The five longest America’s Cup regattas

Published on September 22nd, 2013

Kris Shannon of APNZ takes a look at the five longest America’s Cup regattas.  (Updated on Sept. 23, see below)

1899 – New York City (USA), 18 days
The 10th Match has long held the duration record, taking 18 days for J.P. Morgan’s Columbia and Sir Thomas Lipton’s first Shamrock to get in a mere three races off New York, in weather that began with a summery calm and ended with the first taste of winter. The firs race, scheduled for Oct. 3, suffered seven failed tries before it was finally completed on Oct. 16 with a Columbia win. The second race was completed on the first attempt, on Oct. 17. Columbia won after Shamrock dropped out with a broken topmast. For race three on Oct. 19, the first attempt was abandoned due to calm, but the next day, a strong northerly (described by an observer as “sharp and frosty”) blew in. Columbia won the race and the match.

2013 – San Francisco (USA), 16 days and counting.
Beginning on September  7, Emirates Team New Zealand could conclude this seemingly never-ending regatta at 17 days on Monday (Sept 23) with a win but, the way the last few days have gone, don’t bet on it. A combination of high winds, low winds and misdirected winds – along with a pesky opposition – has seen the 34th America’s Cup stretch into the record books.

2003 – Auckland (NZL), 16 days
New Zealand were also involved in the previous longest regatta, one in which the interminable duration came with an equally-draining result. With winds on the Hauraki Gulf even more baffling than the Bay Area, Russell Coutts and Alinghi overcome nine straight days without racing to triumph 5-0 and wrest away the Cup.

1970 – Newport (USA), 14 days

The US defender, Intrepid, skippered by Bill Ficker, defeated the Australian challenger, Gretel II, skippered by James Hardy, four races to one. The first race was Sept. 15 and the last Sept. 28, with many race days postponed due to fog or calm, with both boats calling for lay days.

1983 – Newport (USA), 13 days
Historic for more than its length, the 25th America’s Cup marked the first time in the 132-year competition that the New York Yacht Club ceded possession of the Auld Mug. Dennis Conner’s Liberty held a handsome 3-1 lead over Australia II before the challenger won three straight races – the final by 41 seconds – to take home the trophy.

Correction: This was updated on Sept 23, 2013 when it was learned that the 1899 America’s Cup was the longest, and the 1970 edition was also in the top five. The original published report omitted these events, and included the events below…

2000 – Auckland (NZL), 12 days
For those complaining about the current edition’s continual delays and pining for a return of racing in Auckland, it is noteworthy that Team New Zealand’s two defences both feature on this list. The winds on the Hauraki Gulf were at their fickle best in 2000 and the hosts’ 5-0 sweep over Prada was marred by a pair of three-day lay-offs.

2007 – Valencia (ESP), 11 days
After three straight sweeps, the 32nd America’s Cup finally saw the challenger take a couple of races from the defender. Unfortunately for Team New Zealand, their early 2-1 advantage was undone when Alinghi won four consecutive races, claiming a regatta that mercifully featured just one day abandoned due to unstable winds.

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