America's cup in Muscat

T-Mag Saturday 20/February/2016 22:06 PM
By: Times News Service
America's cup in Muscat

The America’s Cup: A brief history
First contested in 1851, America’s Cup, yachting’s greatest prize, is the oldest trophy in international sport, predating the modern Olympic Games by 45 years. The trophy’s roots date back to when a syndicate of businessmen from New York sailed the schooner America across the Atlantic Ocean to represent the United States at the World’s Fair in England.

The schooner won a race around the Isle of Wight and, with it, a trophy called the 100£ Cup. After winning the trophy, the United States embarked on what would become the longest winning streak in the history of sport, a 132-year stretch of domination that saw boats representing the country successfully defend the trophy 24 times from 1870 through 1980 — until 1983, when Australia became the first successful challenger to lift the trophy.

In over 160-years of competition, teams representing just four nations (the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland) have won the trophy. Oracle Team USA is the defending champion. It first won the Cup in 2010 and successfully defended the title in 2013.

The Oman leg is part of the opening stages of the 35th America’s Cup, which will be held in Bermuda in June 2017. It is the curtain raiser to the 2016 season, which will be spread over six different venues around the world.

Type of yacht
AC 45 class, a one-design catamaran powered by a wing sail, will be seen in action in the two-day race. Held down by a crew of five, this catamaran can cruise at speeds of over 30 knots in the right conditions. It is designed with a solid aeroplane wing-like sail and high tech hydrofoils to provide lift, and speed.

The contenders
Six teams: Emirates Team New Zealand, Oracle Team USA, Land Rover BAR, SoftBank Team Japan, Artemis Racing, (Skipper: Nathan Outteridge), and Groupama Team France, will vie for honours in Oman.

Competition format
The America’s Cup is the first stage of competition in the 2017 America’s Cup that began in the summer of 2015 with events in Portsmouth, Great Britain, Gothenburg, Sweden Hamilton, Bermuda, and Oman.
The circuit is an early opportunity to put points on the board that carry forward into the next stage of the competition. Overall ranking position determines the starting points score of the teams in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers in 2017.

A high-point scoring system is in place for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. For the two races on Saturday, the winner earns 10 points, second place collects 9 points, third place 8 points, and so on. Points are scored double on Sunday, when the winner of each race collects 20 points, second place 18 points, third place 16 points, and so on. The team with the most points at the conclusion of racing is the winner. (Ties are broken in favour of the team with the best result in the last race).

Current positions
After three events in 2015, Emirates Team New Zealand had a 10-point lead over second placed Oracle Team USA with Land Rover BAR from the UK in third, Artemis Racing from Sweden in fourth, Soft Bank Team Japan in fifth and Groupama from France in sixth.

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