In 1851, the schooner America, sailing for the New York Yacht Club, beat the Royal Yacht Squadron and laid claim to its 100 Guinea Cup. Thus the America’s Cup was born – what is now the oldest trophy in international sport – earning its name from that first winning yacht rather than the country, though the US did go on to hold the trophy for 100 years.
Where is America's Cup yacht America now?
The famous America's cup yacht America changed hands – and names – a few times after the first historic race, and then wound up in the American Civil War as a Union ship. She stayed in the military as a training ship for the Navy until 1873, when she was sold to a former Civil War General for $5,000 (about $98,000 today). The general raced, maintained and refitted the boat, but after his death in 1893, she was passed down to his son who lacked interest in the schooner and allowed her to fall into disrepair. Despite being eventually donated back to the Navy, lack of maintenance left her seriously decayed. The nail was driven into the coffin when a major snowstorm caused the shed she was stored in to collapse in 1945, and America was scrapped and burned, bringing the history of one of the most famous sailing yachts of all times to a close.
America’s legacy lives on to do this day, and there are replicas of the schooner you can sail on to relive the glory of this historic vessel. Climb aboard the 32 metre America 2.0 replica (pictured in the inset above) in Key West (November-April) and New York (May-October), or on a 42 metre replica out in San Diego.