The Auld Mug
The Americas Cup is one of the most prestigious of all sporting events. It is the oldest trophy in world sport. In 1851 the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) welcomed a syndicate from the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) to enter their yacht America for the 100 Guineas Cup race round the Isle of Wight. The Americans with their schooner and its unique design accepted the challenge and won the race and the cup with miles to spare. There was controversy and outrage at the Squadron’s loss. So fast was the speed of America that one member had to go on board and check for propellers!
The grand RYS 100 Guinea Cup crafted in silver was carried back to the US and presented to the NYYC as a Challenge Cup to be awarded for “friendly competition between foreign countries”. It was America’s cup and that’s how the competition became known.
Since that first race 164 years ago, despite challenges over the years, Britain has never won Americas cup. The original event was marked by cutting edge technology, monumental budgets, rule changes, cheating allegations, massive wagers, intrigue, arrogance and some healthy controversy….little has changed!
Sir Ben Ainslie, who as a tactician, was part of the Oracle Team USA Americas Cup victory in 2013, now heads up the latest British Challenge in team Landrover BAR (Ben Ainslie Racing), to bring the Americas cup back to where it all began in 1851.
The Americas Cup format is now a World Series of qualifying events beginning on 2015/2016 to decide the top four challengers. These four will advance to the play-offs which consist of match racing semi finals to decide the one challenger that goes forward to meet defending champion Oracle Team USA to decide the next Americas cup winner in Bermuda in 2017.
In July 2015, for the first time since 1851, the Solent hosted the Americas World Series. Portsmouth was taken over by thousands of spectators out to support the home team Landrover BAR, in opening its bid to win back the Auld Mug. With the eyes of the world watching it was reassuring for event organisers to know that behind the scenes, the expertise and experience of Cumbrae’s David Frame and Tom Thurlow were supporting the race management afloat, leading the 12 strong team of mark layers setting up the race tracks for these flying machines to race around.
David comments: “This was just an awesome experience. As a race official we got very close to the action, more so than the estimated 1,000 spectator boats, or the 46,000 people that lined the shores. With The AC 45s travelling at up to 50mph you need to have your wits about you and eyes in the back of your head. It was the resonating low pitched screaming sound these machines made as they flew by. You could be watching one yet hearing another coming from behind”.
The boats taking part over the last 164 years have changed beyond recognition but, without a doubt, the same passion, excitement and competitive spirit prevails! In front of a home crowd Landrover BAR won the first round of this incredible event.
To view some of our action photos from the event click here
To follow Britain’s progress to regain the Americas Cup and the rest of the event look at https://www.americascup.com