Hoyt, C. Sherman (1878-1961) USA


01115VIn the third race of the 1934 challenge RAINBOW was down by two races and behind in the third when C. Sherman Hoyt took the helm. This was the closest that the N.Y.Y.C. would come to losing its treasured cup until 1983.

Hoyt was known for taking the helm in light weather because of his uncanny ability to note slight wind changes, and this time was no exception.

HISTORY - Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club

For 1892, A. Cary Smith was commissioned to draft a 21-foot one-design class, possibly the first one design in the world. Racing in these as a teenager, Sherman began to appear in the winner’s circle to an embarrassing degree from his elder’s point of view.

He was to become a delightful man, slight of stature, brown as a prune from the sun, with twinkling blue eyes and an iconoclastic sense of humor. He would win races at home and abroad, in dinghies, six meters, ocean racers and, for that matter, save the America’s Cup in J boats in 1934.

He remained a prime personage in yachting until his death in 1961. C. Sherman Hoyt was the first world-class yachtsman in America.

He outfoxed T.O.M. Sopwith, pointing well above the course finish and forcing Sopwith to make a covering attempt. RAINBOW sailed a straight course to the line while ENDEAVOUR fumbled. The Cup was safe as the tide of the challenge was turned by Hoyt's matchless genius at the helm and Harold Vanderbilt's ability to utilize the various talents of his crew to the best effect

This was by no means Hoyt's first experience with the America's Cup. A Cup enthusiast since childhood, he was on board VANITIE for the trial races in 1920, then he served as the New York Yacht Club representative aboard SHAMROCK IV. Of this experience, he later said "conditioning an America's Cup yacht is no sinecure. It requires no end of hard work, but is absorbingly interesting, frequently amusing, and never dull."

Hoyt served on the afterguard of ENTERPRISE in 1930 and RAINBOW in 1934, and would later broadcast the RANGER - ENDEAVOUR II series of 1937 for CBS. This he found trying, as there was sparse action except at starts and rounding marks. ShermanHoyt3There was little question of RANGER's superiority.

C. Sherman Hoyt was involved from the very beginnings of the 6 metre class in the USA and designed 5 sixes; US 12 Lea, US 24 Paumonok, US 35 Atrocia, US 40 Saleema, and US 52 Aprodite. He was the first to win the King Edward VII Gold Cup at the Tri-Centenary Regatta at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1907. After three decades of holding the Cup, Mr. Hoyt gave it to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

His fascinating life would earn him the title of the world's most famous yachtsman of his era and bring him in contact with the Dowager Empress of China, Adolph Hitler, King George V, William Tecumseh Sherman (his grand uncle), and countless others. C. Sherman Hoyt had an extraordinary life that took him around the world in adventures and voyages. His memoirs are a fascinating history of sailing since the 1880's in the eyes of a man who has seen it all.

ShermanHoyt2Sherman was born in Cleveland and graduated from Brown University whose undergraduate yacht club he helped to found. In both world wars he was commissioned in the Navy; in WW II he was an inspector of naval construction and spent much of his time testing PT boats after they had come off the builders’ ways.

He held life membership in the New York and Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Clubs (he was the latter’s No. 1 member) and the Cruising Club of America. He was an honorary member of the Storm Trysail Club and many others. Abroad, he was affiliated with the Royal Ocean Racing Club of England and the royal yacht clubs of several European countries.

C. Sherman Hoyt died at the age of 83 in a New York nursing home on March 19, 1961.