First contested in 1851, the America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport, even predating the modern Olympic Games. Now, 166 years later, from 26th May, the very best sailors on the planet will gather in Bermuda and go head-to-head in the picturesque waters of the Great Sound.
Taking place over a whole month, the cup features a number of other unmissable events, including the America’s Cup J Class Regatta and the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta. There is also a lively social scene and many Bermudan attractions to visit away from the racing.
America’s Cup World Series
Since November 2015, teams from Sweden, Great Britain, New Zealand, France, Japan and the USA have been battling it out on foiling wing-sailed catamarans at events around the globe. Overall rankings in this World Series racing circuit determine the seeding for the America's Cup Qualifiers.
The qualifiers will get underway in Bermuda from 26th May to 3rd June. Each competitor races each other competitor twice, scoring one point per win. The top four challengers advance to the Challenger Playoffs which, split into two semi-finals, take place from 4th to 12th June.
The winners of the semi-finals then race in a final to determine the top challenger, who will go up against the defender, ORACLE TEAM USA, from 24th June to 27th June. The first team to earn seven points will be crowned the overall winner and presented with the America’s Cup ewer.
America’s Cup J Class Regatta
On 16th, 19th and 20th June, the America’s Cup will be graced by the J Class fleet. These majestic sailing yachts competed for the cup during the 1930s and, out of the 10 ever built, three still survive, including the 37m/120ft sailing yacht ‘Shamrock V’ and the 128ft/39m sailing yacht ENDEAVOUR.
Since the J Class Assn (JCA) was founded, six replica J Class yachts have been built in modern materials to original designs, and these are expected to compete alongside Shamrock V in the America’s Cup J Class Regatta.
Berthed at Hamilton Princess Marina, the J Class fleet will race in Murray’s Anchorage on Bermuda’s north shore and, making history, they will showcase the heritage and tradition of the America’s Cup in fine style. The scoring system ensures the old and new builds can compete fairly together.
There will be a chance for superyachts to get in on the thrill of racing with the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta
America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta
From 13th to 15th June, before the America’s Cup Match begins, there will be a chance for superyachts to get in on the thrill of racing with the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta.
The off-shore racing will take place northeast, east and south of Bermuda, starting from the area close to St George's Harbour, and the fleet will be divided into classes based on the size and specifications of the entrants.
Among those signed up are a number of charter yachts, including the spectacular 88m/289ft superyacht ‘Maltese Falcon’, a fellow Perini Navi build, the 60m/197ft superyacht PERSEUS^3, and the 47m/156ft superyacht HYPERION, which is a regular on the regatta circuit.
Watching the Racing
Spectators attending the cup races on a luxury yacht charter can incorporate a VIP package into their visit. With a VIP flag, their charter yacht will have access to a front row view of the race course, immediately adjacent to the race boundary, to be at the heart of the racing.
It also includes entry into the America’s Cup Official Opening Ceremony on 26th May, as well as a range of other parties and events, including prize-giving ceremonies, post-race press conferences and a Big Superyacht Gala.
To get even closer to the racing, spectators can follow the race on a tender or, for a bird’s eye view, head to the skies by incorporating a private helicopter charter into their vacation.
Away From the Track
There is certainly much to see and do away from the track. Set adrift, 650 miles off the east coast of America, the 181 islands of Bermuda are draped in the azure waters of the Sargasso Sea and offer 21-square-miles of natural beauty, vibrant island culture and idyllic sailing conditions.
Coral-pink sand beaches, limestone-carved caves and the lively hub of Horseshoe Bay Beach make up the southern shores. Conditions are perfect for watersports while there is much to discover under the water thanks to coral-encrusted shipwrecks and a rich array of marine life.
There are also world-class golf courses, and attractions such as the 400-year-old settlement of St George’s which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Royal Naval Dockyard and the Crystal Caves, where otherworldly formations exist under the surface of a subterranean lake.
The 181 islands of Bermuda are bathed in the azure waters of the Sargasso Sea and offer 21-square-miles of natural beauty