In historical terms, the America’s Cup itself is recognised as the oldest international sporting trophy, and one of the most recognisable.
Affectionately known as Auld Mug, the now 44-inch solid silver cup is awarded to what could be categorised as the fastest ‘yacht’ in the world. A challenger must defeat a number of rivals for the right to face off against the holder with the next competition in 2021.
The current custodian of the cup is Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, RNZYS. The 2021 competition will take place at Auckland in New Zealand
America’s Cup 36 and The Prada Cup challenger race
The start date for AC36 may be two years away but work at Auckland Harbour in New Zealand is well underway. Intensive work to construct a state-of-the-art facility is on-going, with boats officially allowed to arrive on site as early as March 2019.
At the final declaration stage there were six challengers to the cup holders but the participation of at least one of the crews is already in doubt. The Malta Altus team’s entry is under threat following a dragged-out arbitration process which has hindered their preparations. It is always the case the America’s Cup is as much a legal fight as a sailing contest. Question marks also remain over Stars & Stripes, the second American team, and DutchSail.
The other teams are British entrants Ineos Team UK and the NYYC’s American Magic.
The challenger of record – official challenger – is Italian team Luna Rossa and the agreed racing craft will be 75ft monohull vessels. The Prada Cup – challenger race – will take place in January and February 2021 before the America’s Cup races in March.
Ben Ainslie leads the challenge to take the cup back to Britain for the first time in nearly 170 years.
America’s Cup Betting strategy tips
With six teams currently scheduled to battle it out for the honour of taking on New Zealand, the best odds may be found in the Prada Cup.
The early test runs will be crucial once the teams start work in Auckland, and it will be important to pay close attention to all news from New Zealand.
Four-times Olympian gold medal winner Ben Ainslie is key to any chance the likely Prada Cup favourites, American Magic, can be beaten. Ainslie wouldn’t get involved in a project unless there was a chance of success and Britain’s hopes hinge on him. His skills will allow those crucial minutes to be shaved off and if good early runs are delivered the GB team may upset the odds
America’s Cup bets and betting sites
Check betting sites such as Pinnacle, William Hill and Betfair to find out what odds they’re offering on America’s Cup.
Perhaps unsurprisingly New Zealand will be firm favourites as they are already in the final. But remember you may have to wait until closer to the event when checking the America’s Cup betting markets on sites such as Pinnacle.
While it is easy to back a short-odds favourite it is worth remembering AC34, the racing taking place at San Francisco Bay in 2013.
The American holders brought in Ben Ainslie as tactician when they were 4-1 down, but they were 8-1 behind when the fightback began. They then won eight races on the bounce to triumph 9-8, one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history.
While the money on the Americans only started coming on when the comeback was well underway, they were 1000/1 to win at 8-1 down.
America’s Cup TV and streaming
At present the host country TVNZ, TV New Zealand, has the exclusive TV rights. They will cover the cup itself and the preceding Prada Cup where the challengers race off to face the trophy holders.
It was in February 1851 that a sailing challenge was issued in London by Lord Wilton, commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron.
One yacht, America, made its way from Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in an impressive 20 days to take on Britain’s finest. Its impressive speed saw it struggle to find any willing challengers before the Royal Yacht Squadron was ready to take it on.
A 53 nautical mile course was marked around the Isle of Wight as America took on 15 vessels of the Royal Yacht Squadron in August 1851. America triumphed by an impressive eight minutes from its nearest rival to claim the silver trophy, worth £100. Queen Victoria was present and when she asked who was second received the famous answer: “Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second.”
The trophy was renamed the America’s Cup, AC, and donated to the New York Yacht Club, NYYC. It was made available for perpetual international competition.
The first challenge was issued in 1870 by the Royal Thames Yacht Club but all attempts to win the trophy failed for more than 100 years. The trophy was held by NYYC until 1983 – the longest running winning streak in terms of dates in the history of sport. They were finally defeated by the Royal Perth Yacht Club with Australia II.
In 1987 the San Diego Yacht Club regained the trophy for the US. The cup has also been won by New Zealand (1995, 2000, 2017) and Switzerland (2003, 2007). The cup has never returned to Britain.
In 1970 the race was opened up with the official challenger coming through a series of races against competition for the right to race the holder.
Photo by Sail World