The British-American Cup was started in the 1920s, a friendly four v. four match between fellow yachting enthusiasts who met during WW I on the battlefields of Europe. The first event held in International Six Metres between Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (Oyster Bay, NY) and the Royal Yacht Squadron (Isle of Wight, UK) started a tradition that went through 5.5 metres, Olympic Solings, Sonars and now J/80s.

British-American Cup 2010

I have been privledged to be a part of the BA Cup team since 2007. The US has dominated this championship in the past decade when it was sailed in Sonars every two years on both sides of the pond and both teams have drawn from their nation’s top Olympic and world team race champions.It is fascinating, but understood that in both countries, this insular event is little known, though its sailors work a rigorous two-year training schedule in 4v4 team racing, a rarely used format often seen in children’s Optimist dinghy racing. A lot can be learned from their approach. It is also inspiring that the racing was world class and all the sailors had other careers and in the US case, growing families. It can be done.

In 2010 the event was switched to J/80s and sailed at the Queen Mary Sailing Club, hosted by the Royal Thames Yacht Club. This is on a reservoir high above the surrounding town with clean wind and a short drive from Heathrow. The Brits did an amazing job of preparation and won with military precision over our team that included multiple world and national champions, and a double Olympian. Please learn more about this fantastic, albeit essoteric event.

I will be writing about the history of the BA Cup but in a time when yacht clubs and blazers are getting criticized for being too exclusive or their racing being too boring to watch, please remember that we would be no where without the foundation of yacht racing proper in the world – our yacht clubs.

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