The oldest trophy in international sports that’s still being competed for is the sailboat racing trophy known as the America’s Cup. Named for the first boat that won it, this cup can be challenged for under the terms of its Deed of Gift.
How does this work, exactly? It is fairly simple. The team who currently holds the cup is the defenders, and other yacht clubs can challenge them, if they meet all of the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift. Then, when the defenders have been challenged and a location has been chosen, teams from all around the world compete in The America’s Cup World Series. There are two different kinds of winners in this race, one chosen for overall performance and score, and one for winning match races.
Next comes the Louis Vuitton cup. Positioning in this competition can be earned during the America’s Cup World Series. The really exciting thing about this competition is that the results determine who gets to race against the defending team. Strangely, before the Louis Vuitton Cup was added, nobody ever seemed to defeat the defenders. The America’s Cup was held by a team called the New York Yacht Club for over a hundred years, in spite of them having been challenged some 24 times. Then, in 1983, the Louis Vuitton Cup was introduced to the competition, and New York Yacht Club was finally defeated. Since then, the Cup has changed hands a few times, far more than it had been passed in the last century. This proves that the Louis Vuitton Cup is far more than just another event, added for the sake of excitement- it is a taste of what’s to come in the finals, and a chance for the challengers to hone their skills before taking on the champs.
After the Louis Vuitton Cup comes the finals, in which the winner of the America’s Cup will be decided. This is when the defending team will either maintain their title or have to pass the Cup on to a new champion. This year, the defenders are Oracle Team USA, a racing team from the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco, California. The Royal Swedish Yacht club has challenged them, and the winner will be determined in 2013. The America’s Cup World Series, however, is already underway, with some races having been run this August, and a few more coming up in early October.
The defenders, in this case, Team Oracle USA, have an opportunity to pick all the technical details of all the races. For 2012-2013, they have chosen the AC45 catamaran for the races of the America’s Cup World Series. For the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup Finals, a newer type of boat, the AC72, will be used. The team had the competition in mind when they chose this particular boat, as it should allow for more cost-efficient construction. The lower cost will help to make the competition a little more even, and a little more attractive to sponsors and investors. Add to that the widespread accessibility of the races through television and the Internet, and there’s a good chance this competition could become even more important in the near future.