With the countdown to the 35th America's Cup underway, we bring you some unusual facts about the race, and the sailors taking part
1. Britain has never won the America’s Cup
Despite the inaugural America’s Cup race taking place in Cowes in 1851, Britain has never won the “Auld Mug”.
The USA has won it 28 times, New Zealand and Switzerland twice, and Australia once.
2. Winners decide the race locations
The winner of the America’s Cup race has the right to decide the rules for the next contest, including the types of boats to be used, the location of the race course and when the race will take place.
In 2017, the challenge will take place in Bermuda.
3. The most successful racer
New Zealand sailor, Sir Russell Coutts has won the America’s Cup five times, including three times as skipper, where he has a perfect 14-0 record on the water (1995, 2000, 2003).
He was CEO of the Oracle Team when it won the America’s Cup twice with 13 wins and 8 losses in 2010 and 2013. Both times with James Spithill as skipper and helmsman.
He is now the CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), the organising body for the 35th America’s Cup.
4. It costs a lot to enter
The entry fee for the 2017 America’s Cup is $2 million per team. The defender is Team Oracle (USA).
The Challengers are: Land Rover BAR (UK), Artemis Racing (Sweden), Groupama (France), Emirates Team New Zealand and Softbank Team Japan.
5. Favourite food
Leading the UK challenge for the America’s Cup is Sir Ben Ainslie, the skipper and team principal of Land Rover BAR. His favourite food is beef wellington.
Defending in 2017 is the Australian Jimmy Spithill. He skippered Team Oracle (USA) to success in the 34th America’s Cup. He had previously won the “Auld Mug” in 2010 – the youngest skipper to ever win the silverware. His favourite food is anything “organic and natural, ideally caught or picked by me”.
6. The cup has been vandalised
In 1997 in New Zealand, a Maori activist damaged the America’s Cup trophy after hitting it with a sledgehammer. It was repaired by its makers, Robert Garrard of London.
7. A landlocked start
Glenn Ashby, the skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand, grew up in Bendigo, Victoria, in Australia.
He learnt to sail on a lake that was often near dry.
The 38-year-old, who goes by the nickname Gashby, is just the third Team New Zealand skipper in 20 years, after Sir Russell Coutts and Dean Barker.
8. A most persistent challenger
British tea magnate, Sir Thomas Lipton challenged for the trophy five times between 1899 and 1930.
Although he never won, he is credited as introducing the idea of sponsorship in sport.
The skipper of Artemis Racing, Australian sailor Nathan Outteridge, has a number of race superstitions.
These include never wearing the regatta shirt at the regatta and no hair cuts during events.
10. A tragic end
The gaff schooner, America, won the first America’s Cup, beating 15 years of the Royal Yacht Squadron in the club’s annual regatta around the Isle of Wight on 22 August 1851.
The trophy was renamed the America’s Cup after the yacht.
America continued to race until being sold to the Confederate State of America for use as a blockade running in the American Civil War.
After she was scuttled in Dunns Creek, the yacht was raised, repaired and renamed America by the Union, and served on the Union side for the remainder of the war.
After the war, America was used as a training ship at the U. S. Naval Academy.
America was again sold, and went back to competitive racing. After falling into disrepair, the vessel was sold to the America Restoration Fund, who donated her to the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
By 1940, the gaff schooner had been sorely neglected. The vessel’s condition deteriorated even further after the shed where America was stored collapsed in a heavy snowstorm.
The ship was finally scrapped and burnt in 1945.