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One for the record books

Victorious skipper: Coutts led Team New Zealand at the 30th America's Cup

As we countdown to the 35th America’s Cup The Royal Gazette will bring you one fun fact a day about the boats, the sailors, the crew, or the history of this illustrious competition. There are now 30 days until the month-long sporting spectacle gets under way.

The 30th America’s Cup was a landmark moment in the history of the competition, with America missing from the contest as either challenger or defender for the first time since the first race in 1851.

After winning the 29th America’s Cup in 1995 in San Diego, Team New Zealand accepted the challenge from the New York Yacht Club and announced the next event would be in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2000.

To accommodate the schedule the Louis Vuitton Cup was pencilled in for late 1999. While the NYYC was the challenger or record, some 11 teams had entered to officially challenge Team New Zealand, who would once again be skippered by Russell Coutts.

Five teams from the United States entered, while France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Japan, and Australia, led by a young Jimmy Spithill, all threw their hats into the ring.

Ultimately, the battle for the right to face the defenders came down to a fight between Prada Challenge, the Italian boat skippered by Francesco de Angelis, and AmericaOne, skippered by Paul Cayard. In a tight contest, Prada Challenge emerged victorious 5-4, winning the final two races after falling 4-3 behind.

The 30th America’s Cup was not nearly as close, with Team New Zealand sweeping their Italian challengers 5-0 in a one-sided affair.