Royal Thames Yacht Club’s Cumberland Club, sponsored by Audemars Piguet 12-16 May 2010

J80's in action London The international battle for the honour of winning the world’s oldest yachting trophy – dating back to 1775 and established some 76 years before the America’s Cup – will be hosted by the Royal Thames Yacht Club on May 12-16. The Cumberland Cup is the UK’s only regularly-held international two-boat team racing event in keelboats, and the only event to take place in the capital.

This year the event is supported by the Royal Thames Yacht Club corporate partner, the luxury Swiss watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet, and has attracted entries from clubs as far afield as Australia, Germany, Ireland, Monaco, New Zealand, USA as well as the UK. Held every two years, the 2010 race takes place at Queen Mary Sailing Club, which is situated on one of London’s largest reservoirs, conveniently close to London’s Heathrow Airport for the arrival of the international crews.

The eight teams – representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Western Australia; a combined Norddeutsche Regatta Verein & Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee representing Germany; Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club of New Zealand; Royal St George Yacht Club, Ireland; Southern Yacht Club of New Orleans, USA; Yacht Club de Monaco, as well as a team from the host club, Royal Thames Yacht Club - will battle for the honour of winning the Cumberland Cup in the Royal Thames Yacht Club’s fleet of identical J80s.

With four crew in each boat, the two boat teams represent some of the world’s top sailors The Royal Thames Yacht Club are the current holders and are keen to defend their title.

As well as a full three days of close and competitive racing, the teams and supporters enjoy a full and varied social programme organised by the Royal Thames Yacht Club. This includes an exclusive Cumberland Cup Reception held at the historic St James’s Palace, with a welcome by HRH the Earl of Wessex, and a black tie dinner held on Saturday 15 May, hosted by the Royal Thames Yacht Club at its prestigious Knightsbridge club house and supported by Cumberland Cup sponsor Audemars Piguet.

The event starts on Wednesday 12 May with the arrival of the international teams, registration, briefing and a welcome supper held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club. With a total of 32 single, double and family cabins, the majority of sailors and their supporters and families are able to stay at the club or in nearby hotels.

Thursday 13 May is practice day at Queen Mary Sailing Club (QMSC) with teams allocated their boats and on-the-water practice. The race starts on Friday 14 May, with heats running virtually non-stop as each team competes against each other in a series of fast and furious events. Two-boat team racing is extremely tactical, with the winning team being the one whose boat does not cross the line last. Staying within the rules of racing, the teams jostle for position, using every legal trick in the book to keep their team member from being last over the line.

This makes it easy to understand the closely fought battles on the water, which combined with the close inshore racing and the reservoir viewing points, creates an ideal event for spectators. Final line honours will be determined on Sunday 16 May, with a prizegiving and barbecue held at Queen Mary Sailing Club.

In addition to organizing the racing, the Royal Thames Yacht Club has arranged a wide range of activities for supporters and non-sailors. This includes a visit to the Hyde Park Barracks, home of the Royal Cavalry, to watch the troop inspection followed by a private tour of the Barracks with visits to the Stables, Saddlers and Quartermaster’s stores, shopping tours and sightseeing from the London Eye.

The Cumberland Cup was established in 1775 when the Duke of Cumberland, brother of George III, put up a silver cup for a race on the River Thames and formed the Cumberland Fleet. This remains the alternative name for the Royal Thames Yacht Club, which is based at Knightsbridge. The Royal Thames is the oldest continuously operating yacht club in the world and it has organised yacht races every year since its foundation in 1775. It offers unobtrusive excellence in every aspect of Club life and its members participate in a wide range of yachting events in home waters and worldwide. They also enjoy all the facilities of the London Clubhouse and leading reciprocal clubs around the world.