Today in History, August 22: 1851 – Members of the New York Yacht Club had designed and built a radically new yacht and named it “America”.
They sailed it across the Atlantic and challenged the old world sailing experts in The Royal Yacht Squadron’s “One Hundred Guinea Cup”. Seeing her speed, nobody would challenge her until the final day in the final 53 mile race around the Isle of Wight. After she sailed across the finish line 18 MINUTES ahead of her nearest competitor.
Queen Victoria, watching, asked, “Who came in second?”, and was answered with, “There is no second, your Majesty.” The British, rewarding the cup to “The America”, changed the name of the race to “The America’s Cup”.
The America would be sold to several different private owners in the coming years, would serve as a combatant for the Confederacy in the US Civil War as a blockade runner, be sunk, raised by the Union, once again renamed America, and serve as a blockade ship, sinking blockade runners.
The US Navy would use her as a training ship, she would once again see private hands and then be given back to the Navy.
Unfortunately she fell into disrepair and the shed she was kept in collapsed on her in the 1940’s. She and the shed were scrapped. What a shame.