Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oh, How Times Have Changed

Continuing in the AC vein - if not this week then when? - here is a link to a terrific June 23 NYT article about the Cup in historical context. The story notes quite accurately that the battle being fought in Spain this week bears little resemblance to the inaugural race contested off the Isle of Wight in 1851...the "America" he refers to was the Schooner America, the campaign yacht for a syndicate headed by American John Cox Stevens...and the winner of the One Hundred Guinea Cup, August 22nd 1851, defeating 14 British yachts in a fleet race organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron.

"That regatta, known as the Hundred Guinea Cup, was a fleet race around the island in sturdy yachts made of hardwoods, iron and copper that often featured staterooms below decks and carried plenty of wine and provisions. It took nearly 11 hours for America to complete the 50-mile journey and win. Other yachts in the fleet did not finish until the next morning or did not finish at all."
After all this was well over a 100 years ago and the AC ain't the only victim of the times. In the next graph the journalist gives us the modern day synopsis.
"The America’s Cup in Valencia is a best-of-nine match-racing series around buoys in carbon-fiber yachts where lightness is king everywhere except for the bottom of the keel and where the wine remains on shore unless it is being poured on someone’s head in celebration. Winning a race can take less than two hours, but winning the Cup has become a four-year process or more, complete with regattas, sponsorship obligations and television cameras on board."

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