Category: AMERICA

A.D. Blake : "America" and "Constitution" leave Newport in the summer of 1865.New Design

The America was designed by James Rich Steers and George Steers (1820–1856). Traditional "cod-head-and-mackerel-tail" design gave boats a blunt bow and a sharp stern with the widest point (the beam) placed one-third of the length aft of the bow.

Image trouvée sur le blog de François Chevalier & Jacques TaglangGeorge Steers' pilot boats designs, however, had a concave clipper-bow with the beam of the vessel at amidships. As a result his schooner-rigged pilot boats were among the fastest and most seaworthy of their day. They had to be seaworthy, for they had to meet inbound and outbound vessels in any kind of weather. These vessels also had to be fast, for harbor pilots competed with each other for business.

With the America, the English received a revelation. When the Marquis of Anglesey, who was 80 years of age and whose memory extended back to Nelson's days, saw her first he exclaimed, "If she is right we must all be wrong."

The America represented in model many things the English yacht-builders had failed to embrace in their type of schooner. There was a tradition in England, surviving the days of the Merry Monarch and his high-pooped and broad-bowed royal yacht, that a vessel to be good must have the most of her beam “in the eyes of her”, as a Yankee sailor would say. The type was distinguished by the “apple bow”, a term sufficiently descriptiveImage trouvée sur le blog de François Chevalier & Jacques Taglang to need little explanation.

Contemporary English comment on the America was characteristically frank. “Our first idea”, said a writer of the period, “ was that the secret of her success lay in the formation of her hull, — that long sharp entrance with flanched-out upper works giving the appearance of a great hollow in the fore-body lines, had never been seen in any English schooner. The position of the midship section was not unknown to us ; the formation of her stern was new, and her upright sternpost was at variance with our practice. Our builders admitted, if not publicly at least tacitly, that her hull was perfection”...

Designer George Steers
Builder Michael Ratsey
Owner John Cox Stevens
Club New York Yacht Club
Cup Edition 0(1851)
Launching May 3rd, 1851
Type gaff schooner
Hull material Wood
Mast material Bois
L.O.A. 30,86 m
L.W.L. 27,38 m
Beam 6,96 m
Draught 3,33 m
Displacement 170 tons
Sail Area 498 m²
Foremast 79 ft. 6 in.
Mainmast 81 ft.

56 ft.

Bowsprit 17 ft.

Schooner America in August 1891

Source Wikipedia


Half the success of the America resulted from the exquisite proportion, cut, and material of her sails The America's sails being made of machine-made cotton duck, a fabric not then used in England, and cut to set flat, they presented vast superiority over the loose-woven flax canvas English sails, with their great flow. An old English sailor was quoted as saying on seeing the America's sails, “A craft should sail with stuff like that over her; it is more like veneer board than canvas”.

The lines of America
The Lawson history
of America's cup



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