WATCH: Race Schedule Confirmed for U.S. Defense of the America’s Cup

The world’s most famous yacht racing series, the America’s Cup, will start in the warm waters of Bermuda on May 26th, 2017, and finish almost five weeks later, organizers have confirmed.

The opening race of the 35th America’s Cup will be race one of the overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers between the current holder Oracle Team USA, skippered by James Spithill and his crew taking on Groupama Team France, led Franck Cammas.

At stake is a trophy first awarded in 1851 by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was won by the schooner America. The trophy, variously known as the Auld Mug, was renamed the America’s Cup in honor of the yacht and was donated to the New York Yacht Club under the terms of the deed of gift.

The cup has been available for perpetual international competition ever since.

James Spithill, Australian-born skipper of Oracle Team USA and three-time winner of the America’s Cup, is ready for action.

“People will witness America’s Cup racing as they’ve never seen it before,” Spithill said. “The physical and mental demands on the athletes on board have gone up exponentially — the catamarans will be faster than last time, more maneuverable, and likely will foil all the way around the race track, given the right conditions.

“Most importantly, I think the competition is going to be fierce. We have six great teams preparing for racing next year and this is quite possibly shaping up to be one of the hardest, most competitive America’s Cups in its long history of over 165 years of battle.”

As the defender, Oracle Team USA will not compete in the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Challenger Playoffs. While the challengers improve through the heat of competition, the crew will need to prepare on its own for the final showdown and the races to win the 35th edition of one of the world’s oldest sporting events.

Five international teams will be in Bermuda racing for the right to challenge the U.S. defender in the final round of racing.

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