CAN 111 Blade Is Ready for the Alexandra Cup, June 16-18th

CAN 111 Blade Is Ready for the Alexandra Cup, June 16-18th
(Photos: Blade at R.V.Y.C.)

This upcoming weekend, from June 16-18, 2017, the legendary Alexandra Cup will be held at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, the current holder of the Alexandra Cup. The Alexandra Cup is a US/Canada award requiring an American Challenger as well as a Canadian Defender. This year’s competitor boats are CAN 111 Blade, skippered by Ben Mumford, against US 127 Sting, with Russ Silvestri as their helmsman.

(Photo Credit: Gilles Favez; Skipper Russ Silvestri guides his Sting through pre-start maneuvers during the 2016 European Championships in Switzerland.)

A Brief History of the Alexandra Cup (provided by Don Martin, Race Management Alexandra Cup)

For over 100 years Seattle and Vancouver, sister cities by virtue of their ocean settings and love of sailing, have been in fierce but friendly competition in yachting. In 1907 the first battle for the Alexandra Cup was sailed in 45 foot, 29 raters and was won by the U.S. yacht SPIRIT over Canada’s ALEXANDRA. In the second contest in 1908 Canada’s ALEXANDRA bested the Seattle entry SPIRIT to win the Cup. The 1909 race ended in an acrimonious dispute over the measurements of Seattle’s new yacht SPIRIT II Competition for the Alexandra Cup ceased; the Canadians packed up the Cup and went home. Racing between the two cities suffered a five year hiatus, but in 1914 contests resumed in Universal Rule “R” Class boats; which rapidly became the glamour class of the day. They raced for the Lipton Cup donated by tea baron Sir Thomas Lipton.

Meanwhile the Alexandra Cup languished in the trophy case at RVYC. The good relationship between RVYC and Seattle Yacht Club mended the rift of 1909 and the tie-breaking match for the Cup was held almost a century later, in 2008 in Vancouver. Sailed in Classic Six Metres, Canada retained the Cup in a very close contest that came down to the last race.

Next, a challenge was received and accepted by RVYC from the Seattle Yacht Club for a re-match in 2010. Three beautifully restored ‘R’ boats competed for the Alexandra Cup, LADY VAN (RVYC) and ALOHA (SNSYC) for the Defender Series, and PIRATE of Seattle for the Alexandra Cup itself. RVYC’s LADY VAN was up to the task, winning the Defender Series and defending the Cup itself in straight sets. 2011 saw RVYC’s LADY VAN top the St Francis Yacht Club entry ACE in a close fought series. In 2014 three US teams squared off in an elimination series to determine which US Club would qualify as US Challenger.

St Francis Y.C’s ARUNGA, skippered by Bob Cadranell, won the eliminations but lost in the finals for the Alexandra Cup to RVYC’s entry skippered by Ben Mumford. The 2017 match will be the third successive attempt by the determined St Francis Yacht Club to take the Alexandra Cup from the defending club: RVYC, winner of the past 5 matches.

(Photo from R.V.Y.C. website: Winning team Alexandra Cup 2014: St. Francis IX, with skipper Ben Mumford holding the photograph)

Don’t miss this match and head down to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. The weather should be inviting to do so!
View the full 2017 Alexandra Cup Program, and check in on updates on our 6M Northwest Facebook page.

A special thank you goes to PARC Retirement Living, who is sponsoring this event, and who is also a main sponsor of the International 6 Metre World Championship.