Cowes Week might be worth attending as a spectator this year. The Extreme Sailing Series Europe will return to the regatta to give those on shore something to watch while the rest of the fleet disappears to every corner of the Solent, and two of the world’s best funded sailing teams will compete for a new ‘America’s Cup’.
The 1851 CUP (TEAMORIGIN LOVE THE CAPS BUTTON ON THEIR KEYBOARD) – will recreate the original race around the Isle of Wight that started the whole thing off.
Sir Keith Mills, Team Principal of TEAMORIGIN, has invited current America’s Cup defender, BMW ORACLE Racing, to compete in a match race tournament that will involve a race clockwise around the Island over the historic original course that saw the birth of the America’s Cup in 1851.
In that summer of 1851, fourteen British yachts raced a visiting US yacht called ‘America’, clockwise around the Isle of Wight. The American yacht won. Her owners were awarded a silver ewer, which became, and continues to be to this day, one of the world’s leading sports trophies – the America’s Cup.
Named for the year of the original race The 1851 Cup is a new invitational match race regatta which will become a perpetual event that will be competed for by America’s Cup teams invited by TEAMORIGIN and the Royal Thames Yacht Club. This year the British and American teams will use their own ACC Version 4 boats, GBR-75 and USA-76, both are currently being prepared for shipping from Valencia.
Ben Ainslie, TEAMORIGIN Skipper and Helmsman, said:
“This will be an incredible event which I am sure will capture the imagination of sports fans across the UK. We relish the idea of taking on the Defenders in our home waters. The complex tides and winds of the Solent are always challenging even to a team that has raced here a thousand times before. But the opportunity to show our home crowds what we are up to and what we are about is fantastic. We have a busy season in 2010 but The 1851 Cup will surely be the jewel in the crown for us.”
Apparently, Cowes week attracts 100,000 spectators. It’s not known how the new race will cater for these fans. The main race will enable the crowds to watch the start and finish, with 4-6 hours of nothing in between – depending on the weather. Further details on the actual race programme and format, dates and exact location of racing will take place over the coming weeks.
TEAMORIGIN is also using The 1851 Cup regatta to promote the concept of international match racing competition in big boats in the Britain. Ports around the UK interested in hosting a full America’s Cup build-up regatta, with up to 12 teams racing over two weeks during the summer months from as soon as 2011, will have the chance to come and understand some of the logistics and opportunities associated with this kind of event.