On the morning of September 20 the busiest stretch of ocean in the world will be the water south of Newport, where something like 500 yachts will gather to watch the 17th challenge for the America's Cup. The focal point for this exciting spectacle, dramatically presented on the map above, will be the America's Cup Buoy, nine miles SSE of the Brenton Reef Lightship. Here, under the eyes of perhaps 5,000 spectators, including President Eisenhower, who has taken a house (see map) just across the cove from the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, all the races will begin and end. A maximum of seven races are scheduled, to be held on successive weekdays (none on Sundays), with a day of rest after each race if either boat requests it. The first boat to win four races takes the series, and with it, the America's Cup.
There will be two alternate courses—one triangular, the other windward-leeward. The windward-leeward course, to be used for the first, third, fifth and seventh races, will be six miles on a leg, twice around the course. The triangular course, used for races two, four and six, will be eight miles on a leg, once around. Whenever the wind is steady enough, the outer marks will be set so the start of each race is upwind.
To keep the course clear, a flotilla of Coast Guard vessels will set up patrol lines in a shallow V a half mile around the start. Spectator boats must stay 100 yards outside the patrol lines. Once the race is under way, the Coast Guard will fall in behind the competitors, setting up new lines a half mile astern and to leeward on windward and reaching legs, or a half mile abeam on both sides for downwind legs. Whenever the racers change direction, the Coast Guard will change with them, indicating the direction of the change with whistle blasts: several short blasts followed by a long one for a change to the right, two long blasts for a change to the left. Special note to aircraft: planes may fly no lower than 1,500 feet above the water and no closer than 2,000 horizontal feet away from the contestants. The CAA further recommends that all pilots fly in a counterclockwise direction, to reduce the possibilities of collisions.