The America's Cup - How It All Began
Originally known as the 100 Guinea Cup, or Queen's Cup, the trophy was won by the schooner America led by NY Yacht Club Commodore John
Cox Stevens in a race around the Isle of Wight on August 22, 1851 after defeating 14 British yachts in the All Nationâ€™s Race at Cowes. The
cup, originally offered as the Royal Yacht Squadron cup, is now named after this famous schooner, the first yacht to win the trophy. The trophy
remained in the hands of the New York Yacht Club until 1983 when the Cup was won by the challenger, Australia II,ending the longest winning
streak in the history of sport.
The schooner America 1851
"In the race for the Queen's Cup, there were, I think, seventeen entries, most of which, I believe, started. In addition to them, there were seventy or
eighty, or, perhaps, one hundred, under weigh, in and about the harbor; and such another sight no other country, save England, can furnish. Our
directions from the sailing committee were simple and direct; we were to start from the flagship at Cowes, keep the No Man's buoy on the
starboard hand, and from thence make the best of our way round the island to the flagship from which we started.
We got off before the wind, and in the midst of a crowd that we could not get rid of for the first eight or nine miles, a fresh breeze then sprang up
that soon cleared us from our hangers-on and sent us rapidly ahead of every yacht in the squadron. At the Needles there was not a yacht that started
with us in sight, so that the answer said to have been given to a question from a high personage of who was first---'The America. Who is second?
There is no second'---was literally true.
After passing the Needles, we were overtaken by the Royal steam yacht Victoria and Albert, with her Majesty and her family on board. They had
come down to witness the trial of speed between the models adopted by the old world and those of the new. As the steamer slowly passed us, we
had the gratification of tendering our homage to the Queen, after the fashion of her own people, by taking off our hats and dipping our flags. At this
time the wind had fallen to a light breeze, and we did not arrive at the flagship until dark. I could not learn correctly at what time, or in what order the
others arrived. The cup before you is the trophy of that day's victory." - Commodore John Cox Stevens, at the New York Yacht Club dinner,
Oct. 3, 1851.