The first “America’s Cup” sailboat race took place off the south coast of England in 1851 and was watched by Queen Victoria. But it wasn’t called the “America’s Cup” then. And it’s taken well over 160 years since the schooner America won that first race (and the iconic silver trophy) for “America’s Cup” racing to return to where it all began.
It all kicks off this weekend in Portsmouth, England, when the defending champions Oracle Team USA join five other international teams competing in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in ultra-high-performance boats that fly on hydrofoils above the water.
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In fact, the Cup has already made an appearance (in its custom-made Louis Vuitton trunk) at the Bremont watch boutique in London. Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill and America’s Cup Event Authority CEO Russell Coutts recently appeared with the Cup to celebrate Bremont being the Official Timing Partner of the America’s Cup and Oracle Team USA, as well as launching a line of America’s Cup watches
The fact that this is the first America’s Cup racing to be held in England since 1851 is significant to all the teams. But for Spithill’s Oracle Team USA, the event has an added interest. They get to take on their former teammate, Sir Ben Ainslie, on his home turf. Ainslie was a key member of the team onboard Oracle Team USA with Spithill, and sailing team manager Tom Slingsby, when they defended the Cup in 2013 after staging a historic comeback against Emirates Team New Zealand.
And if getting an up-close view of these amazing boats and yacht racing royalty in action isn’t enough, real royalty will also be in attendance. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be joining what’s predicted to be a sold-out crowd of spectators on the final day of racing on Sunday. As you can see, the America’s Cup is way more than just a series of yacht races. It’s an experience. And it’s just getting started.
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