The America’s Cup is one of the oldest and best-known trophies in international sailing yacht competition. It was first offered as the Hundred Guinea Cup on August 20, 1851, by the Royal Yacht Squadron of Great Britain for a race around the Isle of Wight. The cup was won by the America, a 100-foot (30-metre) schooner from New York City, and subsequently became known as the America’s Cup. The American winners of the cup donated it to the New York Yacht Club in 1857 for a perpetual international challenge competition. In 1987 the San DiegoYacht Club took control of the U.S. competition.
Since the 1920s the America’s Cup race has been between one defending vessel and one challenging vessel, both of which are determined in separate series of elimination trials. Each competing vessel must be designed, built, and, insofar as possible, outfitted solely in the country that it represents. Until 1995, the America’s Cup competition was a best four of seven races; from that year until 2007 it required five of nine races to win.
In 1983, after American yachts (sponsored by the New York Yacht Club) had successfully defended the cup 24 times without a loss since the first defense in 1870, the Australian yacht Australia II won the cup. In the next race, in 1987, the Americans (now from San Diego) regained the cup. The controversial race of 1988, between the winning American 60-foot (18-metre) catamaran and a New Zealander 132-foot (40-metre) monohull, had to be decided in the courts and provoked a redefinition of the rules governing future races.
1995 event was won by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, only the second victory by a non-American challenger in the history of the competition. The skipper of the New Zealand victory in 1995 was Russell Coutts, who also led New Zealand to a win in 2000; Coutts, skippering for a Swiss team, won a third consecutive victory in 2003. In 2007 the Swiss team, with Brad Butterworth as skipper, defended its title. An American team owned by businessman Larry Ellison, Oracle Team USA, recaptured the Cup in 2010. In 2013 the U.S. had one of the most-dramatic comebacks in sporting history: the American team was trailing New Zealand 8–1 in a best-of-17 series and then won the remaining eight races for the most-unexpected America’s Cup victory of all time. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)
The first leg of Sanders’ voyage was intended to go westward round the Cape of Good Hope, cross the Equator, then go round Cape Horn to Fremantle where the yacht would do a lap of the America’s Cup course in 1987. To qualify as a ‘true’ circumnavigation, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the sailor must go above the Equator for at least 24 hours. Originally, the voyage was scheduled to turn at Cape Verde above the Equator but Sanders’ radio mentor Jack Seabrook suggested the turning point be the Islands of St Peter and St Paul as this would save 10,000 nautical miles.
Sanders had promised his sponsor Kevin Parry that he would sail past the America’s Cup course off Fremantle on Thursday 29 January 1987, two days before the final match. He had requested that the Kookaburra‘s chase boats escort the Parry Endeavour across the Cup course to ensure that no one attempted to board the yacht. Had someone boarded the yacht, it would have disqualified his record attempt at a solo, non-stop triple-circumnavigation.
Sanders arrived in Fremantle at approximately 8.30am with two chase boats alongside. He was joined by the Sutherland, Parry’s power yacht, which carried media representatives. Sanders had a brief chat at sea with a group of people including Royal Perth Yacht Club Commodore Alan Crewe and Parry officials. Spectator craft included the Royal Perth Yacht Club’s Part VI, the Perie Banou skippered by Colin Sanders and the John Curtin which had WA Premier Brian Burke and Curtin Vice-Chancellor Don Watts on board. A crowd of more than 3,000 had assembled to wish Sanders well on the next leg of his voyage.
Fremantle Post Officer Frank Reid used a jet-powered chase-boat to deliver three bags of mail to the Parry Endeavour. This mail was vetted by Australia Post, Curtin University, Parry Corporation and Colin Sanders to ensure it did not contain any food or equipment that would help Sanders on his voyage. Although the rules of the Guinness Book of Records allowed the delivery of letters and newspapers, Sanders decided against further mail deliveries in the second and third circumnavigations. (Source Project Endeavour)
Perie Banou was launched and named at the Royal Perth Yacht Club on 9 November 1973. The name came from Sanders’ mother Dorothy who suggested naming the yacht after an Arabian princess from the book Tales of the Arabian Nights. The Perie Banou became the first WA yacht to circumnavigate the world. During this circumnavigation, from 1975 to 1977, Sanders also competed in the Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro Race and finished seventh in a field of 128 yachts.
Sanders became the first person to sail single-handedly twice around the world, non-stop and unassisted, sailing the Perie Banou from Fremantle on 6 September 1981 and arriving home again at Fremantle on 31 October 1982. The double circumnavigation broke records for the longest single-handed voyage at 48,510 miles, and the longest period alone on board a yacht at 419 days, 22 hours and 10 minutes.
Sanders bought the yacht Perie Banou with his younger brother, Colin. The yacht is a 34 foot fibreglass sloop and designated a SS34. It was designed by New York yachting architects Sparkman and Stephens. The Perie Banou is owned by the Western Australian Museum. (Source Project Endeavour)
The Stirling Ranges are a string of mountains in southwestern Western Australia. They rise from a low plateau 40 miles (65 km) north of Albany and run parallel to the coast for 50 miles (80 km). The range reaches its highest point at Bluff Knoll, 3,596 feet (1,096 m). (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Cook Strait is a strait separating the North and South islands of New Zealand, extending northwest to southeast from the Tasman Sea to the south Pacific Ocean. About 14 miles (23 km) wide at its narrowest point, it averages 420 feet (128 m) in depth. Both shores are lined with steep cliffs, and that of the South Island is deeply embayed. Treacherous currents and fierce storms present serious hazards to navigation. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Greenwich Mean Time was used for clearly designating epoch by avoiding confusing references to local time systems (zones). In accord with astronomical tradition, astronomers had always used Greenwich Mean Astronomical Time (GMAT)—the same as GMT but with the day beginning at noon. In 1925 GMT was adopted by astronomers so that the astronomical day began at midnight, the same time as the civil day. Some confusion in terminology resulted, though, and in 1928 the International Astronomical Union changed the designation of the standard time of the Greenwich meridian to Universal Time, which remains in general use in a modified form as Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The term GMT is still used for some purposes—e.g., navigation in English-speaking countries. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Cape Horn (Spanish: Cabo de Hornos) is a steep rocky headland on Hornos Island, Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, southern Chile. Located off the southern tip of mainland South America, it was named Hoorn for the birthplace of the Dutch navigator Willem Corneliszoon Schouten, who rounded it in 1616. False Cape Horn (Falso Cabo de Hornos), on Hoste Island, 35 miles (56 km) northwest, is sometimes mistaken for it. Navigation in the rough waters around the cape is hazardous. The climate is windy and cold year-round. (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica)
Enjoying our coverage of Jon Sanders’ triple circumnaviation of the world? Sanders is about to set sail on a new adventure:
‘Yachting legend Jon Sanders and his faithful SV Perie Banou II are taking one last circumnavigation of the world. This will be yet another record-breaking feat, his 10th voyage around planet earth.
Jon will be setting sail on this historic voyage from Fremantle, Western Australia during October 2016. He plans to return to Fremantle one year later after circumnavigating the world. This circumnavigation will include two formal races. The Dirk Hartog Island Race, celebrating the 400th anniversary of the landing by Dutch voyagers on Australian shores, commences 15th October 2016. The 2017 Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro Race, a 3,600 nautical mile race across the South Atlantic, commences January 2017. A crew will be supporting Jon in these two races. Jon will sail solo for the majority of the voyage.’