The America’s Cup is the most famous trophy in the sport of sailing, as well as the oldest sporting trophy in the world that is still competed for today. It is a series of match race regattas, that is, between just two yachts racing against each other.
The two boats belong to two different Yacht Clubs, one representing the trophy holder (defender) and the other a challenger yacht club; the latter is in turn designated through a series of races between various contenders.
In the 1995, 2000, 2003 and 2007 editions, the cup, a silver jug also known as the Auld Mug, was awarded to the winner of a match in the best of nine races. The last edition was in 2017. Speaking of the origins of this race, we know that the competition originated on 22 August 1851 on the occasion of the first Universal Exhibition in London, when the British Royal Yacht Squadron challenged the New York Yacht Club with 14 boats on a course around the Isle of Wight. The New York Yacht Club decided to participate with only America, which not only surprisingly won the challenge but gave a good 21 minutes of lead to the second boat, the British Aurora. Much of the credit for this went to the expert navigator on board who instructed his crew to quietly travel an internal route to the buoys that delimited the shallow waters, so as to obtain an advantage of over a mile over the routes of the others: for the British it was instead implied that the island should be circumnavigated passing outside those buoys, but in reality the regulation did not impose this obligation and therefore the initial protests were withdrawn and the victory was awarded to America.
We have received an anecdote where Queen Victoria, having learned of America’s victory, would have asked which boat had come second, being told “There is no second, your Majesty” given the enormous detachment of the first from all the others. Hence the America’s Cup motto “there is no second”. The cup up for grabs was called “Cup of the hundred guineas” or even “Queen’s Cup”, but after the victory the Americans renamed it giving it its current name in honor of the winning boat.