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Original Issue


An America's Cup quiz to excite the memory and increase the knowledge of casual fans and armchair experts

? Where and when was the first race for the America's Cup?

•Off the southern coast of England in 1851.

? The only foreign entry, America, won the race and the trophy, defeating 14 British boats in an open race. How did she happen to he there?

•The Great Exhibition was being held in Britain and, since the U.S. pilot schooner was the most typical American product, members of the New York Yacht Club had America built to sail over and represent her country.

? The trophy she won is now known as the America's Cup. What was it called originally?

•The Hundred Guinea Cup—from the cost of the trophy.

? For 17 years the cup was forgotten, until Britain's James Ashbury offered to race his schooner, Cambria, against the best U.S. schooner and suggested the cup as a trophy. He lost the race in 1870 and lost again in 1871 with a new boat. How many challenges for the cup have there been, and has anyone else had more than one try at it?

•There have been 18 challenges. Three men have returned for another try. The Earl of Dunraven, who challenged in 1893 and 1895, with Valkyrie II and III; Sir Thomas Lipton, who challenged five times between 1899 and 1930 with his five Shamrocks; and T.O.M. Sopwith, who challenged in 1934 and 1937 with Endeavour and Endeavour II.

? Since 1893 the expense of building and campaigning a cup boat has required the pooled resources of a syndicate of men. Only one boat has been owned by an individual. Which one?

•Ranger in 1937. Owned by Mike Vanderbilt, and designed by Starling Burgess, Ranger used winches from Reliance of 1903, gear from Rainbow of 1934, and sails from Enterprise of 1920—all of which had been owned by a Vanderbilt syndicate. Ranger cost some $500,000 to build, and soon after the races she was sold for $10,000—for junk.

? Only one yacht has ever defended the cup twice. Which was it?

•Nathaniel Herreshoff's Columbia. New in 1899, she defeated his 1895 Defender in the trials. In 1901 she also defeated a new Herreshoff design for the right to defend the cup. In 1903 she lost out to Reliance, another new Herreshoff boat and the largest single-masted vessel ever built.

? Of the 54 races sailed to defend the cup, how many has the U.S. lost?

•Only five.

? How many countries have challenged for the cup?

•Actually the challenge comes from a yacht club. To date only five countries have been represented: England eight times, Ireland five times, Scotland and Canada twice and Australia once.

? The rule requiring a challenger to sail to the U.S. "on her own bottom" was recently changed. What was the first boat to be shipped over OS cargo, and why?

•Sceptre, in 1958. The expense of building large boats had made it necessary to compete in the smaller 12-meter class, and the rule was waived to eliminate undue risk and time.

? The skipper is as important as the hull or the sails. What helmsman had the longest association with the cup?

•Captain Hank Haff, who, between 1886 and 1901, took three defenders to victory and also served on two contenders. His son Harry served on Vanitie in the trials for the 1920 race. Captain Charles Barr, who started as helmsman on the 1895 trial horse, Vigilant, also had three winners, twice as skipper of Columbia and another time on Reliance in 1903.

? What firm (of sailmakers) has been connected with the cup since its beginning?

•Ratsey & Lapthorn. In 1851 a Ratsey supplied a flying-jib boom to America, Ratseys designed and built the first two challengers, and in 1958 Ratsey descendants—both named Colin—served on both the challenger and the defender. In between, the firm designed and cut sails for syndicates on both sides of the Atlantic.