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The America’s Cup is the most prestigious regatta and match race in the sport of sailing, and the oldest active trophy in international sport, predating the Modern Olympics by 45 years. The sport attracts top sailors and yacht designers because of its long history and prestige. Although the most salient aspect of the regatta is its yacht races, it is also a test of boat design, sail design, fundraising, and management skills. The cup, originally offered as the Royal Yacht Squadron cup, is now named after the first yacht to win the trophy, the schooner America. The trophy remained in the hands of the New York Yacht Club of the United States from 1852 or 1857 (when the syndicate that won the Cup donated the trophy to the club) until 1983 when the Cup was won by the challenger, Australia II of Australia, ending the longest winning streak in the history of sport. The skipper of Australia II, John Bertrand, was quoted in saying, “This puts yacht racing back on the map!”.

The America’s Cup regatta is a challenge-driven yacht series that currently involves a best-of-nine series of match racing (a duel between two boats). Since the 1992 match, the regatta has been sailed with the International America’s Cup Class (IACC) sloop, a monohull class. Boats that conform to the IACC rules typically have a length of about 75 feet (23 m). Any challenger who meets the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift, which governs the regatta, has the right to challenge the yacht club that holds the Cup. Since 1983, Louis Vuitton has sponsored the Louis Vuitton Cup as a prize for the winner of the challenger selection series (which was inaugurated for the 1970 match). The America’s Cup is a race between the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup and the current holder. If the challenging team wins the cup, the cup’s ownership is transferred from the defender’s yacht club to the winning team’s yacht club.


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