On this day in history, August 22, 1851, schooner America wins first America’s Cup trophy


The schooner “America” won what would become known as the “America’s Cup” race on this day in history, Aug. 22, 1851.

Known at the time as the “Hundred Guinea Cup,” referencing the value of the trophy, the race was sponsored by the Royal Yacht Squadron of Great Britain. It consisted of a race around the Isle of Wight.

“America,” a 100-foot schooner built by George Steers and William H. Brown — and entered by the New York Yacht Club — won the event, said Encyclopedia Britannica. The trophy was renamed “America’s Cup” in its honor. 

The Australian victory in 1983 changed the race into a “truly global phenomena,” said INEOS Britannia.

The winner selects the location for the following America’s Cup. 

It has been held “in locations spread around the world – Cowes, New York, Newport RI, Fremantle, San Diego, Auckland, Valencia and San Francisco,” said INEOS Britannia. 

Even though the U.K. originated the race, a team from the United Kingdom has yet to win. 

The modern iteration of the America’s Cup is a far cry from the race around the Isle of Wight in 1851. 

Now, instead of all entries racing at once – a “fleet race,” as it was in 1851 – the America’s Cup is decided in a series of matches. 

These matches are held in the year leading up to the final, which features the defending champion of the previous America’s Cup against the winner of the elimination matches earlier that year, said Britannica. 

The 37th America’s Cup will be held from Oct. 12 through Oct. 20, 2024, in Barcelona, according to the website for the event. 

Preliminary matches start in September 2023. 

Emirates Team New Zealand is the defending champion

Challengers for the event include Switzerland’s Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Italy’s Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, United States of America’s New York Yacht Club American Magic, the United Kingdom’s INEOS Britannia and France’s Orient Express Team. 

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