Some unusual facts about the race, its history and background and the sailors taking part

1. Britain has never won the America’s Cup

Ed Baird with the America's Cup in Geneva, Switzerland, 2007

Skipper Ed Baird with the America’s Cup after Switzerland won in 2007. Credit Wikimedia Commons

Despite the inaugural America’s Cup race taking place in Cowes in 1851, Britain has never won the “Auld Mug”.

The USA has won it 28 times, New Zealand and Switzerland twice, and Australia once.

2. Winners decide the race locations

Bermuda, 2017 America's Cup venue

Bermuda will host the America’s Cup in 2017. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The winner of the America’s Cup race has the right to decide the rules for the next contest, including the types of boats to be used, the location of the race course and when the race will take place.

In 2017, the challenge will take place in Bermuda.

3. New Zealander Russell Coutts is the America’s Cup’s most successful racer

Sir Russell Coutts America's Cup

Sir Russell Coutts. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

New Zealand sailor, Sir Russell Coutts has won the America’s Cup five times, including three times as skipper, where he has a perfect 14-0 record on the water (1995, 2000, 2003).

He was CEO of the Oracle Team when it won the America’s Cup twice with 13 wins and 8 losses in 2010 and 2013. Both times with James Spithill as skipper and helmsman.

He is now the CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), the organising body for the 35th America’s Cup.

4. It costs a billionaire’s fortune to take part

100 dollar bills

Credit: beka/Twitter

The entry fee for the 2017 America’s Cup is $2 million per team – but that is barely the tip of the iceberg.

The cost of running a team, developing some of the most high tech boats in the world, the support crews, sailors and infrastructure runs to tens of millions. During the last Cup in 2013, Oracle Team USA, underwritten by billionaire Larry Ellison was rumoured to have spent $200 million. Land Rover BAR this time has a budget of approximately £90 million.

The Challengers are: Land Rover BAR (UK), Artemis Racing (Sweden), Groupama (France), Emirates Team New Zealand and Softbank Team Japan.

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5. The America’s Cup trophy 

The famous silver trophy was made by London silvermaker Garrard in 1948, two years before the 100 Pound Cup that kickstarted the America’s Cup and is actually a claret jug.

6. The Cup has been vandalised

The America's Cup

The America’s Cup. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 1997 in New Zealand, a Maori activist damaged the America’s Cup trophy after hitting it with a sledgehammer. It was repaired by its makers, Robert Garrard of London.


7. One of the top skippers grew up in a landlocked area

Glenn Ashby - skipper of Emirate New Zealand, America's Cup

Glenn Ashby. Credit: North Sails/Twitter

Glenn Ashby, the skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand, grew up in Bendigo, Victoria, in Australia. He learnt to sail on a lake that was often near dry. 

The 38-year-old, who goes by the nickname Gashby, is just the third Team New Zealand skipper in 20 years, after Sir Russell Coutts and Dean Barker.

8. A most persistent challenger

Sir Thomas Lipton challenged for the America's Cup five times between 1899 and 1930.

Sir Thomas Lipton. Credit: Library of Congress

British tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton challenged for the trophy five times between 1899 and 1930 in his yachts Shamrock through to Shamrock V. Although he never won (he was awarded a specially designed cup for “the best of all losers”), he is credited as introducing the idea of sponsorship in sport. An Ulster-Scots businessman, his challenging yacht club was Royal Ulster Yacht Club in Bangor, Northern Ireland.

9. Many sailors have strange superstitions 

Nathan Outteridge

Nathan Outteridge. Credit: Nathan Outteridge/Facebook

The skipper of Artemis Racing, Australian sailor Nathan Outteridge, is one of those with a number of race superstitions. These include never wearing the regatta shirt at the regatta and no hair cuts during events.

Ben Ainslie uses a lucky name for all his boats since Olympic days. They are all called Rita, as is his current AC50 race yacht.

10. The famous schooner America had a sad end

America - winner of the first America's Cup

The first winner of the iconic race, America. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The gaff schooner America won the race that promoted the establishment of the America’s Cup, beating 15 other rivals in a race round the Isle of Wight organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron on 22 August 1851.

Read more about that race and the controversies and questions that have burned ever since.

The trophy for which the modern event is raced was named the America’s Cup after the winning yacht.

America continued to race until being sold to the Confederate State of America for use as a blockade running in the American Civil War After she was scuttled in Dunns Creek, the yacht was raised, repaired and renamed America by the Union, and served on the Union side for the remainder of the war.

After the war, America was used as a training ship at the US. Naval Academy.

America was again sold, and went back to competitive racing.  After falling into disrepair, the vessel was sold to the America Restoration Fund, who donated her to the US. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

By 1940, the gaff schooner had been sorely neglected. The vessel’s condition deteriorated even further after the shed where America was stored collapsed in a heavy snowstorm.

The ship was finally scrapped and burnt in 1945.