Replica of yacht America begins West Coast tour

SAN DIEGO (AP) A replica of the yacht that gave the America's Cup its name is on a West Coast tour promoting sailing's marquee regatta.

Troy Sears of Next Level Sailing began the tour in his home port of San Diego last weekend before heading north aboard his 139-foot yacht. The tour will make stops at yacht clubs in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

Sears said he's wanted to do the tour since 2010, when Oracle Team USA won the oldest trophy in international sports. After successfully defending the trophy on San Francisco Bay with a stirring comeback against Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, Oracle decided to stage the next defense in Bermuda.

Sears said no topic is off-limits during presentations to yacht clubs, including why Bermuda was chosen over San Diego to host the racing in 2017.

Sears says there has been so much demand that he'll be making another tour in the fall to visit the clubs that couldn't be worked into the summer schedule. He'll tour the East Coast next year and will have his schooner in Bermuda during the America's Cup.

Sears said he's not being paid by the America's Cup Event Authority. He's covering his costs by charging people to go sailing on America after presentations at yacht clubs.

The original yacht America beat a fleet of British ships around the Isle of Wight in 1851 to win what was then called the 100 Guinea Cup.

The next America's Cup cycle begins later this month with the first America's Cup World Series regatta in Portsmouth, England.

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