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  • Annemarie Scholte

May the 1st be your deadline!

Not everyone needs a deadline to get going or get something finished. For some people their internal drive is enough to see their project to the end. But the opening of the Great Exhibition on May the 1st 1851, exactly 173 years ago, must have been a good impetus for the Americans to get their yacht finished and sail it over the Atlantic to England, as they hadn’t launched it yet.

The news about the grand opening of the ‘Crystal Palace’ in Hyde Park would have taken a while to reach the American boat builder in New York, so, although he couldn’t have known about the glamour of the occasion, it had always been part of their plan: use the World Fair in Hyde Park as a reason (excuse) for showing the World they could rival any other fast yacht building nation, especially the English.

Personally, I need deadlines to motivate myself, and being four months into the year the 37th America’s Cup regatta will take place, is reason enough to resurrect my Sparrowhawk-blog with a lovely image of one of the contributors to the Exhibition, India.

Credit: Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851

They sent many exquisite items, amongst which were models of ships. Sending a model would have been the easy thing to do and I’m convinced some must have questioned the American decision to send the real thing. Would they make it in time for the end of the Great Exhibition?

The deadline for the preparations for this year’s event is in August. If you’re not already following the America’s Cup schedule, the warm-up races in Barcelona will end on the 25th ahead of the Louis Vuitton Cup starting on the 29th. Unlike in 1851, the six participating teams may have started well before that with designing, building, launching and testing their boats, but like 1851, there are still details uncertain about the boats they’ll be racing with one ultimate goal in mind: reaching this years America’s Cup final, the roots of which can be traced back to the creation of the Great Exhibition.

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