In 1851, the pilot schooner "America" sailed across the Atlantic to compete in the British Royal Yacht Squadron races that were being held as a part of the first World's Fair.
Intrepid & Dame Pattie (2 shots)
GV following launches
Prod: 4004/GR 1920
CU Sir Thoms Lipton
GV Shamrock IV bedecked with flags in harbour (2 shots)
MV Burton & Hickman
1934 Prod:2921 Para
AV "Endeavour" & "Rainbow"(5 shots)
1937 Prod: 6615 NR Para
GV & SV 'Endeavour' & 'Ranger'(4 shots)
CU America's Cup
AV "Weatherly" & "Gretel" (3 shots)
SV & GTV Mosbacher shaking hands surrounded by crowd
LV "Constellation" finishing
SV "Sovereign" ditto
SV "Constellation" PAN 'Sovereign'
GV "France" approaching harbour
SV Crowd on quayside
SV 'France' typing up
CU "France" TILT UP to flag & crew member
SV 'Gretel II' & crew at quayside (4 shots)
AV 'Intrepid' & 'Valiant'
Initials PAF/PN-BOB/PS PAF/PN-BOB/SGM
SPORT: YACHT RACING
AVAILABLE on BVU COMP NX019
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In 1851, the pilot schooner "America" sailed across the Atlantic to compete in the British Royal Yacht Squadron races that were being held as a part of the first World's Fair. The "America" handily defeated 14 other vessels around the Isle of Wight and took back across the Atlantic a Cup valued at 100 guineas (105 sterling - 250 US dollars). Six years later the owners of the yacht "America" deeded the Cup to the New York Yacht Club with the condition that the Club place it forever in international competition. That condition has been fulfilled but after 20 challenges, by yachts of foreign countries, the Cup has yet to leave its place of honour in the New York Yacht Club.
In earlier years, larger yachts -- schooners, sloops and cutters -- with professional crews sailed the contests. Today the yachts are more modest in size and are sailed by enthusiastic amateurs. Although Canada, Scotland and Australia have all challenged for the trophy. England has remained the most frequent contender for the trophy.
The most determined set of challenges came from Sir Thomas Lipton. He was a self-made man, determined to win the Cup for England. No expense was spared in the designing and building of his "Shamrock" series of sloops but each of his five challenges between 1899 and 1920 were defeated. "Shamrock IV" was the first challenges for 17 years when it made its bid just after the first World War. Piloted by Burton and Hickman, the sloop took the first two races, but the American defender "Resolute" came back to take the next three and so retained the cup.
When Sir Thomas Lipton died in 1930, having been the only challenger in 31 years, it was thought to be the end of the series. But in 1934, earlier than expected, the experienced British yachtsman Thomas Sopwith, made a new challenge. His yacht "Endeavour" started well in the four-of-of-seven series, but lost after six to Harold Vanderbilt's "Rainbow".
Sopwith returned again in 1937 with a newly-built "Endeavour II", but Vanderbilt was there again to defeat his challenge, this time in "Ranger" which won in four straight races and gave Vanderbilt his third consecutive America's Cup victory. With the intervention of World War II, and the increase in costs and taxes which followed, it became virtually impossible to continue to finance the building of the larger boats. The 65 foot ( 20 metres ) minimum water-line length specified in the original deed was no longer practical. In order to carry on the spirit of the Cup competition, smaller boats appeared to be the answer, and 12- metres was the class finally agreed upon. The 1958 competition, between the American "Columbia" and the English "Spectre", was the first in the new class and also the first for which the challenging yacht did not have to reach the site for the matches under its own power. "Columbia" retained the trophy easily in the races, sailed off Newport.
The Australian challenge in 1962 broke the English run of challenges since 1893. The Australian yacht "Gretel" broke a run of 13 race-victories by the Americans when she won the second race. The "Endeavour in 1934 was the last challenger to win a race. But the American yacht "Weatherly" won all the other races with its skipper Emil (Bus) Mosbacher not taking any chances and sailing very cautiously.
The British challenger in 1964, "Sovereign", sustained the worst defeat of any challenger in the history of the competition. "Constellation", the defending American yacht won two races within a seven minute margin, one by about 16 minutes and one by about 20 minutes.
Emil Mosbacher was again defending the trophy for America in the last series in the competition, in 1967. He skippered the "Intrepid" which was designed by Olin Stephens. The "Intrepid" proved to be the fourth America's Cup-winnings yacht designed by Stephens, when it won in four straight races over the Australian challenger "Dame Pattie". Undaunted, Australia was the first to challenge for a match in 1970. France, Great Britain and Greece also presented challenges and the New York Club proposed that all the challengers compete against each other in trials to decide who should be the sole challenger. Since then however Greece and Britain have withdrawn. France and Australia become the first two nations, in the history of the Cup to compete for the right to challenge.
The first-ever French challenger "France" arrived at Rhode Island in June. It is the first 12-metre class yacht to be designed or built in France. Andre Mauric, the designer went to America to study their ideas and methods before setting to work on "France".
The "Gretel II", the Australians third-ever challenger, was launched only last February. It arrived at Newport early this month and damaged its stern on a slipway. Although the damage is serious it is not expected to put back the start to the seven-race elimination series, scheduled for the end of August.
Trials are still going on to decide who will represent America. "Intrepid", the 1967 winner, has been re-designed and remains unbeaten in these trials so far, against two newly-built yachts "Valiant" and "Heritage".
On September 15, the 21st challenge for the America's Cup will begin , 119 years after the schooner "America" first took the trophy across the Atlantic. It will then be seen if the Cup will be taken, for the first time, from what seems to be its permanent home, the New York Yachting Club.