Yachts are different from working ships mainly by their leisure purpose. Both terms originate from the Dutch word jacht (“hunt”). With sailboats, it is called sailing, and with motorboats, it is called powerboating. The invention of sailing is prehistoric, but the racing of sailing boats is believed to have started in the Netherlands some time in the 17th century. Soon, in England, custom-built racing “yachts” began to emerge. In 1851, the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes challenged the American yacht America. The race took place in the Solent. The America won the race and took the trophy, the America’s Cup, back to the US where, held by the New York Yacht Club, it remained until 1983. The cup was then lost to the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Australia, which entered the Australia II into the contest. Meanwhile, yacht racing continued to evolve, with the development of recognised classes of racing yachts, from small dinghies up to huge maxi yachts.
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