

For security reasons, The Cup is stored in a top-secret location, and when it is scheduled to appear in public, it is kept under armed guard.

In fact, it travels with two guards, who are full-time employees of a private security company. They won’t even tell you their names or the company they work for! 

There is one rule regarding The Cup: no one can touch it with their bare hands. The guards wear white gloves.AC34SFO1D1_0861Horiz_1-960215-edited.jpg

How Can I Attend the America's Cup?

Good news! We have ticket packages available to the 2016 Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in New York. For this event, we are offering an exclusive hospitality experience complete with prime views of the racing action, gourmet food, open bar, guest speakers and more. Click below to learn more about America’s Cup Experiences Official Ticket Packages.

Get My America's Cup New York Ticket Package