Battle for the world's oldest and most prestigious trophy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 September, 2011, 12:00am


The America's Cup is the oldest sporting event in the world, first won by the US in the yacht 'America' after a race around the Isle of Wight in southern England against Britain in 1851, watched by Queen Victoria

Until 1970, there were only two competitors, the cup holders and the challengers. This was changed to allow a Challenger Selection Series, now known as the Louis Vuitton Cup, which decides from an international fleet who shall challenge the holders in the final

Only five nations have won the trophy - America (20), New Zealand (2), Australia (1), Britain (1 - as first cup defenders in 1851) and landlocked Switzerland (2)

In March 1997, a person entered the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's clubroom and damaged the America's Cup with a sledgehammer, citing political reasons

The 1988 event was dogged by a series of legal battles with New Zealand taking victors the US to court, arguing the 'friendly competition between nations' was unfair because the Americans raced in a catamaran, winning by miles. NZ won that case but the verdict was overturned at a later hearing and the cup was handed back to the US team

In 2010, rule changes saw traditional mono-hull yachts dropped in favour of one-design catamarans

Battle for the world's oldest and most prestigious trophy