As children Bremont co-founders Nick and Giles English lived on a sailing boat built by their father Euan English, an ex-RAF pilot with a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering. He inspired his young sons with his knowledge of aviation, yacht construction and clock manufacture, leading them to form the Bremont Watch Company in 2002. Giles English, who studied as a naval architect, said, “Nick and I grew up with both flying and sailing in our blood, so it’s a dream-come-true that Bremont has the opportunity to support and promote the amazing story of this world- famous race, the America’s Cup. We are honoured to be involved in this prestigious event with such historical importance”. The adventure, heritage and engineering fundamental to the Cup make the event a natural fit for Bremont. Nick English says, “As with all our partners we will look to learn from them and work closely on a technical level but we also intend to explore the Cup’s rich history”.
The event’s roots are firmly entrenched in British maritime past, making the Cup a natural successor to Bremont’s previous nautical projects celebrating historic British achievement. Particularly close to their heart is John Harrison, a self-educated English carpenter, who invented the first successful marine chronometer in 1761. He solved the problem of telling the time at sea by enabling the determination of longitude, allowing Britannia to truly rule the waves. Bremont designed its beautiful, handmade-to-order B-1 marine Clock in tribute to his remarkable accomplishment. The company’s love of the sea was further demonstrated by the Bremont Victory: a classic limited edition timepiece manufactured using original copper and wood from the world’s only surviving 18th century warship, HMS Victory. Launched in 1765, Victory is most famous as lord Nelson’s flagship in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.
Perfectly reflecting the passions that drive the Bremont brand, the modern catamarans of the America’s Cup are a phenomenal fusion of flight principles and sailing technology. Giles English says, “The engineering we have seen surrounding the wingsail catamarans is immense. With strong support from the aerospace industries they are pushing the technology far beyond traditional naval architecture.” With towering rigid wingsails based on aircraft wing design, the catamarans feature retractable L-shaped hydrofoils beneath the hulls. Once enough speed is gained the foils lift the twin hulls above the water surface so the catamarans fly over the waves. This huge reduction in hydrodynamic drag enables them to travel faster than the wind.
The history of the America's Cup
Today the America’s Cup is a global event featuring high-tech hydrofoiling, wingsailed catamarans capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots. The crews are elite athletes contending with the great physical extremes of sailing such high performance boats. The competition was equally fierce in 1851, when an American syndicate brought a radical new yacht to English shores. The schooner, called America, was invited to compete in the Royal Yacht Squadron’s annual Isle of Wight regatta to win the ‘£100 Mug’. America coasted home to victory with an eighteen minute lead. Legend states that Queen Victoria, watching this unparalleled winner cross the finish line, asked who was second. She was told, ‘Your majesty, there is no second’.
Known as the ‘Auld Mug’, the sterling silver cup (manufactured by Garrard of London, the world’s oldest jewellers) was entrusted to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) as a “perpetual challenge trophy to promote friendly competition among nations” alongside a ‘Deed of Gift’ that still provides the basis for the Cup’s rules and regulation. Adopting the name of the winning schooner, the America’s Cup quickly attracted challengers hoping to return the trophy to Great Britain. From inception, the event showcased the latest developments in racing yacht design. Sir Thomas Sopwith, renowned aircraft manufacturer and designer of the legendary World War I fighter plane the Sopwith Camel, used his aeronautical expertise to advance the design of his challenging J-class yachts Endeavour and Endeavour II in 1934 and 1937. Sopwith launched an aeronautical link that continues today but failed to take the Cup. Racing ceased during World War II and resumed in 1958. The NYYC successfully defended the Cup against frequent challengers for a phenomenal 132 years.
Growing global interest in the event necessitated the launch of a Challenger series with the winner going through to race the Defender for the America’s Cup. The NYYC’s unbroken run as Defenders ended in 1983 and the Cup finally left American shores. Alan Bond’s yacht Australia II used a radical new winged keel to take the Cup for the Royal Perth Yacht Club. The 1980s continued to see rapid advances in racing yacht design. The first fibreglass hull entry in 1987 was swiftly followed by the first multihull when the San Diego Yacht Club’s catamaran trounced Australia’s monohull yacht in 1988. The following decades saw the Cup move hemispheres again, with Team New Zealand and Swiss competitors Alinghi keeping the Cup out of America for 15 years.
Now a global televised spectacle, the 35th America’s Cup will be fought in Bermuda with high-speed hydrofoiling AC48 catamarans and defended by 2010 and 2013 winner ORACLE TEAM USA. Challengers include Groupama Team France, Sweden’s Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand and new competitor Softbank Team Japan. The America’s Cup attracts the elite sportsmen of the sailing world, and Bremont is pleased that the 35th edition welcomes a new British challenger Land Rover BAR team. Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful sailor in Olympic history, sailed to victory as ORACLE TEAM USA’s tactician at the 34th America’s Cup. His team hopes to return the trophy to Great Britain for the first time since 1851, whilst his former colleagues at ORACLE TEAM USA will be fighting fiercely to keep the Cup for the Golden Gate Yacht Club. In the build-up to the final event held in May and June 2017, all the teams have showcased their skills sailing AC45 catamarans during the America’s Cup World Series. After over 15 months of racing, in November 2016 Land Rover BAR finished top of the world series standings securing two bonus points for the America’s Cup Qualifiers in May 2017, ORACLE TEAM USA finished second, taking one bonus point. The four top placed teams in the Qualifiers, excluding ORACLE TEAM USA, will then proceed into the America’s Cup Playoffs where the ultimate Challenger will be decided. The azure skies and crystal clear waters of Bermuda will provide a stunning backdrop to the June 2017 final, where the Challenger will race ORACLE TEAM USA for America’s Cup glory.