The ISAF Nations Cup was first introduced to the world in 1991. Open and Women's contests are run and it is based on a series of Regional Finals with the top crews meeting at the Grand Final. Racing at the Regional Finals is preceded by an ISAF Match Racing Clinic, aimed to help develop match racing skills and officiating in that region. The winners of each Regional Final progress to the Grand Final, where they are joined by the defending nation and the host nation.
The aim of the event is to broaden the availability of match racing and provide international match racing competition for national authorities and sailors at a reasonable cost, whilst acting as an incentive for national match racing programmes.
The inaugural Nations Cup in 1991 saw six regional qualifiers in each of Denmark, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Bermuda and Japan, with the Grand Final in Barcelona, Spain. At that time only sailed in an Open division, the title was won by Ed Baird (USA). The 1991 Nations Cup Grand Final was the climax of over 1,000 races sailed by some 50 countries.
Moving onto 1993, preceding the Grand Final in Holland, the qualifiers were held in Finland, France, United Arab Emirates, Peru, USA and Singapore, with Roy Heiner (NED) taking the Open Title and Helena Strang (SWE) the women's event.
The 1995 event saw San Francisco, USA host the Grand Final, with the qualifying events in South Africa, Croatia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and Chile. The Open Event was won by South Africa's Bruce Savage, with the women's title claimed by Susan Walters (AUS).
The ISAF Nations Cup was successfully re-launched in 2006 with eight Regional Finals leading to the Grand Final in Cork, Ireland. France completed a double victory with skippers Mathieu Richard and Claire Leroy leading their teams to victory in both the open and the women's division.
In 2009 competitors from more than 40 nations contested the Regional Finals held in Antibes, Auckland, Brindisi, Buenos Aires, Charleston, Kinsale, and Mumbai, whilst Porto Alegre in Brazil played the host of the Grand Final. Brazil saw some of the world's best match racers representing their nations but France repeated their achievement of 2006 to win both titles again with skippers Claire Leroy and Damien Iehl.
The 2011 ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final was hosted in Sheboygan, USA. Claire Leroy won her third consecutive title for France with Laurie Jury skippering a New Zealand team to victory in the open event.