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racing in smaller yachts built to the Unive rsal Rule. In 19 12 he fo rmalized the proposal for 75-foo t waterline boats rather than the 90-foo ters of the previous era. Wo rld War I delayed the next contest until 1920, and a number of interesting designs were devised for the new class. William Gardner's Vanitie and D efiance by Professor Geo rge Owen were fin e boats. Captain Na t H erreshoff produced Resolute of moderate p roportio ns with his characteristic elegance of line and fin esse of detail. In the fin al trials of 1920, Resolute won seven races to Vanitie's fo ur. The J-boat era of the 1930s co uld be called the Vanderbilt era. H arold S. Vanderbilt was skipper in 1930, 1934 and 1937. H e was also the principal backer of the magnificent Js, Enterprise, Rainbow, and Ranger, fin ancing the latter entirely h imself. Rainbow wo n in a very tight contest in 1934. Ranger was the first America's C up yacht developed through model testing in a towing tank. Co-designer O lin Stephens II had developed great co nfidence in the procedures developed by Kenneth D avidson of the Stevens Institute of Technology in H oboken, New Jersey. Alternative designs were evaluated in tan k tests, and the results gave Stephens and Starling Burgess the confidence ro depart sharply from conventional J-boat practice. Ranger to tally dominated the trials and Cup Races of 1937. She was longer, mo re powerful,

Olin Stephens at the helm onboard R anger.

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Ranger, designed by Olin]. Stephens JI and Starling Burgess, was the first America's Cup yacht whose design was developed through model testing in a towing tank. had a bigger rig, was sailed better and was mo re refin ed in nearly every res pect. H er afterguard under the seasoned and canny Vanderbil t benefited hugely from the presence of O lin Stephens and his bro ther Rod, probably the fin est racing seamen who ever crewed o n a yacht.

The 12-Metre Era: 1958-1987 Following Wo rld War II, conventional wisdom ass umed that the America's Cup was do ne. The world was rebuilding, and there seem ed li ttle prospect of funding further J boats, given their great expense. The Cup itself remained the pride of the New York Yach t Club, cominually on display in the trophy room of the 44th Street Club H ouse. Most expected it wo uld stay there fo r a long time, perhaps never to be raced fo r again . En ter Commodores H enry Sears and H enry Mo rgan . By petitio ning the Suprem e Court of New York, they m odified the D eed of G ifr to allow smaller yachts, witho ut the previous demand that challengers must cross the ocean o n their own bottoms. Ir was agreed to compete in the International 12-Metre C lass, which had provided excellem racing for several years before the war. D esigned to the rather tight specifications of the In te rnational Rule, these boats did not really fit the grand traditions of the C up but, nevertheless, provided nearly three decades of some of the fin est match racing ever. The Imernational Rule is an inelegam arbitrary fo rmula that co ntrols and restricts the design of these boats within narrow limits. There is a minimum length, maximum drafr, maximum rig heights, and a set relation between length and displacement. Scanrlings-first in wood and

later in aluminum-are tightly contro lled by specifics of the rule. Nevertheless, the boars imp roved co minuo usly wi th inn ovatio ns in design, particularly by O li n Stephens. C uriously, som e of the fin est racing of all was in the fin als of the first selection trials between Columbia, sailed by Briggs C unningham and designed by Sparkman & Stephens, against Stephens's 12-Metre Vim. As had happened a few times before, in 1962 a weak boat won by the brilliance of her skipper-Weatherly, skippered by Bus Mosbacher. That was the first year of an Australian challenger, Gretel. O lin Steph ens's Intrepid of 1967 was a breakthro ugh yacht. H er we tted surface was drastically reduced with a shorter keel and separate rudder, and the boat h ad numero us refinemem s. Wi th o utstanding managemem and the skill of Mosbacher again as skipper, Intrepid was unbeatable. The quest fo r fu rther breakth ro ughs led to some peculiar and unsuccessful des igns over the next two seaso ns. In 1974, O lin Stephens des igned another ve ry fi ne boat, Courageous. Built of aluminum under new scanding rules, Courageous was powerful and superior in a breeze bm did not easily defeat Intrepid, striving fo r a thi rd defense. The selection trials cam e down to a m emorable suddendeath race in a 30-knot northeast breeze with Courageous winning through superior speed an d better sailing. W ith D ennis Co nner as skipper, Freedom won th e C up in 1980. Freedom had lower freeboard, which provided a lower center of gravity and less hull wi ndage. Conner's brilliant program in the development of sails, gear, and crew alte red Am erica's C up procedures from then on.

SEA HISTORY 11 6,AUTUMN 2006

Sea History 116 - Autumn 2006  

10 Heroes of the Sailing Navy: Stephen Decatur Jr., by William H. White • 16 "Black Hands, Blue Seas:" Sailmaker James Forten by Deirdre O'...

Sea History 116 - Autumn 2006  

10 Heroes of the Sailing Navy: Stephen Decatur Jr., by William H. White • 16 "Black Hands, Blue Seas:" Sailmaker James Forten by Deirdre O'...

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