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THE DEFENSE FOR THE TWELFTH CHALLENGE

While the two Shamrocks were busy with each other in England things were happening fast in this country. The Reliance had been launched April 12th, and even in her sail stretching spins showed evidence of great speed, particularly in smooth water and light airs.
In order to give her a thorough trying out Mr. E. D. Morgan put Columbia in commission and gave the command to Captain " Lem " Miller, who was ...

...mate with Barr in the races of 1901 and so knew the boat, while the Constitution syndicate fitted out its boat under Mr. Belmont's management. Captain Rhodes was again given charge of her.

On board Reliance was C. Oliver Iselin, who had once more been persuaded to take up the task of managing a cup defender. This time no mistake was made in the choice of a skipper, and Charley Barr was found in charge of her quarter deck, with a big crew of Scandinavians.

The three boats raced throughout the summer, and Reliance proved herself the fastest, beyond a doubt. The general result of these races showed Reliance to be about ten minutes faster than Columbia in light weather, and about three minutes faster in a strong breeze and sea, over a thirty-mile course. With her immense sail area Reliance heeled to her sailing lines in about a seven-knot breeze which, of course, made her very fast in light airs; yet in breezes up to twelve- knots' strength she was still powerful enough not to bury her lee rail except when caught broad off with sheets amidships.

The first meeting between the three boats took place on May 5 and, at the end of the month, the Glen Cove series (21. 23, 26, 30 may 1903)

Results of the races sailed by the Defenders before the Trial races

Glen Cove series (21 - 30 may 1903)
New York Yacht Club
May
21
Race N°1 : triangle: 25 miles - Wind: from calm to Ten-Knot Breeze
  1 Reliance 4:17:36
  2 Columbia 4:29:19
  Constitution DNS
May
23
  Race N°2 : triangle: 25 miles - Wind: calm
Race called off
May
26
  Race N°3 : Thirty-Mile Course (triangle 2 rounds) in Good Breeze.
  1 Reliance 2:57:11
  2 Constitution 2:59:32
  3 Columbia 3:13:02
May
28
  Race N°4 : - Good breeze 9 to 12 knots
  1 Reliance 2:09:38
  2 Columbia 2:18:05
    Constitution DNF
May
30
  Race N°5 : Triangle of 25 miles - Light wind
  1 Reliance 3:35:11
  2 Constitution 3:59:37
  3 Columbia 5:43:29

FIRST OCEAN RACE
New York Yacht Club
June
11
Fifteen-Mile Course from Sandy Hook and return - Wind Light and Sea Smooth
  1 Reliance 3:49:43
  2 Constitution 3:55:35
3 Columbia 4:02:37
Cup offered by Commodore Frank Tilford
Indian Harbor Yacht Club
June
19
  Triangle 25 miles off the Sound - Light breeze at the start
  1 Reliance 4:04:17
  2 Constitution 4:06:07
  3 Columbia 4:16:54

SEAWANHAKA CORINTHIAN YACHT CLUB
June
20
  Triangle 23,5 miles in seven to thirteen knots breeze.
  1 Reliance 2:46:12
  2 Constitution 2:50:29
  3 Columbia 2:53:43

NEWPORT SERIES
June
29
  Race N°1 : Fifteen-Mile Course and return - Stiff winds and heavy seas
  1 Reliance 3:09:53
  2 Columbia 3:14:02
  3 Constitution 3:14:51
June
30
  Race N°2 : Fifteen-Mile Course and return - Stiff winds and heavy seas
  1 Reliance 3:15:38
  2 Constitution 3:22:40
  3 Columbia 3:23:39
July
01
  Race N°3 : Fifteen-Mile Course and return - Stiff winds and heavy seas
  1 Reliance 3:04:27
  2 Constitution 3:09:57
  3 Columbia 3:10:16
July
02
  Race N°4 : Thirty-Mile triangle - Stiff winds (20 to 25 knots) and heavy seas
  1 Reliance 2:59:20
    Constitution DNF
    Columbia DNF
First run of the New York Yacht Club
July
17
37 miles from Glen Cove to Morris Cove - Wind: Light Breeze
  1 Reliance 5:41:14
  2 Constitution 5:42:13
3 Columbia 5:48:35

Second run of the New York Yacht Club
July
18
  39 miles from Morris Cove to New London - Wind: 10 to 12 knots Breeze
  1 Reliance 3:18:28
  2 Constitution 3:24:57
3 Columbia 3:34:52

Third run of the New York Yacht Club
July
20
  40 miles from New London to Newport - Wind: 12-knot breeze
  1 Reliance 3:26:00
  2 Constitution 3:27:29
  3 Columbia 3:36:54

ASTOR CUP RACES
July
23
  Triangle of 38 miles - Strong breeze and heavy sea
  1 Reliance 4:03:49
  2 Columbia 2:22:38

Cup Albert S. Bigelow
Eastern Yacht Club
July
25
  Triangle of 30 miles - Wind: 10 to 14 knots Breeze
  1 Reliance 2:58:52
  2 Constitution 3:05:10
  3 Columbia DNF

In these races Constitution appeared to better advantage than she had two years before and she wins several races in corrected times. Yet she never showed consistent form or fully justified the faith of many yachtsmen who believed that she should have been chosen as the defender in 1901. Columbia was not as well handled as when Barr had her, and Constitution was undoubtedly in better shape than during her first season.

Reliance selected :

The handling of a large racing yacht plays so great a part in its success or failure that it is often hard to say just how much of her showing is due to the man at the helm; and more and more the successful skipper of a large racing machine has to be a man who is something more than a mere helmsman and sail trimmer. He must have also the faculty of getting a boat into trim, and properly tuning the whole fabric of sails, spars, and hull into perfect harmony, and rounding it into winning form.

Three official trial races were arranged off Newport, beginning July 27th. On that date Reliance, Columbia, and Constitution met in a thirty-mile race and Reliance won, beating Columbia by 46 seconds and Constitution by 2 minutes and 29 seconds. This was the only official trial race held, as others were deemed unnecessary after Reliance's showing throughout the summer. After the boats finished the Cup Committee met on the steam yacht Rambler and formally selected Reliance to meet Shamrock III.

 

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