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America’s Cup: The rising cost of sailing’s ultimate prize

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£10,000

The initial wager

by Patrick Kidd

The America’s Cup is a peculiarly ugly trophy — and it lacks a bottom, so you can’t even drink from it — yet some of the richest men in history have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in an attempt to own it.

Spending oodles on the Cup is a tradition that goes right back to its beginning. John Cox Stevens, commodore of the New York Yacht Club, led a six-man syndicate that brought a 31 metre schooner called America across the Atlantic Ocean in 1851 to make money. They began by placing adverts challenging all-comers (with no age, ability or experience restrictions) to race for a wager of £10,000 (the equivalent of about $1.5 million today), but got no takers.

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