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A bitter battle

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 17 days until the month-long sporting spectacle gets under way.

The New York Yacht Club entered 17 schooners for the 1870 America's Cup which was won by Franklin Osgood's Magic.

The 1870 America's Cup was the first to be hosted in the United States, and the first America's Cup due to the trophy being renamed from the 100 Guineas Cup of 1851. It was the first competition after the founding of the America's Cup event with the deed of gift in 1857.

The very first challenge would come from Englishman James Ashbury, who raced against a fleet from the New York Yacht Club just off Staten Island. After much dispute over the conditions for racing, Ashbury's Cambria finished tenth in the 17-boat fleet, prompting a second challenge the following year.

The 1871 America's Cup match was a precursor for many of the legal battles that would engulf the Cup over the next 100 years and more. After reportedly consulting his lawyers, Ashbury insisted on racing against just one boat, not an entire fleet and protested both the scoring of the races and the race committee who set the racecourse. In the end he limped home complaining bitterly about poor sportsmanship on the part of the Americans and insisting he had actually won the America's Cup, to no avail.

In future America's Cup events only one defender raced the challenger, with a series of races to decide the winner, unlike the single race of 1870.

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Published May 09, 2017 at 9:42 am (Updated May 09, 2017 at 9:42 am)

A bitter battle

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