Historic yacht America to arrive in Southport July 17

On Sunday July 17, the 139-foot schooner America, a replica of the world’s most famous racing yacht, for which the America’s Cup was named in 1851, will be making a one-day stop in Southport.

America is on an extensive tour of the Gulf and East coasts and the Caribbean to raise awareness of the 2017 America’s Cup defense in Bermuda, and the vessel will be docked at Southport Harbor for just 24 hours.

Beginning at about 9 a.m. on Sunday, America will glide down Southport Harbor, giving residents and members of the public a rare photo-opportunity as the boat passes the village’s Ye Yacht Yard at the end of Harbor Road and then Perry Green, ultimately coming to rest in front of Pequot Yacht Club, 669 Harbor Road, Southport, (limited street parking only).

From 1 to 3 p.m. the public will have the unique opportunity to board the boat at Pequot Yacht Club and learn the history of the original racing yacht which beat a fleet of Britain’s finest and launched the America’s Cup 165 years ago.

This tour is free, but donations are welcomed and will support America’s mission to spark excitement about the latest America’s Cup racing; and to engage the next generation of sailing fans by highlighting the technologies that have elevated the sport to its present state.

The schooner, captained by Troy Sears, is a near perfect replica built in 1995 at a cost of more than $6 million.

America’s history

Among the world’s most beautiful racing yachts, America is also the most famous, for it truly put the sport of yachting on the map. In 1851, the original boat won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s race around the Isle of Wight. Henceforth, that “100 Guinea Cup” was officially renamed “The America’s Cup” — not for the country but for the boat.

The winners of the 1851 race, members of the New York Yacht Club, donated the trophy to their club, to be held as a “challenge” trophy, which was successfully defended by the United States until 1983 and remains the longest winning streak in sporting history.

Designed by a young genius who combined the best of Old World theory and New World practicality, and owned by a syndicate of powerful men out to prove American maritime prowess, the original America did what almost everyone thought was impossible.

The schooner’s later career was equally as colorful: a conveyor of secret agents, Confederate blockade runner, Union warship, Naval Academy training vessel, and the pride and joy of a famous Civil War general and politician. By her end in 1945, America was one of the most honored vessels in the United States. The original was destroyed during World War II.

More information about America: nextlevelsailing.com/yachtamerica

139-foot schooner America

139-foot schooner America

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