What's in a name? America’s Cup boat names explained


The Land Rover BAR America's Cup raceboat

The 35th America’s Cup will see six of the world’s most high-tech sailing machines go head to head for sport’s oldest trophy, and the winners’ names will go down in the history books. But what have they chosen to name their raceboats and why?

For Groupama Team France no explanation is needed, as they have simply named their boat Groupama Team France, but for the other five teams, the origins of the names may not be so obvious…


The British entry for the 35th America’s Cup, Land Rover BAR is a new team founded by former Olympian Sir Ben Ainslie, and like all of Ainslie’s boats, Land Rover BAR’s America’s Cup Class raceboat will be called Rita.

The origins of the name date back to 1992, when Ainslie’s mother visited St Rita’s church during the Optimist World Championships in Tenerife. She brought back a badge and sewed it to her son’s lifejacket. 25 years later, Ainslie hopes that St Rita will continue to bring him good luck.

Photo: Harry KH


The SoftBank Team Japan America's Cup raceboat

Japanese entry SoftBank Team Japan asked the public to name its America’s Cup raceboat. The winning choice was Hikari, a Japanese word that means ‘flash of light’.

At the official unveiling in Bermuda, general manager Kazuhiko Sofuku said: “Our initial feelings are that the name is very appropriate. The Japanese community did a great job in picking this name. Hikari is going to be faster than our previous AC45S boat and maybe she will even go as fast as the speed of light, shine like a flash of lighting, and show our country a ray of hope in winning the 35th America’s Cup.”

Photo: Austin Wong / ACEA

Magic Blue

The Artemis Racing America's Cup raceboat

For Swedish team Artemis Racing, the name was inspired by the boat’s distinctive livery. Team principal Torbjörn Törnqvist decided on the name, explaining: “It is a beautiful, beautiful blue colour, and I believe the boat will be magic.”

Artemis Racing finished the America’s Cup World Series in fourth place and the team boasts former Olympians Iain Percy and Nathan Outteridge among its ranks.

Photo: Austin Wong / ACEA


The Emirates Team New Zealand America's Cup raceboat

Despite losing out in the dramatic finale of the 34th America’s Cup, Emirates Team New Zealand opted to keep the same name for 2017 and their pedal-powered raceboat. Aotearoa is the Maori word for New Zealand and literally translates as “land of the long white cloud”. The team emphasised its link to Maori culture in the naming ceremony, when the boat was blessed by a member of the Ngāti Whātua tribe.

Photo: Hamish Hooper


The Oracle Team USA America's Cup raceboat

The number 17 is considered to be lucky by Oracle Team USA principal Larry Ellison, who won the 1998 Sydney Hobart on his boat Sayonara, which was registered as number 17.

Since then, his winning streak has continued, with the 2010 and 2013 America’s Cup winning boats both being named 17. And with the 35th America’s Cup taking place in 2017, it is only fitting that this lucky number is kept once more.

Photo: Austin Wong / ACEA

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