On this day in history, August 22, 1851, the schooner America wins the first America’s Cup trophy

The schooner “America” ​​won the so-called “America's Cup” race on this day in history, August 22, 1851.

The race, then known as the Hundred Guinea Cup, referring to the value of the trophy, was sponsored by the Royal Yacht Squadron of Great Britain. It consisted of a race around the Isle of Wight.

“America,” a 100-foot schooner built by George Steers and William H. Brown and entered by the New York Yacht Club, won the event, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. The trophy was renamed the America's Cup in his honor.


The trophy then became a ‘challenge trophy' and is now open to ‘sailing clubs of all nations', according to the website of INEOS Britannia, a British sailing team.

While countries are free to nominate ships, “every competing ship must be designed, built and, as far as practicable, outfitted exclusively in the country it represents,” states the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Painting of a sailing boat

A James Bard painting of the America schooner yacht that won the first America's Cup race on this day in history, August 22, 1851. (Wikimedia Commons)

The second America's Cup was not awarded until 1870.

This race was also won by the New York Yacht Club.

The New York Yacht Club also won the next few races.

“American teams representing the New York Yacht Club successfully defended the trophy against all challenges for 132 years – the longest winning streak in the sport – until an Australian team won in 1983,” said INEOS Britannia.

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Australia's victory in 1983 made the race a “truly global phenomenon”, said INEOS Britannia.

The winner chooses the venue for the following America's Cup.

Team New Zealand wins the America's Cup

Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling holds up the America's Cup trophy after beating Italy's Luna Rossa in the 10th race of the America's Cup at Waitemata Harbor in Auckland March 17, 2021. Team New Zealand will be the defender at the upcoming 37th America's Cup. (Alan Lee/Photosport via AP)

It took place “in locations around the world – Cowes, New York, Newport RI, Fremantle, San Diego, Auckland, Valencia and San Francisco,” said INEOS Britannia.

Although the UK originated the race, a UK team has yet to win.

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The modern take on the America's Cup is a far cry from the race around the Isle of Wight in 1851.

Instead of all participants now competing at once – a “fleet race” as was the case in 1851 – the America's Cup will be decided in a series of games.

America's Cup Trophy Featuring Prince William and Princess Kate

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge stand next to the America's Cup trophy at the end of the British leg of the America's Cup World Series July 26, 2015 in Portsmouth, England. No team from Great Britain has ever won the America's Cup. (Luke MacGregor – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Those matches will take place the year before the final, which sees the previous America's Cup holders take on the winner of the playoffs earlier in the year, Britannica said.


The 37th America's Cup will be held in Barcelona from October 12-20, 2024, according to the event's website.

The preliminary round matches will start in September 2023.


The defending champion is Emirates Team New Zealand.

Event challengers include Alinghi Red Bull Racing of Switzerland, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli of Italy, New York Yacht Club American Magic of the United States, INEOS Britannia of the UK and Orient Express Team of France.

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