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  • Writer's picturerobshepherd66

In search of speed...

Preparations are in full swing in Barcelona with teams training on the stretch of water that is to be the racecourse for the 37th America’s Cup later this year. The AC75’s performances and their crews are being tested, followed by some more testing of the test-data; the race is on to get the yachts ready.


Yacht America’s first tests out on the water 173 years ago were in the same period; starting May the 14th, 1851. The syndicate who had commissioned her wanted the America trialled for 20 days against other American vessels, to determine if she was the fastest because only then they’d accept (and pay for) her.


So off she went, towed from Manhattan to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, for her first three races against the sloop Maria and schooner Cornelia. Spoiler alert: America won the first race but only because Maria ran aground. After two more trials, the conclusion of the appointed umpire was that “as far as the trials went, Maria proved herself faster than the America; but so nearly are they matched that the builders of the America feel confident”* that after some alterations a different result may be anticipated. 


And that’s what they did; in search for her speed, America acquired different masts and more ballast. After all, she was expected to deal with North Atlantic gales to get to England if the syndicate decided to accept her. The question was, were they prepared to invest in the second best yacht?


* The Morning Courier and New York Enquirer, Letter to the Editors from George L. Schuyler.

Cutter Yacht "Maria" in her trial of Speed with the Clipper Yacht America In New York Bay 1851. Hand-coloured lithograph after a painting by James E. Buttersworth published by Currier & Ives


Notice how America’s hull hasn’t been painted black yet.


To watch AC75’s fly: www.americascup.com

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