April 2, 2007 Since 1851, the America's Cup has transcended the sport of sailing to become a symbol of the pursuit of excellence. For the first 133 years, THE CUP was indeed the America’s Cup, as America had a grasp on the trophy which could not be broken until Ben Lexcen’s winged keel helped Australia II to victory in 1983. Since then the event has become truly global and this year we’ll see the 32nd America's Cup Match between the defender, Alinghi, and a new challenger beginning June 23, 2007. Racing starts tomorrow to begin sorting out who the defender will be and yesterday was an important day – the day when all 12 contenders had to drop the protective skirts that had been guarding the underbodies of their race boats. Although there were no visible breakthrough design innovations on the scale of the fabled winged keel, many observers were astonished by the range of solutions to the same basic design question posed by the America's Cup Class Rule. Pics of all the keels inside.
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