The Evolution of Yachting at The America’s Cup Finals

The Evolution of Yachting at The America’s Cup Finals

From Sir Thomas Lipton’s Shamrock V to the newly launched Svea, the 35th edition of the America’s Cup is bringing together the biggest fleet in the history of the J class to race in the waters off Bermuda.

The evolution of yachting will be televised this year—the hydro foiling cats will be bombing around the cans and the J-Class, which competed for the cup throughout the 1930’s, will bring back the spirit of the one design class challenging for the ‘Chart’.

The original winner of The America’s Cup in 1851, “America”, was the boat that gave the trophy its name. It was a 101 foot monohull schooner which carried over 5,400 square feet of sail, and the golden years of the Cup with the J’s.

Sir Thomas Lipton's Shamrock I and JP Morgan's yacht Columbia, maneuvering for the start of the America's Cup race, October, 1899. Photo from Getty Images.

Technology and development has been a big part of the America’s Cup since the beginning—and this year’s cup is no different as teams search for any advantage to get that extra knot of speed.

In terms of evolution, the boats themselves are controversial, yet innovative, changing the AC Class of boat by two-folds.

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In contrast is the America’s Cup Class, a 50 foot long carbon fibre catamaran featuring a wingsail and hydrofoiling technology that enables the boats to fly above the water. This is achieved by the boat being lifted above the water by a carbon fibre fin about the size of a 5’2 fish known as a foil. As the boat speeds up, they lift out of the water.

Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - 35th America's Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton - J Class fleet exhibition

Using the lift generated by the daggerboards and rudders, the game is to keep the hull above the water line, sailing on a set of carbon-fiber foils that give enough lift to have the boat looking at fly time hitting speeds of up to 50 knots, which has come a long way from the Schooner America, the J Class and the monohulls of the 80’s and 90’s.

Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup Bermuda 2017 - 35th America's Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton - J Class exhibition

The clear waters of Bermuda will have an evolution that, in design, has changed, but with the tactics remaining the same. From the J’s to the AC’s, we are looking at a month’s sailing that for the spectator, professional and novice alike, will showcase an ocean of history in the water.

With the contest for the cup already begun, the challengers have been fighting it out in a one-on-one knockout series of sailing, with it coming down to the playoffs final with Emirates Team New Zealand and ‘The Swedes’ Artemis racing, with helmsman Peter Burling’s Emirates coming out on top.

Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - 35th America's Cup Match Presented by Louis Vuitton - J Class exhibition

The teams are now challenging for the oldest trophy in sport, with the team to beat being cup holders ‘the’ Oracle Team USA.

The next days of sailing are going to be epic!

The next round of races take place June 24th-27th and The Outdoor Journal is on the island and in the sheds to bring you some of the action from the water, with updates on the boats and a bit of behind the scenes beers and discussions of the days racing with the captains and crews. Stay tuned!

35th Americas Cup - The Finals:
Oracle Team USA the holders
Emirates Team New Zealand the challengers

Americas Cup J Class Regatta
The line-up for the J’s is an amazing 7 boats, Being the biggest fleets of boats in the history of the class.

JK3 Shamrock V 1930
JK7 Velsheda 1933
J5 Ranger 2004
JK6 Hanuman 2009
JH1 Lionheart 2010
J8 Topaz 2015
JS1 Svea 2016

For more information, head to the America's Cup website.

Feature image by Ricardo Pinto / America's Cup Match