America - the myth (part 1)


Was America really the revolutionary craft the press made out at the time? asks Adrian Morgan
She has a low, black hull, two noble sticks of extreme rake... When close to her you see that her bow is as sharp as a knife-blade, scooped away as it were outwards till it swells towards the stern, the sides gradually springing outwards as round as an apple till a little forward of the mainmast, where she has her greatest beam, being there some twenty two feet and some inches across.. . Standing at the stern and looking forward the deck is nearly of wedge shape, the bow being as sharp as the apex of a triangle, and the stern not being very much less than the extreme width of the beam' Bell's Life, August 1851 On March 28, 1942, an unusually heavy snowfall smothered the New England countryside. At the height of the blizzard, the roof of a nondescript shed on the waterfront at Trumpy's Yard in Annapolis collapsed. The incident was scarcely newsworthy. America was at war and had other, far more pressing, matters on its mind. But to the historians of the America's Cup it was a tragedy, for the shed was the final resting place of a low, black schooner whose legacy has inspired controversy ever since. Almost 60 years after the world's most celebrated yacht was crushed beneath tons of corrugated iron and snow, the myth of her invincibility still endures. America was designed by George Steers, superintendent of the mould loft at the yard of New York's leading shipbuilder, William H Brown, at the foot of 12th Street on the East River. Steers' father had learned his trade at the Royal Naval Dockyard at Devonport, emigrating to the United States in 1819, a year before George was born. Brown agreed to build a 'strong, seagoing vessel, and rigged for ocean sailing'. The schooner's lines were a development

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