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Historic Yacht America to Land in Beaufort September 21 North Carolina Maritime Museum plans tours, public sailings, and presentations

America View off the bow

A replica of the original yacht that started the America's Cup tradition in 1851 is coming to Beaufort.
On Wednesday and Thursday, September 21 and 22 the modern replica of the historic yachtAmerica, captained by Troy Sears of Next Level Sailing will be offering tours and public sailings after landing in Beaufort.  The mission of this epic, international voyage is to generate awareness and excitement for the 35th Defense of America's Cup, which will commence in June 2017 in Bermuda.
The East Coast run of the America's Cup Tour has engaged the sailing community - from Maine to Galveston - with sailings and intimate discussions about the past, present and future of America's Cup racing.
"There's no better place for America to land on their East Coast tour than in Beaufort, North Carolina, named America's Favorite Town by Travel + Leisure magazine," said David Cartier, public relations coordinator for the North Carolina Maritime Museums.
"Our crew is thrilled to have the opportunity to visit so many great ports, sailing clubs, and museums along the Eastern seaboard, owner Troy Sears said. "We're especially looking forward to reaching out to junior sailing programs, helping to inspire the next generation of yacht racing enthusiasts and fans."
"This is a very unique opportunity for the sailing community to see this historic yacht America," said Brent Creelman, director of operations for the Friends of the Museum. "We are excited to bring this important piece of sailing history to Beaufort," he said. "We believe both sailors and non-sailors will enjoy the events we have planned"
Dockside Tours on America
On Wednesday and Thursday, September 21 and 22, the America will be open for dockside tours from 10 am to 1 pm. The yacht will be docked in front of Front Street Grill at Stillwater on 300 Front Street. There is a $5 per person charge (cash or check) with tickets sold at the entrance to the dock (Front and Orange Streets). The proceeds from these tours will go to the Friends of the North Carolina Maritime Museum.
"Due to the size of the vessel, we were really limited on where she could dock," said Mr. Creelman. "We are very appreciative of the opportunity to work with the people at the Front Street Grill at Stillwater to make this a reality," he said.
So, how big is America?  It's 139 feet long and weighs 226,000 pounds. The main mast is 105 feet with 5,900 square feet of sail. The vessel  can carry 76 people.
Public Sailing On Board America
On Wednesday and Thursday, September 21 and 22, the America will get underway with guests from the public for a 2 1/2 hour sailing cruise. The sailing starts at 4:30 p.m. and returns at 7 p.m. to Front Street Grill at Stillwater at 300 Front Street. These excursions are rare opportunities to sail back in time on a modern replica of the yacht that started it all back in 1851. The public sails are $85 per adult and $42.50 for children 17 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 800-644-3454.
"There may be 1:30 pm trips added to the schedule if demand dictates," according to Mr. Creelman.
Evening Presentation by America's Captain
On Wednesday evening September 21 at 7:30 p.m. there will be a multi-media presentation by Capt. Sears, Americas' owner, in the auditorium of the North Carolina Maritime Museum. This event is free and open to the public. Donations to the North Carolina Maritime Museum are appreciated.
America is headed south to Beaufort from Boston where, according to Capt. Sears, "America's visit to Boston Harbor had special historical significance."
"Boston was home of the original schooner 'America' for over 20 years during the late 19th century when she was owned by General Butler", Capt. Sears said. "It's very special to be sailing in the exact waters where she sailed 130 years ago".
Without exaggerating, 'America' is arguably the world's most famous racing yacht. It is also one of the most beautiful yachts in the world. The reason is simple.
The original 'America' put yachting on the map. It is why the most famous trophy in sailing is called The America's Cup. Members of the New York Yacht Club sailed the original schooner 'America' to victory over the British in the legendary race around the Isle of Wight. In 1851, a boat named 'America' won the 'Royal Yacht Squadrons' 100 Guinea Cup given to the winner of a race around the Isle of Wight.  The winners, members of the New York Yacht Club, donated the trophy to the Club, to be held as a 'challenge' trophy. Thus the America's Cup was born, named after the boat, not the country.
To this day, the Cup serves as a perpetual challenge trophy for friendly yacht racing competitions among nations.
Her later career was equally as colorful - conveyor of secret agents, Confederate blockade runner, Union warship, Naval Academy training vessel, and pride and joy of a famous Civil War general and politician. By her end in 1945, she was one of the most honored vessels in the United States. The original was destroyed during World War II.
Today, America is a near perfect replica built in 1995 at a cost of more than $6 million.
In 2003, long-time San Diego Yacht Club member, Capt. Sears and his business partners purchased two International America's Cup Class (IACC) racing yachts from legendary America's Cup Skipper, Dennis Conner.
The two competition-tested yachts, Stars & Stripes / USA 34, and Abracadabra / USA 54, were moved from America's Cup Harbor to the Broadway Pier, under the flag of a new sailing venture, Next Level Sailing.
In 2006, Next Level Sailing acquired America and added her to the fleet. Today, the Next Level Sailing experience is located at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
America is tentatively scheduled to arrive in Beaufort on the evening of Tuesday, September 20.  The historic yacht  will depart Beaufort on Friday morning and continue to Wrightsville Beach.
In mid-November of 2016, America will leave the U.S. coast for a two-day visit to Cuba. She will then make her way to numerous tropical destinations in the US and British Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbados and other Caribbean ports en route to Bermuda for the full schedule of official 2017 qualifying and Cup Challenge series races.
The North Carolina Maritime Museum is located at 315 Front Street, Beaufort, NC 28516. For more information about the museum, visit
About the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort
The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort reflects coastal life and interprets lighthouses and lifesaving stations, the seafood industry, motorboats, and more. Studies in marine life, science, and ecology are available for all ages. The Beaufort museum is the repository for artifacts from Blackbeard's wrecked flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, among them cannons, grenades, belt buckles and beads. The Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center teaches boatbuilding for all ages. 
The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort is open Monday thru Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.   The museum is open to the public with free admission. Donations are always appreciated.
The North Carolina Maritime Museum system is comprised of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Beaufort and the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport. All three museums are part of the Division of State History Museums in the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.