A Matter of Pride
Wind-filled sails call out to international trophy seekers at the America’s Cup.BY WHITNEY BUTLER On any given day, from the miles of shoreline in San Diego, boats fill the Pacific waters of picture-perfect harbors, dry docks and piers, gliding in and out of view while the sun slowly moves overhead and out to sea. In San Diego, nothing so effortlessly nuances the California dream like the nautical compass—one that points in the direction of somewhere far off the fading bluffs or brings a salty old sailor back home. Maritime treasures decorate almost every souvenir boutique in Seaport Village and the city boasts the largest United States Navy base on the West Coast. The sea is clearly in our blood. For some, it’s a pastime—a recreational activity that captures the essence of our SoCal lifestyle, whether on the wind or from the comfort of a luxury yacht. For others, it’s a job. And for those who take a more aggressive approach, it’s a passionate quest for glory that requires dedication and commitment, a story with rich and international history. A sailing competition since 1851, America’s Cup is a competition for the oldest active trophy in international sports. It is a race between two yacht clubs—a defender and a challenger—for stewardship of the cup. The event got its name when the America, a schooner from The New York Yacht Club, passed the royal yacht in the Isle of Wight. Queen Victoria famously asked one of her attendants to tell her who was in second place, to which he replied, “Your Majesty, there is no second.” Since then, countries have been vying for the only prize and the ensuing bragging rights. The San Diego Yacht Club was a part of this storied history, winning the cup from Australia in 1987 and holding it until 1995.
Originally appeared in print August 2013.READ COMPLETE PRINT VERSION