The America’s Cup – A Short Introduction

The America’s Cup is the oldest international trophy in world sport, pre-dating the modern Olympics, the Ryder Cup and the World Cup – and Britain has never won it. The first race was organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1851, the same year that both Reuters and the New York Times were founded. It was a single race around the Isle of Wight, open to yachts of all nations. The prize was a silver Cup that was valued at One Hundred Pounds sterling. The black schooner America won this nascent contest of maritime supremacy, outclassing the rest of the field to be first at the finish line off Cowes. To honour that victory, it was renamed the America’s Cup and became a challenge trophy, open to sailing clubs of all nations.

American teams representing the New York Yacht Club successfully defended the Cup against all challenges for 132 years – the longest winning streak in sport – until an Australian team won in 1983. Since then the Cup has become a truly global phenomena, with challenges from all five continents, and held in locations spread around the world – Cowes, New York, Newport RI, Fremantle, San Diego, Auckland, Valencia and San Francisco.

Emirates New Zealand are the defenders and current holders of the America's Cup, they won the 36th America's Cup in New Zealand 2021, representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. The defenders are taking the Cup to Barcelona in September 2023, where the 37th America's Cup will be held.


INEOS Britannia is the 'Challenger of Record' for the 37th America's Cup and are in charge of the Selection Series to decide who will race against New Zealand for the trophy. The unique format of the Cup sees the Defender of the trophy automatically entitled to race in the final ‘Match’ whereas the Challengers will undertake a series to find the top yacht to take on the New Zealand team. Confirmed entries for AC37 are: Alinghi Red Bull Racing from Switzerland, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli from Italy, American Magic New York Yacht Club from the USA and K-Challenge from France.

Photo: © ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget