In 1851 the schooner America defeated seventeen yachts from the Royal Yacht Squadron in a race around the Isle of Wight for a £100 cup that would eventually be known as the America’s Cup.  America had accomplished what seemed impossible; an American yacht defeated a fleet of English racing yachts from arguably the most prestigious yacht club in the world.  It was a generally accepted belief of the Victorian era that Britain held unquestioned maritime dominance.  America’s defeat of a fleet of English yachts was so remarkable that the story quickly developed its own legends. 

The most popular legends involve Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who were present for the race onboard the royal yacht Victoria and Albert anchored off the Needles, the western tip of the Isle of Wight.  As legend has it, America passed the Needles when the Queen spotted the vessel and asked, “Who is in first?”  An attendant of the Queen replied with, “America.”  When the Queen followed with, “Who is second?” the attendant stated, “There is no second, Your Majesty.”  America led the entire British fleet with such speed and distance that no other vessel was in sight.  The American yacht enthralled the royal family and the Queen insisted for the yacht to visit Osborne House, the royal family’s summer home located on the Isle of Wight.  Prince Albert visited the yacht along with the Queen and other members of British aristocracy.  As the story goes, the Prince sought to go below decks when America’s Captain, Dick Brown, asked the Prince to wipe his feet.  As Prince Albert paused in astonishment, Captain Brown insisted, “I know who you are, but you’ll have to wipe your feet.”[1]

 The legends that surround the 1851 race are a testament to its status among elite society.  The influence of America’s win over the best of Britain’s yachting society would affect the hearts and minds of American and British citizens to view the Cup as something more than just a sailboat race.  The America’s Cup was a symbol of maritime achievement, nationalism, and power on both sides of the Atlantic.  It served as a source of contention and rapprochement between the United States and Britain from 1851 to 1914. 

The history of sport is a relatively new field.  Most sport historians since the 1980s have sought to discover the histories of baseball, gymnastics, football, etc. and how they affected a certain aspect of a country or region.  Thomas W. Zeiler and Barbara Keys are among the leading historians in the field focusing on how sports have influenced nationalism, culture, and global power.  Zeiler argued in his work, Ambassadors in Pinstripes, that the Spalding World Baseball Tour of 1888 reflected American national identity, increased international American power, and exported American ideals of culture.  Keys’s work, Globalizing Sport, concluded that during the time period between the World Wars the Olympic Games and the World Cup provided a means of mediation between national and international identities.  Keys also claimed that these international sporting competitions played a pivotal role in creating an international exchange of ideas and technology. 

Zeiler and Keys both describe the relationship between sport and the concept of an “imaginary world” in regards to nationalism.[2]  Zeiler and Keys argue that nationalism is a conceptual idea of exceptionalism, patriotic feeling, and/or principles that unite certain peoples together.  In historian Benedict Anderson’s work, Imagined Communities, the author argued that culture helps construct national identity.  Culture can be defined as the human intellectual achievements of tangible objects or concepts, such as a sport, that derive from a common people.  Thus, culture can affect nationalism, and the “imaginary world” of nationalism can be obtainable through sports such as baseball, track, or yacht racing.  Zeiler believed that, “sport was integral to the very identity of the United States…it reflected manliness and fairness that had actually converted into reality the imagined national community.”[3] 

Many contemporary historians like Zeiler and Keys focus on today’s popular twenty-first century sports of baseball, football, or soccer.  Few scholarly works have been published on the sport of yachting and the affects the sport had on nationalism and international relations.  Christopher Pastore and Lawrence Brady’s biographies on Nathanael G. Herreshoff and Sir Thomas Lipton are the newest attempts to capture the history of the America’s Cup.  However, yachting is still perceived as an elitist sport, and typically only those who follow the sport are willing to devote the research and time. 

Yachting has long been surrounded by wealth because involvement in the sport required expensive equipment.  Yachting derived its elitist sport status from its long history with royalty.  On 8 May 1660, King Charles II regained the throne of Britain from the English revolutionary Oliver Cromwell.  Prior to his coronation, King Charles II spent most of his time in exile in the Netherlands where he learned the Dutch royal pastime of yachting.  On the King’s return to England, the Dutch crown gave him a gift, the yacht Mary.  The King introduced the word “yacht” into the English language, and after a year yachting processions were organized between the King and the Duke of York.[4]

King Charles II founded what could be considered the English yachting fraternity.  Early British yachting mainly consisted of several yachts sailing in mock naval formations.  However, the sport of yachting, or the sanctioned racing of two or more sailboats, started in the late 1700s by the Duke of Cumberland, who was candidly titled the “father of yacht racing.”[5] By 1815, the popularity of yachting among the high society in Britain had formed a need for a club where those interested in the sport could gather. 

On 1 June 1815 a group of affluent gentlemen congregated at the Thatched House Tavern in London to form what was originally known as The Yacht Club.[6]   The Yacht Club became the Royal Yacht Club in 1820 when King George IV became the club’s patron.[7]  The clubhouse, known affectionately as The Castle because of its 1540 construction as a fort, was and still is the premier yachting site in Britain.  The Castle is located in West Cowes on the northern coast of the Isle of Wight where the River Medina flows out into the Solent.  The club also developed a close relationship with the Royal Navy.  In 1829, Lord Belfast, the club’s vice-commodore, “applied to the Admiralty for a warrant to fly the White Ensign.”[8] 

The Royal Yacht Club became the Royal Yacht Squadron (R.Y.S.) under King William IV in 1833, because it was his Majesty’s gracious wish and pleasure that it shall be henceforth known and styled as such.[9]  British high society flocked to the Castle in Cowes to partake in yachting and indulge in the presence of other members of high society.  The illustrious history, list of royal and aristocratic members, and the Squadron’s connection to the Royal Navy made the win of the £100 cup by America in 1851 very bitter in the hearts of British yachtsmen. 

The British underestimated the Americans; “in their [British] insularity, they hardly seemed to have realized that across the Atlantic there existed a people sufficiently civilized enough to indulge in the pastime of yachting.”[10]  However, there was a percentage of Americans who were very interested in the sport of yachting, and these gentlemen were also very interested in proving there newly established country’s abilities among the rest of the leading civilized world. 

The development of the American yachting fraternity started with the “old money” families living in the Northeastern region of the United States.  The term “old money” refers to wealthy American families whose first generation immigrated to the United States with previously established wealth from Europe.  The term “new money” refers to wealthy American families who gained their wealth after the family had immigrated to the United States, including the captains of industry, the “robber-barons” such as the Vanderbilts and Bennetts.  “Old money” generally did not accept the societal practices of “new money,” stereotyping them as radical, unworthy and unrefined.  The differences between “old” and “new money” would affect American yacht racing, but not until after the “old money” in America had formed the yacht clubs and instituted the etiquette of American yachting. 

John Cox Stevens was arguably the most important person of “old money” in regard to the founding of yachting in the United States.  He attended Kings College, an early form of Columbia University in New York City.  Stevens gained wealth from successfully developing the use of anthracite coal, the “T” rail for railroads, the screw propeller, and the Stevens’s Battery (a naval ironclad predating the Civil War era Monitor).[11]  His family also developed the steam and railway system from the Hudson River to the Delaware Bay area.  Stevens, most importantly, was an avid sportsman, interested in the gentlemanly sports of horse racing and yachting. 

John Cox Stevens assembled eight other avid American yacht owners to organize a yacht club.  There were several failed attempts at establishing yacht clubs in the United States before, but each had dissolved within five years.  Aboard Stevens’s schooner, Gimcrack, at anchor off the Battery [New York City] on 30 July 1844, Stevens, Hamilton Wilkes, John C. Jay, George L. Schuyler, Louis A. Depau, George B. Rollins, James M. Waterbury, and James Rogers formed the New York Yacht Club (N.Y.Y.C.).[12]   The wealth and influence of these men quickly determined the N.Y.Y.C. as the preeminent yacht club among the United States yachting fraternity.  

The preeminence of the N.Y.Y.C. prompted R.Y.S. Commodore, the Earl of Wilton, to write to John C. Stevens in February of 1851 to invite Stevens and his friends to attend the R.Y.S. clubhouse, as well as bring over an American pilot schooner for display at the Great Exhibition scheduled for that summer.  Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, “decided to sponsor an international exhibition where science, industry, and art, the three handmaidens of progress,” would be on display in Britain so that all nations could further benefit.[13]

The invitation to Stevens was somewhat odd; prior to this time there had been little high societal interaction between Britain and the United States.[14]  “England then openly patronized Americans, and had a peculiar national idea of Yankee ‘cuteness’.”[15]  Joseph C. Hart, an early American yachtsman and author, wrote The Romance of Yachting, Voyage the First in 1848, three years prior to America’s departure for Cowes.  In Hart’s book, the author described the life of the average American yachtsman in the 1840s and claimed, “I [Hart] have found deep rooted prejudices sown and fostered by British publications of studied wantonness and malignity existing abroad against us and our institutions.”[16] However, the British did have an appreciative awareness of the “Yankee fore and afters,” or American pilot schooners designed to be fast to deliver a pilot onto a merchant ship to navigate through the deadly shoals off Sandy Hook when coming into the port of New York City.[17] 

Commodore Stevens saw an opportunity in Commodore Wilton’s letter for a chance to represent his newly developed nation at the Great Exhibition.  The country of the United States lived under the shadow of the great colonizing and industrialized world power of Britain.  Britain’s Navy and reputation for sea power was considered unquestionable, but Stevens believed that the United States could beat the British at their own game.  Stevens proposed to five other members of the N.Y.Y.C. to establish a syndicate to send a racing yacht across the Atlantic to go up against the best of the British yachts of the R.Y.S.  There was no mention of racing in Commodore Wilton’s letter.  However, Stevens knew the whole world would be watching because of the Great Exhibition. If the syndicate sent an American yacht that won, the United States would sack British pride as being known as the “cream of yachting society,” and perhaps cast some doubts upon Britain as the dominant maritime power.[18]  

The six members of the N.Y.Y.C. syndicate knew they were engaging in quite a risk.  The construction of a racing yacht was expensive, but the quality was key, the nation’s maritime prowess was at stake.  William H. Brown was one of the leading boat builders on New York’s East River waterfront.  Brown proposed to George Schuyler, one of the leading syndicate members, that the Brown Yard should build the yacht.  In a letter to Schuyler, Brown agreed to build “a strong sea-going vessel, and rigged for ocean sailing” for the price of $30,000.[19]  The price was high, however, Brown proposed that if the yacht lost to any American yacht in her trials the syndicate was not responsible to pay for her.

 Brown hired George Steers, a young prominent naval architect known for his modern, elegant, and fast pilot schooners, to construct the lines of the yacht.  Steers drew inspiration from the best and proven designs in American naval architecture to draw America.  The hull design of America was similar to that of American pilot schooners of the era.  She had a long, fine, “hollow” bow and a deeper keel as her lines ran aft with a relatively wide beam amidships that gave her power when she heeled going to windward.[20]  This was a deviation from the typical English hull design known as a “cod’s head and mackerel tail,” or a yacht with a bluff bow with sharp lines leading aft.  Steers also studied the Baltimore Clipper, a fast American merchant/slaver vessel commonly found in the Chesapeake Bay or the Caribbean Sea.  Baltimore Clippers derived most of their speed from sharply raked masts with American cotton duck sail material.  Cotton duck was tightly woven and the fibers did not stretch much under pressure.  English yachts of the time period carried flax canvas, a soft and flexible sail material that a sailor poured water on to keep the fibers taught while sailing.[21]  America’s hull design, mast rake, and sail material carried a large advantage when racing against English yachts that lacked these American innovations.  Steers also designed a carved, gold-painted, American bald eagle grasping the American flag and arrows to grace America’s stern.

 After trials in the early summer of 1851, America made the trans-Atlantic journey captained by a seasoned Sandy Hook harbor pilot, Richard ‘Dick’ Brown, and a crew of thirteen men.  America traveled to Le Havre, France, where Commodore Stevens would board her and sail on to Cowes.  A British cutter, the Earl of Wilton’s Laverock, sailed into the Solent to welcome the American schooner, America, to test her speed and ability.  Stevens wanted to keep the speed of the American yacht somewhat of a secret, but Laverock provoked an impromptu race to Cowes.  The Laverock vs. America match race ended in the American schooner trouncing the English cutter.  A great start for the American boat in English waters, but it also hindered the yacht because English yachtsmen would not enter into organized yacht races with the American boat.  Commodore Stevens placed a challenge at the R.Y.S. for any English yacht to sail against America for stakes that were not to exceed 10,000 guineas, equivalent to $54,000 in 1851.[22]  However, no English yachtsmen would accept the challenge for fear of losing to the American schooner.

The London Examiner produced an article on the reluctance of the R.Y.S. to accept Steven’s challenge.  The article accused members of the R.Y.S. for not knowing how to sail, stating, “there are some exceptions; there are some score of two hundred members of the R.Y.S. who are good seamen, ay, and competent navigators to boot; but the great majority are unskilled.”[23]  The shameful public bashing from English papers prompted the R.Y.S. to take up Stevens’s challenge for the 1851 Royal Yacht Squadron Regatta.  America entered into the race for the R.Y.S. £100 cup to take place on 22 August 1851.The R.Y.S. £100 cup was “open to yachts belonging to the clubs of all nations.”[24]  The Squadron did not expect to have an American entry; the British intended for several yachts from the Imperial Yacht Club of St. Petersburg, who received exclusive permission from the Czar to sail to England and attend the Great Exhibition, to partake in the race.[25]   However, none of the Russian yachts competed.  Seventeen yachts of the R.Y.S. entered into the race with America, the only non-British entry.  The race would consist of a circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight starting and ending in Cowes for a £100 Victorian era silver ewer produced by Messrs. R & S Garrard of London, and presented to the R.Y.S. by the 1st Marquis of Anglesey, a R.Y.S. member and a hero of the Battle of Waterloo.[26] 

America defeated the entire fleet of R.Y.S. yachts in the race around the Isle of Wight, 22 August 1851.  The second yacht to finish, Aurora finished twenty-four minutes behind America.   A large time difference between America’s finish and arguably one of the best yachts of the R.Y.S. astonished the British; the maritime authority of Britain had been debunked.  The defeat of the British yachts placed a dent in the pride and maritime heritage of Britain.  English papers, such as the Merchant based in London, pessimistically published that America’s win foretold a change in the world’s order, the empire of the seas must before long be ceded to America, as mistress of the ocean she must over stride the civilized world.[27] 

The first steamer reached the United States two weeks after America’s triumph in Cowes with the news of her victory.  In the Boston Statehouse, Daniel Webster broke off his speech to the House Representatives to state, “Like Jupiter among the gods, America is first, and there is no second.”[28]  The news of America spread throughout the United States.  The New York Times published “What a victory to beat Britannia, to bend her in her own native seas, in the presence of her Queen…the destinies of the world in regard to civil and political liberty depend upon that power which shall obtain the sea.”[29] 

The yacht America became a symbol for American ingenuity, industry, power, and wealth.  The country was a mere seventy-five years old at the time of America’s win and internationally viewed as an underdog nation.  Americans searched for a place among the great European empires of Britain, France, Prussia, and Russia.  The victory of America against insurmountable odds embodied the spirit of nationalism that Americans sought, proof that America could stand among the great powers of the world.  American artists depicted America in several lithographs and paintings.  Political cartoons depicted America’s Uncle Sam and Britain’s John Bull at the Great Exhibition typically with America in the background.[30]  The triumph of America was also put to music in a rendition of “Yankee Doodle,” and William Dressler composed a pianoforte titled, “The American Schottisch,” dedicated to Commodore Stevens and pictured America on the cover.[31]

Commodore Stevens and the rest of the N.Y.Y.C. syndicate returned to the United States to a hero’s homecoming with the £100 cup, but not with America.  The syndicate sold the yacht in England to make a considerable profit, likely because the yacht did not bring a profit from racing wagers because no British yachtsman dared to go up against her.  Without the yacht in the United States, the £100 cup became the symbol of the American victory.  The trophy passed between the syndicate members, adorning their homes in pride until the death of Commodore Stevens.  In 1857, shortly after Stevens’s death, the surviving members of the N.Y.Y.C. syndicate decided to give the £100 cup to the N.Y.Y.C. as a trophy for international competition.  Along with the trophy was a document; the Deed of Gift that stated the cup was a “prize open to be sailed for by yacht clubs of all foreign nations.”[32] 

Domestic turmoil in the United States took precedence before an international yacht race could take place.  The entire country was affected by the outbreak of the American Civil War after the Southern states seceded from the Union in 1861.  The extravagant sport of yachting was put on hold, however, many yachts were outfitted for war service. America had several European owners by the outbreak of the Civil War.  In 1861, her owner, Englishman and Confederate sympathizer Henry Decie, sent the yacht back to the waters of the United States for the first time since she crossed the Atlantic in 1851.  America was sold to Gazaway B. Lamar, who mounted a cannon on her foredeck and used her as a blockade-runner in Savannah, GA.[33] Eventually captured by the Union Navy, she then became a member of the blockading squadron in Charleston, SC, until given to the United States Naval Academy in 1864.  America’s war service was typical of many yachts during the Civil War. 

The revival of the sport of yachting in the United States did not occur until 1866. “Since the appearance of the yacht America in British waters, no other yachting event awakened so much international interest as the ocean race of the Henrietta, Fleeting, and Vesta.”[34]  The beginnings of the 1866 Great Ocean Race started with too much brandy and arrogance at the New York Union Club between two American millionaires.  James Gordon Bennett Jr. was the heir to his father’s New York Herald fortune.  Bennett fit the category of American “new money”; he was young, rich, and enjoyed a good party.  Bennett was famous for driving a horse and carriage naked during the middle of the night through his Long Island neighbor’s estate gardens.[35]  Bennett engaged in a yachting bet with Pierre Lorillard IV, who inherited his great-grandfather’s tobacco company.  Lorillard “was the de facto dauphin of established New York society and its enforcer against assaults by the nouveau riche scalawags such as Bennett.”[36] 

The bet consisted of a trans-Atlantic ocean race of epic proportions, the very first to be conceived.  Ocean racecourses were previously sailed over a 200-300 mile distance and back to the club.  Bennett proposed a 3,100 nautical mile race from Sandy Hook, NJ to the Needles off the Isle of Wight, and that his yacht, Henrietta, would beat Lorillard’s yacht, Vesta, for a wager of $10,000.  The wager ended at $30,000 between the arguing and boasting and also included American millionaire siblings, George and Franklin Osgood’s yacht, Fleetwing.  The four men involved also chose to conduct the race in December, arguably the worst month to attempt a trans-Atlantic crossing.  Bennett would sail the race but Lorillard and the Osgood brothers would pay professional captains to take their yachts across the Atlantic. Winds were recorded at over sixty-four knots during the race.[37]  The Fleetwing lost several crewmembers when a wave crashed over the bow. All the yachts finished the race despite the many squalls.  Bennett’s yacht, Henrietta, finished in first place.

The 1866 Great Ocean Race did not include British yachts.  However, this ocean race coupled with the victory of America in 1851 awakened British yachtsmen to two grim realizations by the 1860s.   America demonstrated American superiority in yacht design, and ultimately the 1866 Great Ocean Race proved that American yachtsmen were leading the development and expansion of the sport of yacht racing.[38]  Yacht racing also brought great national fame in the United States when major American newspapers published front-page articles on prominent races.  

In 1868, the American yacht Sappho sailed to British waters to try her ability to compete against the English fleet.  Sappho sought what America had accomplished seventeen years earlier, although Sappho did not capture the same national glory.  In a race around the Isle of Wight, Sappho lost to four English yachts, including James Ashbury’s yacht, Cambria.  The defeat of Sappho prompted Ashbury to cable the N.Y.Y.C. in 1868 to become the first challenger on record through the Royal Thames Yacht Club for the cup that America had won in 1851. [39]  Americans started to call the £100 cup the America’s Cup or the Cup around the period of Ashbury’s first challenge, in honor of the yacht and the national pride surrounding the win.  However, complications arose in arranging the challenge, and the race for the America’s Cup was not held until two years after Ashbury initiated the challenge.

There was an ocean match race between Cambria and the American yacht, Dauntless, which proceeded the first race for the America’s Cup.  Dauntless was the new yacht of James Gordon Bennett.  After winning the 1866 Great Ocean Race, Bennett became the vice-commodore of the N.Y.Y.C. in 1868.  The match ended with Cambria defeating Dauntless, who also suffered the loss of two crewmembers during the race.  The continuous death toll from trans-Atlantic racing put an end to distance ocean racing sanctioned by the N.Y.Y.C. until after the turn of the twentieth century.

The 1870 ocean match race before the America’s Cup left the N.Y.Y.C. nervous that they might lose the nation’s coveted symbol of maritime achievement, and wanted to do everything in their power to defend the Cup.  The best defense the N.Y.Y.C. conceived was to subject Cambria to sail against a fleet of American yachts.  The club’s rationalization given to Ashbury was that America had to sail against a fleet of English yachts in 1851, so a lone English yacht sailing against a fleet of American yachts was a fair contest.[40]  However, the N.Y.Y.C. had a great advantage, among the N.Y.Y.C. fleet were several centerboard yachts, titled “skimming dishes” by the English, which were lightly constructed boats that were not meant for crossing oceans.[41]  According to the first Deed of Gift, the challenger must sail on her own bottom to the defender’s yacht club.  Cambria was heavy and constructed to endure a trans-Atlantic crossing or race.   Against the lighter American centerboard yachts, Cambria’s weight and fixed keel was a disadvantage.   Magic as well as seven other American yachts, including America and Dauntless, finished ahead of Cambria to successfully defend the America’s Cup in front of 20,000 spectators off Staten Island, NY.[42] 

Ashbury challenged again in 1871 but viewed that the Deed of Gift was unfair, stating that a match race was more proper.[43]  The N.Y.Y.C. referred to George L. Schuyler, the last living member of the 1851 America’s syndicate.  Schuyler “published in a letter in the Spirit of the Times stating that a ‘match means one party contending with another party upon equal terms.”[44]  Schuyler favored a match race since the America’s Cup was meant to be a challenge.  The Deed was reformed but several N.Y.Y.C. members in charge of the Cup’s defense sought a loophole in the reformed Deed of Gift of 1881.  The club claimed that it was the defender’s right to choose the yacht from their fleet each day of the challenger series to defend the Cup. 

Ashbury’s new yacht, Livonia, was again at a disadvantage.  The N.Y.Y.C. chose the optimum yacht for the conditions and successfully defended the Cup again with Sappho and Columbia.  Ashbury believed that this was very unsportsmanlike conduct, and the results of the 1871 race for the America’s Cup created “a coolness between British and American yachtsmen that would last for sometime.”[45]  Ashbury publicly stated on his return to Britain that, “racing in America was not conducted on the same high moral plane that existed in England.”[46] British yachtsmen believed that their yacht clubs upheld a higher standard of racing rules in the Solent.  A British yachtsman would not challenge for the America’s Cup again until 1885. 

In 1876 and 1881, Alexander Cuthbert of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (1876) and Bay of Quinte Yacht Club (1881) challenged the N.Y.Y.C. for the America’s Cup, but lost both attempts.[47]  By 1885 enough time had passed that the British were willing to try their luck again at wresting the Cup from the Americans.  The amendment to the Deed of Gift in 1881 ensured the challenger a fair match, consisting of a single chosen defender versus a single chosen challenger, much to British delight. 

Sir Richard Sutton, a member of the R.Y.S., challenged the N.Y.Y.C. for the America’s Cup in 1885 with his yacht, Genesta.  In the course of America’s Cup history, the match between Genesta and Puritan, the American defender, was the closest the United States ever came to losing the America’s Cup to Britain.  Puritan on port tack attempted to cross the starboard tacker, Genesta, when she collided with Genesta’s bowsprit.[48]  The racing rules of sailing state a vessel on starboard tack has the right of way over a vessel on port tack.  In 1885, the racing rules also stated that the yacht at fault must withdraw.  The race committee informed Genesta that if he finished sailing the course the Cup would rightfully belong to Genesta.  However, Sutton believed there was no honor in accepting a “walk-over” victory.[49]  Puritan was successful in defeating Genesta in the rest of the series, but the sportsmanship of Sutton won immense popularity among the American yachtsmen. [50]  Sutton extended his time in the United States and Genesta’s racing career to finish out the American yachting season of 1885.  Genesta won a $1,000 cup offered by James Gordon Bennett, as well as the Brenton Reef and Cape May Challenge Cups. 

 A year later in 1886, another challenge came from Britain.  The first and only woman to ever challenge for the America’s Cup, Mrs. William Henn, built and lavishly outfitted the yacht Galatea for the challenge.  Photographs of the yacht’s saloon show expensive china and leopard skin rugs, among many other opulent furnishings from the reaches of the British Empire.[51]  Racing yachts during this epoch were designed as cruiser-racers, the interior of most yachts encased the necessary amenities for worldly travel as well as the capability of participating in yacht races, as was popular and expected among the British and American elite.  Club membership, the lavishly decorated interiors, and the participation in international racing defined the nineteenth century sporting culture.  The display of wealth surrounding the America’s Cup races became a competition off the water between British and American yachtsmen.

 In response to Galatea, the N.Y.Y.C. chose the defender Mayflower, a lighter centerboard yacht for the 1886 races.  Arguably, the Galatea had won the aesthetic competition but her interior and fine hard wood bulkheads slowed the yacht immensely. Mayflower, ultimately the faster of the two yachts, defeated Galatea in the first two races of a three-race series.

Similar to Sutton, Mrs. Henn also decided to extend her racing career in the United States after her failed attempt to capture the America’s Cup for Britain.  Mrs. Henn accompanied by her husband, a Royal Navy lieutenant, were known “to have been the most popular couple that challenged for the Cup.” [52]  The sporting culture that evolved around the 1885 and 1886 American yachting seasons formed what seemed to be strong bonds between the American and British yachting fraternities.  The two-year rapprochement came to an end with the ensuing challenge from James Bell and exacerbated during the challenges of Lord Dunraven.

In 1887, James Bell of the Royal Clyde Yacht Club of Scotland challenged with Thistle.  Prior to the match, Thistle’s pre-determined waterline was eighty-five feet.  The NYCC agreed to defend with Volunteer, a yacht of equal waterline measurement and rig.  When the Scottish yacht reached the United States, she measured slightly over eighty-six feet on the waterline, which gave an advantage to the challenger, Volunteer.  The N.Y.Y.C. threatened to cancel the races but George Schuyler ruled that Bell was not at fault; the designer of Thistle, George Watson, was in error for not calculating the stated and actual load-waterline correctly.[53]  The America’s Cup commenced and Thistle suffered a time handicap given by the race committee because of her waterline advantage.[54]  Thistle could not compete with the sailing skill of the crew of Volunteer.   The N.Y.Y.C. had successfully defended the Cup seven times since the first challenge in 1870.  

Another Scottish yachtsman issued a challenge in 1887 after Bell’s defeat, but the N.Y.Y.C. rejected it because the club wanted to rewrite the Deed of Gift.  The importance of equal waterlines brought about the realization that challengers could gain an advantage before even racing for the America’s Cup.  The Cup found a comfortable home in the United States and the N.Y.Y.C. was not going to make it any easier for a challenger to take it away.  The N.Y.Y.C. established a committee of five members in 1887 to amend the Deed of Gift.  George L. Schuyler, the sole remaining member of the 1851 syndicate, headed the committee.  The third Deed of Gift demanded that the N.Y.Y.C. be given ten months notice of a challenge, the challenging vessel’s name, load-waterline length, beam at load-waterline, beam on deck, and draft; the dimensions could not be exceeded as well as the type of rig.[55]

Rewriting the Deed of Gift now gave the N.Y.Y.C. a permanent advantage.  The knowledge of a challenger’s dimensions allowed the N.Y.Y.C. to construct a defender that was perfectly suited to match the challenger.  The new Deed of Gift was unsettling to British yachtsmen.  The British yachting fraternity argued that a precise water-line length depended on the amount of ballast for a yacht under racing trim that cannot be properly determined before a yacht’s construction.  Britain’s Yacht Racing Association, a governing body of several British yacht clubs including the R.Y.S., concluded that, “the terms of the new Deed of Gift are such that foreign vessels are unable to challenge.”[56]   A member of the R.Y.S., Windham Thomas Wyndam-Quin, the fourth Earl of Dunraven, first attempted to challenge for the America’s Cup in 1888, but the R.Y.S. withdrew the challenge because of the amendment to the Deed of Gift.[57]  The Earl of Dunraven, once a Foreign Office diplomat, utilized his learned skills of diplomacy to persuade the N.Y.Y.C. to accept his challenge for the Cup.  “Early December of 1892, the challenge from Lord Dunraven was finally settled and adjusted, creating a patriotic ardor in all English and American yachtsman.”[58]  The Americans consented not only to be lenient on the extent of an exact waterline, but to also extend the series from three to the best of five races.[59] 

The America’s Cup races were scheduled for October of 1893.  American and British yacht designers worked furiously to produce the fastest racing yacht.  The Earl of Dunraven chose G.L. Watson to design Valkyrie II.  Edward Burgess, the favored naval architect of the N.Y.Y.C.’s previous defenders Puritan, Mayflower, and Volunteer, had died of typhoid fever in 1891, so the defending club turned to the man affectionately known as the “Wizard of Bristol,” Nathanael G. Herreshoff. 

Herreshoff designed and built sail and steam power vessels.  Most of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company’s income before his America’s Cup designs came from navy contracts.  Herreshoff capitalized on the pressure in the United States to expand the navy that developed in 1890 from “the mature and hardy imperialist, Alfred Thayer Mahan.”[60]  Mahan recognized in his book, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 that whoever ruled the waves ruled the world directly linking maritime strength to global power.  Mahan concluded that Great Britain was the dominant naval power of the world and that the United States should seek to expand its empire as well.[61] 

 The America’s Cup was not the only display of America’s maritime power in 1893.  The United States hosted the navies of Great Britain, Russia, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany to an international naval rendezvous in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  U.S. Navy officials deliberately selected the venue’s proximity to the Newport News Shipyard, intended to strengthen Expansionist claims of being an established naval power in the world.[62]  The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company was contracted by the United States Navy to build torpedo boats.  It was through correspondence with the Department of the Navy that Herreshoff developed a relationship with another ardent expansionist, Theodore Roosevelt.  Mahan and Roosevelt lobbied to expand the U.S. Navy, and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company filled government orders during the latter half of the 1800s.[63]  However, the naval contracts were miniscule compared to what the N.Y.Y.C. paid for a successful defender of the America’s Cup.

Herreshoff fulfilled orders from members of the N.Y.Y.C. vying to defend the Cup.   The chosen defender, Vigilant, cost approximately $100,000, three times the cost of the last defender, Volunteer.[64]  Vigilant and the challenger, Valkyrie II, broke away from the traditional cruiser-racer of the past America’s Cups.  The yachts that competed in 1893 were full racing machines.  The lavish interiors and heavy woods used to construct past yachts such as Galatea were not present.  Herreshoff stressed light, fast, and rigid racing machines, testing new and foreign materials to their limits in his Rhode Island workshops.[65]  Steel, aluminum, bronze, and iron were replacing wood and the American industrial revolution was in full swing with Herreshoff Manufacturing utilizing any technological advancement. 

Herreshoff also helmed Vigilant in the 1893 America’s Cup races.  Vigilant and Dunraven’s Valkyrie II were evenly matched, and Vigilant narrowly won the first two races.  On the third day of racing, Valkyrie II had developed quite a lead in a thirty-knot blow; the British yacht led by some 600 yards at the windward mark.[66]  However, the strong winds ripped the muslin-cloth spinnaker of Valkyrie II slowing her down.  Herreshoff ordered the reefs in the main cut, dangerously expanding the amount of sail area Vigilant carried in such a gale.  The American yacht pulled ahead of the struggling challenger with more canvas flying and won the series. 

Dunraven had graciously accepted his defeat, but “muttered that Valkyrie II was greatly interfered with by excursion steamers,” or spectator boats.[67]  There was no proof that the yacht evasively maneuvered to avoid a spectator boat and Dunraven’s gripes fell on deaf ears.  However, Dunraven’s personal grievance with spectator boats continued.  Valkyrie II returned to England and she soon entered into a race in Scotland in the Holy Loch at Clyde.  A stray spectator boat motoring near the starting line caused a collision between Valkyrie II and Santanita.[68]  The collision resulted in the sinking of Valkyrie II and the death of one of her crewmembers.  Dunraven had a hatred of the spectator fleet after the accident and his loathsome feelings towards these vessels did not help in 1895 when he challenged for the America’s Cup for a second time. Approximately 65,000 spectators on over 200 vessels were present for the start of the first race of the series in 1895.[69]

The 1895 America’s Cup was the low point between British and American yachtsmen.  Dunraven challenged with Valkyrie III, against the Herreshoff designed Defender.  Defender had won the first race of the series and after the finish Dunraven protested that the crew of Defender had added ballast to the yacht to increase the waterline and make the yacht faster.  Dunraven demanded that Defender’s waterline be measured.  The waterline length of the American yacht was re-measured and determined to be the same.  Dunraven still accused the N.Y.Y.C. of cheating, but because he lodged his protest after Valkyrie III had been defeated in the first race, it did not help his plea. 

The start of the second day of racing a spectator vessel forced Defender and Valkyrie III apart, which caused Valkyrie III to be out of position to start on time, forcing her to bear off so she would not cross the line before the starting canon.  Defender held the leeward position, the American yacht had right of way over the windward yacht.  Valkyrie III luffed to avoid Defender when Valkyrie’s main boom fouled Defender’s topmast shroud.  Defender sailed the race with a damaged rig; Valkyrie III won the race but the race committee disqualified her for the collision.   Dunraven protested that the collision occurred because of the unbound spectator fleet.  The N.Y.Y.C. had no control over the spectator fleet, so Dunraven refused to race, therefore the United States remained in possession of the Cup.

The Earl of Dunraven returned to Britain, he published an article in the London Field stating, “The Americans had cheated, sparking a heated inquiry.”[70]  An appointed America’s Cup committee reviewed the protest and also Dunraven’s belief that Defender’s crew allegedly added ballast to the boat.  After a rather extensive trial, the committee dismissed all allegations that Defender had additional ballast and agreed that the collision between Defender and Valkyrie III resulted after the incident with the spectator boat, refusing Dunraven’s appeal.

 The April 1896 issue of Outing Magazine published an article titled, “The Curtain Falls on Dunraven,” highlighting a meeting held at the N.Y.Y.C. that discussed the ruling and further proceedings of the trial in February of 1896.  Leading members of the N.Y.Y.C. determined at that meeting that the “privileges of honorary membership heretofore extended to the Earl of Dunraven are hereby withdrawn.”[71]  One club member stated that Dunraven was “a man of that abnormally suspicious disposition,” the official representative of British yachtsmen.[72]  Additional American articles were published with similar comments and a dark age descended upon the Cup.  The result of the 1895 challenge left bitter relations between the British and American yachting fraternities.

The America’s Cup sat dormant in the trophy case of the N.Y.Y.C. for three years.  On 6 August 1898, the next challenge for the America’s Cup had arrived at the N.Y.Y.C.  Thomas Lipton, member of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club (R.U.Y.C.) wanted to challenge for the America’s Cup.  The chairman of the N.Y.Y.C.’s America’s Cup Committee was American banker James Pierpont Morgan, and he quickly sent word to the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company to start the plans for a new defender.  The challenge came as a surprise to most of the N.Y.Y.C. because Lipton was not well known to American yachtsmen. 

The British yachting fraternity viewed Lipton as a pariah, the British version of American “new money,” and denied him membership at the R.Y.S.  Lipton was born in 1848 to Irish potato famine immigrants in Glasgow, Scotland.[73]  His family ran a small local grocery.  Lipton traveled to the United States during his early teens in search of better money.  By 1870, Lipton returned to Scotland with enough earnings to start a grocer chain that grew to an empire, owning over 500 stores in Scotland, England, and Ireland, with tea plantations that stretched as far as Ceylon.[74] As Lipton’s grocery empire grew so did his wealth, fame, and generosity.  Lipton conducted business with a certain charm, the same charm he would bring to the United States during the America’s Cup.   As Lawrence Brady, stated, “his [Lipton] style and presentation was as far removed as it was possible to be from Lord Dunraven and the members of the R.Y.S., though he was no less passionate about being British and loyal to the crown.”[75] 

It was Lipton’s loyalty to the British crown that sparked his challenge for the America’s Cup.  Despite what other high British societal members thought of Lipton, Queen Victoria knighted Lipton for his charitable work.  He also befriended the Prince of Wales, a prominent sailor.  The Prince believed that Anglo-American relations were tense over the 1895 America’s Cup.  Before Lipton departed for the United States, Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary, “beseeched him [Lipton] not to strain relations between the United States and Great Britain.”[76] 

The time that Lipton spent in America as a teenager taught him that advertising was the key to a successful business.  Lipton knew the world would be following the Cup races, providing the best opportunity to make Lipton Tea a household name on both sides of the Atlantic.  Lipton would travel to the United States on his steam yacht, Erin, where he would entertain American and British guests alike during the races.  Lipton’s challenge turned into a mission of diplomacy. 

The United States awaited the start of the America’s Cup races and also the return of Admiral George Dewey, the United States Naval hero of the Battle of Manila Bay on 1 May 1898, and the rest of the Asiatic Squadron returning from the Spanish-American War.[77]  The U.S. fleet returned to New York harbor in the dead of night when most of America was asleep, all except for Lipton awake on his yacht Erin.   He quickly gathered the press and obtained every photo opportunity.  Lipton invited Admiral Dewey, interested in the upcoming America’s Cup, to join him on, Erin, to watch the races. [78] Dewey quickly accepted.

 Lipton hired the best designers and shipbuilders in the United Kingdom to construct the 1899 challenger, Shamrock.  J.P. Morgan in the United States paid the Herreshoff yard in Bristol to design, build, and test the new defender, Columbia.  The races were to be held off of Sandy Hook, NJ as in the previous challenge.   Columbia won the first three races out of the five-race series. 

Lipton’s challenge was ironically still a great success.  Lipton had cemented the relationship between American and British yachting fraternities and restored the concept of good sportsmanship.   Lipton was gracious in defeat and vowed to challenge for the Cup again for 1901.  Herreshoff constructed a new defender at the behest of J.P. Morgan. However the new yacht, Constitution, was not as fast when tested against her trial horse, the Columbia.[79],[80] Much to the dismay of Herreshoff, it was the decision of the N.Y.Y.C. to appoint Columbia to defend the Cup for the 1901 races and Lipton returned with Shamrock II.  Columbia defeated Shamrock II and Lipton lost again, but his mixture of Irish-Scotch-English charm won over the Americans, and would challenge again in 1903.

The 1903 America’s Cup saw the largest yachts to ever compete for the trophy.  Herreshoff designed Reliance, a yacht of monstrous proportions and dimensions to defend against Shamrock III.  Reliance was only ninety feet on the waterline, but her overhangs made her 202 feet from stem to stern, and her mast towered 190 feet above the water and carried 16,000 square feet of sail.[81]  Thousands of Americans flocked to Bristol for the launching of the new defender as Reliance slid off the rails in the Herreshoff yard to the tune of ‘Stars and Stripes.’[82]  For an international challenge trophy, the America’s Cup had never left the shores of the United States.  Americans believed that the Cup represented power, wealth, and sportsmanship, thus many Americans hoped that the grand sportsman, Lipton, would win the America’s Cup in 1903.

Bradford Perkins stated, “since the Civil War, Anglophobia had declined, the republic’s most frequent foreign antagonism was directed at antique aristocracy.”[83]  Lipton proved over his last two challenges that he was not antique British aristocracy; rather Lipton was the antithesis of the aristocracy that had previously and unsuccessfully challenged for the America’s Cup.  Americans, both yachtsmen and spectators alike were supporting the British challenger, the utmost sign of respect and rapprochement between the two yachting fraternities. In a New York Times article dated March 18, 1903, the day of Shamrock III’s launching party, a reporter caught up with Lipton.  Lipton stated, “I expect to win, but a third defeat will only increase my admiration for a people who beat us [England] at a game that was once our own.”[84]  In the same article a journalist wrote, “After fifty years of dominating the America’s Cup, no one would cheer a Shamrock victory more heartily than the Americans.”[85] 

Many Americans hoped that 1903 was going to be the year Lipton was going to return the Cup back to Britain, however, Reliance proved to be faster and her skipper, Charlie Barr, more calculating than the crew of Shamrock III.   Lipton proposed again that he shall return, but hoped that the Cup would be held in smaller yachts because he spent nearly $2,000,000 over his past three unsuccessful challenges.[86]  Lipton would not submit another challenge until 1907. 

Lipton enjoyed spending time in the United States even after his unsuccessful challenges.  The celebrity joined N.Y.Y.C. dinner parties, luncheons, and other gatherings between American and British elites.  He overheard Atlantic Yacht Club (A.Y.C.) Commodore Robert E. Tod, Esq. proposing a trans-Atlantic ocean race.  It was no secret that many members of the N.Y.Y.C. did not know how to sail a boat, but had lots of money and influence.  Members of the A.Y.C. prided themselves in being “Corinthians,” men who owned their own boats and had the knowledge of how to sail their own boat.[87]  Tod wanted to see an amateur ocean race from Sandy Hook to the Needles on Britain’s Isle of Wight.    Distance ocean racing sailed by amateurs was something the N.Y.Y.C. did not like since the deaths that occurred in 1866 and 1870.  Lipton however, loved the idea, except for the part of an amateur crew and he immediately offered to donate a cup if the N.Y.Y.C. would organize the race. 

Lipton forced the members of the N.Y.Y.C. into a corner.  He offered a race they could not refuse because the club’s reputation was at stake and offered a cup that would bear the name of the man who attempted to procure the America’s Cup from them in the past three challenges.[88]  The N.Y.Y.C. did not want to offer a trophy with Lipton’s name and several club members formed a committee to find someone else, someone more important to trump Lipton and it had to be royalty. 

Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht von Hohenzollern, the crowned Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia sought to expand Germany’s maritime presence.  The Kaiser had much to live up to because his grandfather, Wilhelm I, won the Franco-Prussian War and he could not escape the reputation of Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck.  The Kaiser was looking for his niche and saw that “no one had looked to the sea yet and there the Kaiser set out with a vengeance to win everything on the waves.”[89] The Kaiser issued a solid gold cup for the trans-Atlantic ocean race scheduled for 1905 and forced Lipton to step down. 

American, British, and German yachtsmen entered into the race.  The British viewed the upcoming industrial power of Germany as a threat in Europe.  Germany’s construction of a naval base in Venezuela in 1902 concerned the United States.  The U.S. government feared Germany’s influence in the Western Hemisphere.[90]  Two British and eight American yachts entered the race determined to defeat the Kaiser’s entry, Hamburg.  The Emperor of Germany hoped his yacht would generate enough German nationalism to pass a bill that would expand Germany’s naval power.   The United States yacht, Atlantic, owned by William Marshall and skippered by Charlie Barr, who also skippered the past three America’s Cup defenders, won the solid gold Kaiser’s Cup given at the Kiel Regatta Week in Germany.  Atlantic also broke four trans-Atlantic records when she raced in 1905.   The Kaiser’s entry, Hamburg came in second, “the second place finish carried enough patriotism that his 1906 Supplementary Navy Law was easily approved.”[91]  The Kaiser came to power with twenty-four warships and on the “eve of World War I the German Navy consisted of 441 warships.”[92] 

The Kaiser was yachting at Kiel in 1914 when he received a cable of the assassinations in Sarajevo that would become the catalyst for WWI.  Sir Thomas Lipton was in the Azores during the outbreak of the war, preparing to take Erin and the 1914 challenger Shamrock IV for another go at the America’s Cup.  Lipton and Shamrock IV made it across the Atlantic safely, however, the N.Y.Y.C. postponed the races until the end of the war.  Shamrock IV would stay in a shed in the United States while Lipton converted Erin into a hospital ship, renamed Aegusa; she later struck a mine in 1916 and sunk in the Mediterranean.[93]  William Marshall, owner of the Atlantic and winner of the Kaiser’s Cup, lost a son during the war.  After his son’s death, Marshall held a war rally at the New York Metropolitan Opera House were he would demolish the Kaiser’s Cup with a sledgehammer and anyone who paid $5 could watch, including President Wilson who was in attendance.  The trophy shattered with the first strike, demonstrating to the world that the solid gold Kaiser’s Cup was only pewter plated in a cheap thin layer of gold.[94]  

American isolationism kept the United States out of the war until 1917 when she entered into an alliance with Britain.  Anglo-American relations were at a high point when the United States entered the war, partly to the friendly competition since the turn of the century between the English and American yachting fraternities, much of which was owed to Sir Thomas Lipton.   The America’s Cup continued after the conclusion of WWI, the N.Y.Y.C. upheld Lipton’s 1914 challenge to be conducted in 1920 when Lipton would lose again.  After four unsuccessful challenges, Lipton would try one last time in 1930.  Lipton never would attain the America’s Cup but he would be known by the yachting fraternities on both sides of the Atlantic as the man who restored the honor of the America’s Cup.  Britain has yet to return the America’s Cup back to her home waters.  The United States would hold onto the America’s Cup until 1983, the longest winning streak in all sports history.  Australia would be the first country to force the N.Y.Y.C. to remove the America’s Cup from the club’s trophy case.

The America’s Cup and great trans-Atlantic Ocean races were a proving ground for ingenuity, industry, wealth, and power.  The members of the N.Y.Y.C. and British yacht clubs that challenged for the America’s Cup were key to not only advancing yacht racing but were responsible for industrializing and expanding their countries.  Business endeavors led to fabulous wealth and influence that was present in their yachts.  Designers of yachts were key in pushing the boundaries of maritime and industrial advancements, necessary for a country’s industrial development.  Yachting was the greatest spectator sport during the nineteenth century; more people attended the America’s Cup matches in 1895 than that year’s baseball World Series.  Yacht racing captured the essence of nationalism for Americans, British and eventually Germans during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The country who possessed the America’s Cup retained the bragging rights of being the greatest maritime power, during a period when maritime power meant world dominance.  The repeated unsuccessful challenges from Britain foretold a change in the world’s order, and soon the United States would equal the empires of Europe.  Maritime power was critical during this epoch and the America’s Cup embodied industry, wealth, patriotism, and maritime power.  The America’s Cup sparked heated contention between the United States and Britain, but after the turn of the twentieth century it was crucial to resurrecting the Anglo-American relationship that solidified the 1917 alliance between Britain and the United States. 


[1] Michael Levitt, America’s Cup, 1851 to 1992: The Official Record of America’s Cup XXVIII & the Louis Vuitton Cup, ed. Christopher G Capen (Portland: Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 1992), 14.

[2] Barbara J. Keys, Globalizing Sport: National Rivalry and International Community in the 1930s (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006), 2.

[3] Thomas W. Zeiler, Ambassadors in Pinstripes: The Spalding World Baseball Tour and the Birth of the American Empire (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), 160.

[4] Ernle Bradford, The America’s Cup (London: Country Life, 1964), 23.

[5] Ibid, 40.

[6] Peter Heaton, Yachting, a History (London: B.T. Batsford, 1955), 81.

[7]  Ian Dear, The Royal Yacht Squadron, 1815-1985 (London: Century Hutchinson, 1985), 18.

[8]  Ibid, 34.

[9]  Ibid), 35.

[10] Anthony Heckstall-Smith, Sacred Cowes or The Cream of Yachting Society (London: Allan Wingate, 1955), 26.

[11] W. P. Stephens, American Yachting (New York: MacMillan, 1904), 10.

[12] New York Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club: Constitution, By-Laws, Sailing Regulations, etc., 1868 (New York: John W. Amerman, 1868), 1.

[13]  John Rousmaniere, The Low Black Schooner: Yacht America 1851-1945 (New York: WW Norton, 1987), 1.

[14] Winfield M. Thompson and Thomas W. Lawson, The Lawson History of the America’s Cup: A Record of Fifty Years (Boston: Thomas W. Lawson, 1902), 30.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Joseph C. Hart, Romance of Yachting, Voyage the First (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1848), 53.

[17] Herbert L. Stone, The "America’s" Cup Races (London: T. Werner Laurie, 1909), 21.

[18] Heckstall-Smith, 1.

[19] William H. Brown to George L. Schuyler, November 15, 1850, in The Low Black Schooner: Yacht America, 1851-1945, by John Rousmaniere, 5.

[20] Rousmaniere, 11.

[21] Ernest A Ratsey and W H de Fontaine, Yacht Sails: Their Care and Handling (New York: WW Norton, 1948), 148.

[22] Stone, 21. 

[23] David W Shaw, America’s Victory: The Heroic Story of a Team of Ordinary Americans-and How They Won the Greatest Yacht Race Ever (Dobbs Ferry: Sheridan House, 2002), 169.

[24] John Bates, 1851 Royal Yacht Squadron Regatta Notice of Races printed by W.W. Yelf, July 1851, Mariners' Museum Library, Newport News.

[25] Rousmaniere, 29.

[26] A ewer is a large jug with a wide mouth, such as the America’s Cup.

[27] Michael Levitt, America’s Cup, 1851 to 1992: The Official Record of America’s Cup XXVIII & the Louis Vuitton Cup, ed. Christopher G Capen (Portland: Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 1992), 14. 

[28] Winfield M. Thompson and Thomas W. Lawson, The Lawson History of the America’s Cup: A Record of Fifty Years (Boston: Thomas W. Lawson, 1902), 29.

[29] “Letter from Mr. Rives-The Yacht America,” New York Times, September 20, 1851.

[30] Stone, 21. 

[31] William Dressler, "The American Schottisch," Piano Forte Sheet Music Dedicated to Commodore John Cox Stevens published by William Hall & Son, 1851, Mariners' Museum Library, Newport News.  

[32] Rousmaniere, 43.

[33]  P. K. Kemp Lt. Cmdr. R.N., Racing for the America's Cup (London: Hutchinson, 1937), 31.

[34] J.D. Jerrold Kelley Lt. USN, American Yachts: Their Clubs and Races (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1884), 18.

[35] Scott Cookman, Atlantic: The Last Great Race of Princes (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), 16.

[36] Ibid 20.

[37] Ibid, 21.

[38] J.D. Jerrold Kelley Lt. USN, American Yachts: Their Clubs and Races (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1884), 18.

[39] Thompson and Lawson, 47.

[40] L. Francis Herreshoff, The Golden Age of Yachting (Dobbs Ferry: Sheridan House, 2007), 71.

[41] Michael Levitt, America’s Cup, 1851 to 1992: The Official Record of America’s Cup XXVIII & the Louis Vuitton Cup, ed. Christopher G Capen (Portland: Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 1992), 15.

[42] Michael Levitt, America’s Cup, 1851 to 1992: The Official Record of America’s Cup XXVIII & the Louis Vuitton Cup, ed. Christopher G Capen (Portland: Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 1992), 15.

[43] Match racing or a match race is a contest between two yachts.

[44] Levitt, 17.

[45] Thompson and Lawson, 76.

[46] Levitt, 18.

[47] Richard V Simpson, The America's Cup: The Rhode Island Connection (Charleston: Arcadia, 1999), 24.

[48] Douglas Phillips-Birt, The History of Yachting (New York: Stein and Day, 1974), 67.

[49] Levitt, 19.

[50] L. Francis Herreshoff, The Golden Age of Yachting (Dobbs Ferry: Sheridan House, 2007), 88.

[51] Phillips-Birt, 66.

[52] L. Francis Herreshoff, The Golden Age of Yachting (Dobbs Ferry: Sheridan House, 2007), 88.

[53] Michael Levitt, America’s Cup, 1851 to 1992: The Official Record of America’s Cup XXVIII & the Louis Vuitton Cup, ed. Christopher G Capen (Portland: Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 1992), 20.

[54] A handicap is given in yachting when two yachts of unequal proportions are racing.  The handicap usually is determined by weight of the yacht, waterline, and other dimensions, etc. of the yacht to determine a time difference between the yachts if both yachts were evenly matched.  Typically, the yacht with an advantage owes the disadvantaged yacht x amount of time to compete evenly.

[55] A. B.C. Whipple, The Racing Yachts, ed. Jim Hicks, The Seafarers (Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1980), 76.

[56] A. B.C. Whipple, The Racing Yachts, ed. Jim Hicks, The Seafarers (Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1980), 77.

[57] New York Yacht Club, Report of the America Cup Committee, 1888-1889 (Exchange Place: Charles A Sering, 1889), 1.

[58] R. T. Pritchett et al., Yachting, comp. George Leach Sir, Yachting (1894; repr., London: Longmans, Green, 1910), 400.

[59] A. B.C. Whipple, The Racing Yachts, ed. Jim Hicks, The Seafarers (Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1980), 78.

[60] Robert Seager II, Alfred Thayer Mahan: The Man and His Letters (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1977), 205. 

[61] Alfred Thayer Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1890), 83.

[62] Expansionist is a term to define an American typically of the latter nineteenth and early twentieth centuries whose political ideals promoted territorial and economic expansion.  

[63] Michael J Hogan, The Ambiguous Legacy: US Foreign Relations in the "American Century" (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 122.

[64] Christopher Pastore, Temple to the Wind: The Story of America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Masterpiece, Reliance (Guilford: Lyons Press, 2005), 81.

[65] Lucia Del Sol Knight and Daniel Bruce MacNaughton, The Encyclopedia of Yacht Designers (New York: WW Norton, 2006), 219.

[66] A. B.C. Whipple, The Racing Yachts, ed. Jim Hicks, The Seafarers (Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1980), 82.

[67] A. B.C. Whipple, The Racing Yachts, ed. Jim Hicks, The Seafarers (Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1980), 82.

[68] A. B.C. Whipple, The Racing Yachts, ed. Jim Hicks, The Seafarers (Alexandria: Time-Life Books, 1980), 82.

[69] Michael Levitt, America’s Cup, 1851 to 1992: The Official Record of America’s Cup XXVIII & the Louis Vuitton Cup, ed. Christopher G Capen (Portland: Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 1992), 22.

[70] Christopher Pastore, Temple to the Wind: The Story of America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Masterpiece, Reliance (Guilford: Lyons Press, 2005), 91.

[71] Outing, "The Curtain Falls on Dunraven," April 1896, 1.

[72] Outing, "The Curtain Falls on Dunraven," April 1896, 1.

[73] Christopher Pastore, Temple to the Wind: The Story of America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Masterpiece, Reliance (Guilford: Lyons Press, 2005), 40. 

[74] Christopher Pastore, Temple to the Wind: The Story of America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Masterpiece, Reliance (Guilford: Lyons Press, 2005), 42.

[75] Laurence Brady, The Man Who Challenged America: The Life and Obsession of Sir Thomas Lipton (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2007), 15.

[76] Michael Levitt, America’s Cup, 1851 to 1992: The Official Record of America’s Cup XXVIII & the Louis Vuitton Cup, ed. Christopher G Capen (Portland: Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 1992), 25.

[77] Laurence Brady, The Man Who Challenged America: The Life and Obsession of Sir Thomas Lipton (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2007), 6.

[78] Laurence Brady, The Man Who Challenged America: The Life and Obsession of Sir Thomas Lipton (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2007), 6.

[79] Gary Jobson, An America's Cup Treasury: The Lost Levick Photographs, 1893-1937 (Newport News: Mariners' Museum, 1999), 21.

[80] A trial horse was the yacht utilized to test the speed ability of a new defender, typically the trial horse was a past defender.

[81] Christopher Pastore, Temple to the Wind: The Story of America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Masterpiece, Reliance (Guilford: Lyons Press, 2005), ix.

[82] Laurence Brady, The Man Who Challenged America: The Life and Obsession of Sir Thomas Lipton (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2007), 112.

[83] Bradford Perkins, The Great Rapprochement: England and the United States, 1895-1914 (New York: Atheneum, 1968), 6. 

[84] "Sir Thomas Lipton's Shamrock III. Launched: New Challenger for America's Cup Safe in the Water," New York Times, March 18, 1903.

[85] "Sir Thomas Lipton's Shamrock III. Launched: New Challenger for America's Cup Safe in the Water," New York Times, March 18, 1903.

[86] Laurence Brady, The Man Who Challenged America: The Life and Obsession of Sir Thomas Lipton (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2007), 118. 

[87] Atlantic Yacht Club, Atlantic Yacht Club, 1903 (New York: Knickerbocker Press (G.P. Putnam and Sons), 1903), 1.

[88] Scott Cookman, Atlantic: The Last Great Race of Princes (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), 89.

[89] Scott Cookman, Atlantic: The Last Great Race of Princes (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), 51.

[90] Mark T. Gilderhus, The Second Century: U.S.-Latin American Relations since 1889 (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 23.

[91] Scott Cookman, Atlantic: The Last Great Race of Princes (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), 265. 

[92] Scott Cookman, Atlantic: The Last Great Race of Princes (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), 265.

[93] Laurence Brady, The Man Who Challenged America: The Life and Obsession of Sir Thomas Lipton (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2007), 147. 

[94] Scott Cookman, Atlantic: The Last Great Race of Princes (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), 273.