Category: 1901 : CHALLENGE N°11

SIR THOMAS LIPTON lost no time in announcing his plans for his second attempt to "lift the cup".
Fife having failed with Shamrock I to make possible the realization of Sir Thomas' high ambition was to be put aside, and George Lennox Watson, Americans learned through the press, would be prevailed on, it was hoped, to accept a commission to design the second challenger.

He was to be given a free hand, the cleverest builders in Britain were to be employed to construct the vessel, and, to quote Sir Thomas, five-pound notes were to be "shoveled on" to spur all concerned to their highest achievements. This, in a period in the cup's history when money was the chief essential of prestige in a challenger, was indeed evidence of Sir Thomas' unconquerable will, and it served well to keep alive interest in the cup contests during the year that elapsed between the return of the defeated Shamrock to England and the arrival of Sir Thomas' second challenge.

This challenge, like the first, came from the Royal Ulster Yacht Club. It was as follows :

Royal Ulster Yacht Club,
Mt. Pottinger Road, Belfast, Ireland,
Oct. 2d, 1900.

J. V. S. Oddie, EsqR.,
Secretary New York Yacht Club, New York.

Dear Sir:
— I am requested by Sir Thomas J. Lipton to forward you this challenge for the America cup, subject, as to starts and courses and other details, to the same conditions as upon the occasion of the last race, which were found so satisfactory.

The first race to be sailed on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 1901.
The second race to be sailed on Thursday, Aug. 22, 1901.
The third race to be sailed on Saturday, Aug. 24, 1901.
Further races, if any, to be sailed upon the same days in the following week.

I, therefore, on behalf of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, and in the name of Sir Thomas Lipton, rear commodore of the club, challenge to sail a series of match races with the yacht Shamrock II against any other yacht or vessel constructed in the United States of America, for the America cup.

The following are the particulars of the challenging vessel:
Owner, Sir Thomas J. Lipton.
Name of yacht, Shamrock II
Length on load water-line, 89.5 feet.
Rig, cutter.

The custom-house measurement will follow as soon as the vessel can be measured for registration.

I shall be much obliged if you will cable the receipt of this challenge.

Hugh C. Kelly,
Honorable Secretary, Royal Ulster Yacht Club.

The New York Yacht Club appointed a cup committee composed of the following members: Commodore Lewis Cass Ledyard, Vice Commodore August Belmont, Rear Commodore C. L. F. Robinson, Secretary J. V. S. Oddie ; S. Nicholson Kane, chairman of the regatta committee, Ex-Commodore E. D. Morgan, E. M. Brown, J. Pierpont Morgan, C. Oliver Iselin.

The committee on October 17th, 1900, sent the following acceptance of the Lipton challenge by cable:

New York, Oct. 17th, 1900.

Hugh C. Kelly,
Secretary of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club, Belfast.

Meeting committee held. Your challenge accepted.
Conditions same as stood at close of last year's races, including private agreement as to accidents, and except as modified as to days of races by your challenge, and extending limit of time of start to 2 p. m., suitable to change of months. Is this satisfactory?


On Oct. 22d Sir Thomas Lipton requested by cable that starts be made not later than 1 p. m. and that the time limit be six hours instead of five and one-half hours. The committee granted the first request, but not the second.

Conditions to govern the match were forwarded to the challenging club Dec. 10th, 1900. They called for

  • best three out of five races,
  • starting from Sandy Hook light-vessel,
  • the first to be fifteen miles to windward and leeward, and the next over a thirty-mile triangle, the same courses to be repeated in subsequent races;
  • all starts to be to windward when possible ;
  • the committee to have power to shift the starting-point to secure a windward start;
  • starting signals to be as nearly as practicable at 11 a. m., and delayed only
    1. in case of a change of start as above ;
    2. in case of fog ;
    3. if in the opinion of the regatta committee the starting line is not sufficiently clear at the time appointed for the start ;
    4. in case both yachts agree to a postponement ;
    5. in case of serious accident to either vessel, under special agreement that either vessel shall have sufficient time to effect repairs after any accident happening prior to the preparatory signal for a race, or in case of an accident happening in a race, time for repairs to be given before starting another race ;
  • unfinished races of one kind to be repeated until finished ;
  • preparatory signal to be given fifteen minutes, and warning signal five minutes before starting signal ;
  • exact time of a yacht crossing the line to be taken as her start during the two minutes following the starting signal, and the end of that time as the start of the yacht crossing after its expiration ;
  • no race to be started after 1 p. m. ;
  • time limit of a race five and one-half hours ;
  • defending yacht to be named one week before the first race ;
  • New York Yacht Club rules to govern measurement and time allowance, and the club's racing rules to govern the races, except as modified by agreement ;
  • races to be sailed August 20th, 22d and 24th, and' succeeding Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays ;
  • vessels to be measured with all weights to be carried in a race on board, and to be allowed three men to every five feet racing length, restrictions as to floors, bulkheads and water tanks to be waived ;
  • either yacht altering trim to arrange for remeasurement before racing again ;
  • water-lines to be marked.

Sir Thomas Lipton on Jan. 30th, 1901, requested that the yachts be given a one-gun start, that they be measured at the Brooklyn navy yard graving-dock, and that Shamrock be given three weeks to refit at New York in the event of being delayed by stress of weather or other cause. The New York Yacht Club committee replied, Feb. 18th, that it could see no reason for changing the method of starting the races; that it did not control the Brooklyn navy yard dock and therefore was not sure of it when wanted, and deemed it inexpedient to make its use a condition of the match; and agreeing to allow Shamrock three weeks for fitting out after arrival, but the first race to be sailed not later than Aug. 27th. This in substance provided for a possible postponement of the races for a week only, even if Shamrock arrived less than three weeks before that date.