The Illustrated London News 1920Nicholson first drawing for the America's Cup

In selecting a designer for his fourth attempt to capture the Cup, Sir Thomas Lipton has gone to C. E. Nicholson, probably the foremost, or perhaps more correctly, most successful, designer of racing yachts in England, though he has had no experience in an America's Cup race.

Great secrecy is being maintained regarding the designs of the boats, both in England and here, and almost nothing is known about the Shamrock IV, as the challenger will be called, except that she will not be over 75 feet long on the water line. In all probability she will follow very closely the modern type evolved under our rule. With no previous experience in our measurement rule it is not likely that Nicholson will take many liberties with it.

Charles E. Nicholson on a visit to the United States in 1919 was prevailed upon to tell of the construction of the Shamrock IV. He said:

Charles E. Nicholson, British naval architect, International Yacht Races, 1920"The challenger is the first boat ever built in England under the American measurement rule. She differs greatly from the Resolute and Vanitie.

"Shamrock, although a composite boat, is virtually a wooden one. She has a multi-skin planking of three thicknesses. The two inner are diagonal, and the outer one runs fore and aft. She has no timbers or frames, in the ordinary sense, and but few web frames, widely spaced. Some of these frames are of steel and others of aluminum. Instead of ordinary frames she has longitudinal wood stringers.

"Her deck is very light, of ply wood covered with canvas. Most of her deck beams are of wood. Her steel sheer strake and deck stringer plate are those usually worked into composite yachts. The challenger came across the Atlantic without any damage or straining of the slightest.

"Her mast, instead of being steel, is a hollow wood one, and it not even braced with steel. It is the biggest hollow wood spar ever made.

"She has a much fuller bow than the defender and is longer keeled than she is.

"Her aluminum frames are in perfect condition. Some of the aluminum deck fastenings will have to be renewed, but that is all. Her giant wooden mast was examined just in time to save it; her sails are in good condition and will be used again."


Shamrock IV : DATA TABLE
Designer Charles E. Nicholson
Builder Camper & Nicholsons
Owner Sir Thomas Lipton
Club Royal Ulster Yacht Club
Cup Edition 13 (1920)
Skipper William P. Burton
Afterguard Charles E. Nicholson, Mrs. William P. Burton, Colonel Duncan F.D. Neil, Captain Andrew Jackson Applegate & Claude Hickman
Launching May 26, 1914
Type Keel cutter with centreboard
Hull material Wood
Mast material Wood
L.O.A. 33,63 m
L.W.L. 22,86 m
Beam 6,35 m
Draft 4,16 m
Mainmast 32 m
Mainboom 26,82 m
Displacement 108,3 tons
Sail area  
Rating 93.8 & 94.4
Shamrock IV, racing in the Solent, England
Shamrock IV, racing in the Solent



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