Stars and stripes is a racing yacht that participated in the America’s Cup. It won the 1987 and 1988 cup. It’s been in several races, until hurricane Irma hit and it took a lot of damage, almost sinking and is now in recovery. The America’s Cup, affectionately known as the Auld Mug, is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America’s Cup match races between two sailing yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America’s Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging for the cup. The timing of each match is determined by an agreement between the defender and the challenger. The America’s Cup is the oldest international sporting trophy.
Conner enlisted the help of designers Morrelli, Chance & Hubbart & MacLane, and aircraft manufacturer Scaled Composites. Two Stars & Stripes cats were built, one with a conventional soft sail (Stars & Stripes S1), and the second with a wing mast (Stars & Stripes H3) built by Scaled Composites. The wing masted boat proved to have superior performance, and so was used in the defense.
To no one’s surprise, Stars & Stripes dominated its match races with KZ 1, the challenger from New Zealand. Following the race the New Zealand team sued and initially won the America’s Cup trophy in a court case. The decision was reversed on appeal, and the San Diego Yacht Club retained the Cup.
After the 1988 America’s Cup, the wing masted catamaran was bought by Mexican yachtsman Victor Tapia and currently sails in Mexico. The soft sail yacht was bought by Steve Fossett and used to set speed records in various yacht races. The soft sail yacht suffered a dismasting during a Mackinac race which resulted in her being stored for several years. In 2015, Freddie Mills acquired the vessel and has re-rigged and re-commissioned her as a private racing yacht operating out of Newport, Rhode Island. In October 2017 Stars and Stripes was acquired by Key Lime Sailing Club and Cottages in Key Largo to be used for day charters and racing.