The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest international sports yachting trophy.

First contested in 1851, it predates the Olympic Games by 45 years. It all began in New York, when a syndicate of businessmen sailed their schooner America to the World’s Fair in England. America (for which the trophy was later named) won a race around the Isle of Wight, beating a fleet of 15 British yachts, and claimed the sterling silver ewer trophy.

Originally called The One Hundred Guinea Cup (and affectionately known as the “Auld Mug”), the cup had been donated to the event by Henry William Paget, 1st Marquis of Anglesey.

Apparently, as America passed the Royal Yacht to take first place, and saluted by dipping its ensign three times, Queen Victoria enquired who was in second place. Her attendant replied: “Your Majesty, there is no second.”

It was the start of the longest winning streak in the history of international sport, with the USA successfully defending the cup on 24 occasions from 1870 until 1980. Finally, in 1983, Australia II was the first challenger to lift the trophy.

To read more about the history of the America’s Cup, go to

The America's Cup Trophy at the announcement of the Protocol of the 36th America's Cup at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron

Five teams are competing in 2021

Emirates Team New Zealand (defending the trophy)

Luna Rossa PRADA Pirelli team

NYYC American Magic


Stars & Stripes Team USA

Key Dates

17-20 Dec 2020 America’s Cup World Series Auckland and Christmas Race

15 Jan-22 Feb 2021     The PRADA Cup Challenger Series

6-21 March 2021 36th America’s Cup, presented by PRADA

The America’s Cup – By the numbers


30 – USA
(incl. the original Isle of Wight race)

3 – New Zealand

2 – Switzerland

1 – Australia

0 – Great Britain

14.7kg Approx weight of the “Auld Mug”

US$100 million – Estimated cost for each team to compete
US$300 million – Estimated amount spent by 2013’s winning team (Oracle Team USA)

The AC75 Boat

20.7m – Hull length
2.0m – Bowsprit
6.5 tonnes Weight
26.5m Mast height (from the deck)

135-145 sq m – Mail sail
90 sq m -Jib
200 sq m – Code zero

11 Sailors
960-990kg Crew weight
20% or 3 Crew members who must be citizens of the country of the competing
(whichever is higher) yacht club

Tragedy struck in 2013. Artemis Racing crew member Andrew
Simpson was killed when the boat “pitchpoled” (flipped end over end) and broke apart.

Christmas spectacular

The America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) Auckland and Christmas Race will be held on the same courses as the PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series and the 36th America’s Cup. The teams will gain vital opportunities to experience the race conditions they could face in March 2021.

“To win the America’s Cup, first you have to win the PRADA Cup.”

This series consists of four round robins of three races each, a seven-race semi-final, and a 13-race final between the two leading teams. Each win earns one point. The highest ranked challenger at the end of the round robins will automatically qualify for the final. The remaining teams will race in the semi-final with the first team to reach four point qualifying for the final. The PRADA Cup is a “striking new trophy” from renowned designer Marc Newsom CBE, “painstakingly handcrafted by Florentine silversmiths”.

AC36: the pinnacle of yachting

Emirates Team New Zealand will race the winner of the PRADA Cup. Who will be the first to reach seven points, and hold that longed-for trophy aloft?

The race courses

There are five designated areas across the Hauraki Gulf. Race management will determine which course will be used on which day, depending upon tides, and wind direction and strength.

Course A is northernmost, and closest to the East Coast Bays.

To learn more about all the courses and their viewing vantage points, go to

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