Two contenders, the "Courageous" and "Independence" hoping to defend yachting's most coveted trophy, the America's Cup next September, have recently been testing each other's skill off the Rhode Island coast.
LV "Independence" (in background with striped spinnaker) and "Courageous" manoeuvring at sea
SV & CU On board "Independence" with Captain Hood at helm (2 shots)
CU Crewmen handling winch
SV Crew member releases rope holding sail
SV "Independence" underway
CU Bows through water
CU Computerised and knotmeter gauges (2 shots)
CU Rope around capstan and crew winching (2 shots)
SV "Independence" underway (2 shots)
GV "Independence" (farthest) and "Courageous" sailing side by side
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Background: Two contenders, the "Courageous" and "Independence" hoping to defend yachting's most coveted trophy, the America's Cup next September, have recently been testing each other's skill off the Rhode Island coast. There are expected to be four American challengers from which to choose to defend the Cup.
SYNOPSIS: "Courageous" and "Independence" began practising late month. But the official selection trials don't begin until June 18th when they will be joined by "Enterprise" and twice Cup-winner "Intrepid". The American defender will be chosen after a lengthy series of races. But the final American choice will not depend entirely on race success.
A second set of races will be held in july and the finals in August.
Although these were only practice runs, the ultimate objective is serious enough. Especially for the brand new "Independence", designed and built by Ted Hood and still of unknown quality. The new design is said to be conventional. Hood took command of the then new "Courageous" in 1974.
The United States will defend the trophy that has been in their hands since the start of the competition, 126 years ago, when the yacht "America" successfully defeated the Royal Yacht Squadron off the Isle of Wight. "Courageous" the 1974 defender, has looked particularly impressive on the practice runs.
There will be three nations challenging the American holders in this year's race -- Australia, France and Sweden. The Australians will ship two yachts to the United States, "Gretel II" and "Australia". Sweden are challenging with the yacht "Sweden" and France have entered the "France II", a new yacht that replaces the "France", knocked out of the last challenge elimination series by the Australian, "Southern Cross".
The favourite challenger is the Australian yacht, "Australia", which includes eight members of the unsuccessful 1974 challenger and Olympic gold medallist, David Forbes, of Sydney. At any rate the U.S. elimination series are shaping up to be one of the toughest and most professional trials ever.