Replica of legendary yacht to race ‘Spirit’
A replica of the legendary yacht that gave the America's Cup its name will square off against Spirit of Bermuda in next year's 50th Newport to Bermuda Race.
America started the America's Cup tradition in 1851 by defeating the best the British could offer in a race around the Isle of Wight.
She will make her debut in the 635-nautical mile race after an extensive tour promoting the 35th America's Cup.
“The yacht America is going to do a promotional tour of the America's Cup, taking people out on the West Coast and the Caribbean and the East Coast of the United States,” Tucker Thompson, the official TV and public host of the 35th America's Cup, told The Royal Gazette.
“That tour is going to culminate in 2016 from the East Coast of the United States and Spirit of Bermuda, as I understand, will be joining her through a few specific major venues. At the end of that tour the two yachts will race in the Bermuda race.
“The unique part of that is sort of a metaphor of bringing America's Cup or America to Bermuda, and also tying in the history and the heritage of sailing in Bermuda and in America with the America's Cup all culminating in Bermuda.
“America and Spirit of Bermuda will then both be there for the America's Cup.”
Spirit of Bermuda has appeared in the previous two Bermuda races and was fourth in line honours in this year's Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race, with Governor George Fergusson among her crew.
“Watching those guys come down in the Marion Race this year was absolutely incredible,” said Peter Durhager, chairman of the America's Cup Bermuda.
“The challenge is on between America and the Spirit of Bermuda. It is going to be a lot of fun to see what happens in that and it's a pretty good bet that we will be in the hunt.”
Grant Gibbons, Minister of Economic Development, said: “One of the fastest vessels in Lord Nelson's fleet at Trafalgar was a Bermuda-rigged boat, so perhaps that's an indication of what would have happened in the first race around the Isle of Wight.”
The next instalment of the biennial Newport to Bermuda Race will be held in June next year.
The race was founded by a sailboat designer and racer, Thomas Fleming Day, who won the inaugural race in 1906.