America’s Cup: Monohull or Multihull?

Published on June 23rd, 2017

The America’s Cup first got a glimpse of multihulls in 1988 when the USA defender thwarted a Deed of Gift challenge by New Zealand, which led to a mismatch between Michael Fay’s 130-foot monohull, KZ-1, and Dennis Conner’s 60-foot catamaran, Stars & Stripes, with the later winning 2-0.

The next sighting was for the Deed of Gift challenge in 2010, this time between Société Nautique de Genève defending with the 90-foot catamaran Alinghi against Golden Gate Yacht Club, and their 90-foot trimaran BMW Oracle Racing, with the later winning 2-0.

When the new defender began planning for the 2013 America’s Cup, their vision was to popularize the competition in hopes of heightening its commercial appeal. Their plan was to make the boats more exciting to watch and bring the action close to shore so people could see it. Improved broadcast tools also presented the action so it could be better understood.

The move to multihulls in 2013, and again in 2017, has not been fully embraced.

To look look back for contrast, this video documents the 1974 America’s Cup held in September between US defender, Courageous, skippered by Ted Hood, and Australian challenger, Southern Cross, skippered by James Hardy in Newport, Rhode Island. Courageous beat Southern Cross four races to zero.


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