America's Cup - There is no second

Wed, May 16, 2012 at 12:00AM

In 1851, Queen Victoria was watching a sailing race from the Royal Yacht when a schooner named ‘America’ suddenly broke through the mist, and sailing swiftly past the onlookers, saluted by dipping its ensign three times. The Queen then asked one of her attendants, who was following in second place?"Your Majesty, there is no second," was the reply. That four-word phrase still exemplifies the America's Cup, so named for its first champion, and its winner-takes-all pursuit of excellence.

That August day, the yacht representing the young New York Yacht Club would go on to win the Royal Yacht Squadron's 100 Pound Cup. Many saw it as a symbol of the fledgling democracy of the United States winning the prize that day against the well-established British maritime super power.

The New York team donated the trophy to their Yacht Club, which had it deeded to be "a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations." Thus the America's Cup was born, and it would be more than a century before it was taken away from the U.S.

According to its website, the America's Cup World Series is a regular circuit of sailing regattas, bringing Cup racing to top venues around the globe. The World Series brings the best sailors in the fastest boats to major cities in many countries, which prepares the teams for the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup Challenger Series and the America's Cup Finals. The challenger must win the Louis Vuitton Cup to earn the right to race the defender.

Significantly, 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the first Louis Vuitton Cup, which took place in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. Its winner, Australia II, went on to become the first challenger to beat the defender in the America's Cup 132-year history, at that time.

Currently in Venice, Italy, through May 20, this year’s event moves back to Newport from June 26 to July 1 and then on to San Francisco, California.

The “natural sailing amphitheater” of the San Francisco Bay will be home to two World Series events this year, August 21-26, and October 4-7 (during the city’s annual Fleet Week), as well as the 2013 Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup Finals, with regattas in Venice and Naples, Italy scheduled in between. This year’s America's Cup brings the competition for the oldest trophy in international sport back to the United States, in style - with exciting new classes of boats that are faster and more powerful than any that went before them, an updated racing format, and media coverage that places viewers more clearly and closely in the races than ever imagined.

The America's Cup is arguably the most difficult prize to attain. Since 1851 sailors, businesses, entrepreneurs, and everyone involved in boat building have invested finances, dedication, hopes and dreams into winning it. In the more than 160 years since that first race off the coast of England, only six clubs representing four nations have won this most prized ‘Cup.’

The competing teams are, in order of current overall standing: Oracle Racing Spithill - Emirates Team New Zealand - Artemis Racing - Energy Team – Oracle Racing Bundock - Team Korea – China Team – Luna Rossa Piranha and Luna Rossa Swordfish.

The earlier announcement of San Francisco’s events coincided with the celebration of the start of construction on Pier 27, which will serve as the main spectators’ seat, as well as the start/finish line for the Louis Vuitton Cup race and the America’s Cup Match Finals next year. We at Monterey Boats invite you to join the world’s citizens in watching this thrilling, renowned competitive boating event, broadcast by NBC Sports and a host of international television networks. Because, “there is no second.”

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