We ask top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times. America's Cup and offshore legendary sailor Dawn Riley nominates the IACC yacht America True.

America True was a ground-breaking campaign for the 2000 America’s Cup. Created by Dawn Riley, it was the first America’s Cup syndicate to be headed up by a woman, and the first mixed team in the Cup. John Butler was racing helmsman. 

The team out-performed many expectations, getting through to the semi-final stages of the 11-team Louis Vuitton Cup, then raced in IACC yachts, and taking race wins from such heavyweight contenders as Dennis Connor’s Stars & Stripes.  

Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes racing America True on day 9 of the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger semi-finals off Auckland in January 2000. Photo: Dean Tremil/Photosport/AFP via Getty Images

America True was the best bright yellow boat designed by Phil Kaiko and an excellent team who are still designing Cup boats,” recalls Riley. “But she meant so much more than just a race record as we were ‘rocking the boat’ and doing things differently.”

The America True Foundation also had a key remit of making sailing accessible through youth involvement programmes.

IACC America True Stats rating:

Top speed: 17 knots
LOA: 25m
Launched: 2000
Berths: 0
Price: $10m
Adrenalin factor: 70%

Dawn Riley

US sailor Dawn Riley was the first woman to manage an America’s Cup sailing team. She raced on four America’s Cup and two Whitbread Around the World Race teams, was named Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year and inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. She heads up Oakcliff Sailing, a competitive sailing training centre in Oyster Bay, New York.

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