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Heart of America, US-51

Heart of America, US-51

Built in 1986 according to the International Third Rule- America’s Cup.

Heart of America, US-51

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Classic America’s Cup: the Heart of America

  • By Jim Carrier
  • Updated: July 16, 2013

Heart of America Challenge poster

The other day, on a sidewalk outside a thrift store in Madison, Wis., a framed poster propped against the window stopped me in my tracks. It showed a sailboat barreling toward me on a port tack – through a wheat field!

The price was $7.

“I hope you bought it,” laughed Buddy Melges, the venerable sailor, when I called him at his home in Lake Geneva. Melges, it turns out, was at the helm of the boat.

The artwork captured beautifully a remarkable and unique sailing adventure in U.S. history – a home-grown Midwestern attempt to win the America’s Cup .

In a year when billionaires battle for the cup with Star-Wars -ish flying machines on San Francisco Bay, the story of the 1987 “Heart of America Challenge” is a charming if melancholy tale of what sailing competitions used to be.

In 1983, after Australia wrested the cup from the U.S., indignant sailors all over America mounted campaigns to get it back. Gene Kinney of the Chicago Yacht Club asked Melges to lead an effort, one of seven from the U.S.

Harry “Buddy” Melges, famous for producing inland boats at his family plant in Zenda, Wisconsin, relished challenging not only Australia but also the sailing establishment on both American coasts, who, he once said labeled him, “this hack from the Midwest.”

While lawyers somehow convinced a New York court that Lake Michigan was an “arm of the sea” and could serve as a defender’s turf should they win the cup, Melges pulled together shoestrings to gather a team and raise $6 million to build a new 12-meter boat and get to Australia.

“It was a little bit here, little bit there” Melges remembered. At one point the team was clearing $15,000 a week from T-shirts alone. The largest single gift, $1 million, came from the telephone company MCI Communications.

Leo Burnett, the Chicago advertising firm that created “Marlboro country,” and Pillsbury’s “nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven,” campaigns, came aboard. Art directors John Eding and Ted Bell soon came up with the idea of a sailboat in a wheat field, and hired Chicago illustrator David Beck to create it.

Beck spent a day in a chase boat on Lake Michigan taking pictures of the crew training on a borrowed yacht, and found the drama of tacking through blowing wheat. An original idea of a cove stripe pitchfork was changed to a wheat shaft.

At the yacht club unveiling, “it was like rock star applause – I’d never experienced anything like that,” Beck recalled. Everyone loved it, with the exception of Gov. Jim Thompson who wanted the boat sailing in corn stalks, Illinois’ leading farm crop. Beck talked him out of it.

The poster was sold for $100, or $500 signed by Melges, skipper Gary Jobson and Beck. They went like hotcakes. Beck was never paid by Burnett, but sold two additional originals to corporate sponsor Ciba-Geigy, and for years received agriculture commissions.

“I did guys standing in wheat fields and corn fields and a plethora of crops,” he said by phone from Cincinnati where he is now a well-known illustrator.

Jobson, who left the campaign to broadcast the 1987 cup for ESPN, calls it the best America’s Cup poster ever done. The campaign was also one of a kind.

“Eighty-seven was mostly an amateur contest,” he said. The boats were crewed by nationals, it was the last of the 12-meter yachts in the cup, there were still a couple of wood boats competing against aluminum and glass, and the money was chump change compared to today’s races. Melges went to Australia in 1986 with $3 million in cash and a contingent of 40 people.

“We did a lot of work with the crew, the old Midwestern way, from the ground up,” Melges said. “They were a bunch of kids. We went after guys that had structure, who could get on the handles.”

One who had that “structure” was Larry Mialik of Madison, a tight end for the University of Wisconsin who went on to play pro football. Melges had remembered a radio broadcast in which Mialik had caught a touchdown pass against Ohio State. He called him up.

“I grew up not knowing how to spell yacht,” said Mialik. “Buddy said, ‘meet me in Chicago tomorrow in front of the Chicago Tribune.’ And there was the Heart of America and the governor’s wife with the champagne and a bunch of guys in blue blazers. It was life changing.” Mialik, who earned $70 a week to grind for Melges, became a racing pro.

The 26th America’s Cup, broadcast live to the U.S. for the first time, left Heart of America 8th out of 13 challengers to take on Australia’s Kookaburra III. Jobson said the Midwesterners got better with every race. In the end they lacked $200,000 for a new main and jib for the final round-robin Louis Vuitton series.

“In the end we were one of the four fastest. We just didn’t have enough points,” said Melges, who is now 83. Dennis Connor, whose syndicate Sail America took three boats to Australia, came home with the cup.

Four years later, the world had changed. Melges won the cup for Bill Koch, with a $62 million budget and staff of 240 people, including eight of his Heart of America crew.

Knowing Buddy’s penchant for colorful quotes, I asked his view of this year’s America’s Cup.

“Before, it was a slow moving program, what sailing was all about: tactics, defending your position, boat handling. It’s a drag race now. Pedal down and go like a raped ape.”

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Special Report: Louis Vuitton America's Cup Series

Sailing Into America’s Cup History in Chicago

heart of america yacht

By Christopher Clarey

  • June 9, 2016

The America’s Cup races have yet to be held on fresh water. Even when Team Alinghi, from landlocked Switzerland, defended the Cup in 2007, it chose to hold the competition in Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea off Valencia.

But the America’s Cup preliminaries will break the freshwater taboo when Chicago stages a Louis Vuitton World Series event on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The racing, which will take place on Lake Michigan off Navy Pier, brings together the six teams entered in next year’s main event in Bermuda. They will compete in AC 45 foiling catamarans, a one-design version of the slightly larger boats that will be deployed for the Cup itself in 2017.

Monohulls, long used in the venerable regatta that began in 1851, are generally faster in salt water, because it is more buoyant and therefore creates less displacement.

“There’s less hull to pull through the water, because the boat is floating a little bit higher,” said Tod Reynolds, the event director for the Chicago World Series event.

But foiling catamarans mostly sail above the surface of the water, with submerged carbon-fiber appendages providing the lift and requisite stability.

“With the foiling you’re not so much worried about the displacement as viscosity, so it’s actually the drag over the foils that matters, and fresh water has less drag than salt water over the foils,” Reynolds said. “So if we get a good wind direction and a good windy day in Chicago, I think there’s a good chance we’ll see speed records set in these boats.”

The competitors themselves are not so clear on the repercussions. Matt Cassidy was based in Chicago for several years before joining the crew of the America’s Cup defender, Oracle Team USA, in 2015. He has raced often on Lake Michigan.

“I honestly don’t think it’s going to be that big of a change between salt and fresh water,” Cassidy said by telephone from Bermuda last week. “I keep telling everyone the biggest thing is you’re not going to have to spray all the salt off the boat at the end of the day and wash everything down. Our takeoff speeds might be a little faster, but I honestly don’t think it’s going to be a huge change for us.”

Two things the teams won’t have to worry about on Lake Michigan are ocean tides and river currents. They raced in a world series event in New York last month in the brackish water of the Hudson River off lower Manhattan. They had trouble with the current and with the wind consistency because of the effects created by the tall buildings along both banks.

Chicago has an imposing skyline, too, but only on one side of the course, and the skyscrapers are farther from the water.

“That actually goes back to the Chicago fire,” Reynolds said, referring to the 1871 fire. “The entire lakefront of Chicago is public land, so it’s all parks. What that means is that the racecourse is about a mile away from the first building, so we will still have time for the breeze to kind of reconnect as it comes through the city. But the reality is we are in a city, so if the breeze does come right through the city, it’s going to be shifty.”

“But though we have never run races in flying multihulls, we’ve run a lot in multihulls in this venue,” he added, “and while it is really shifty, it’s not quite as random because the current adds a massive impact where as soon as you lose breeze a little bit, the boat almost stops. Whereas the flat water and the lack of current on the lake allows you to kind of coast a little bit farther and connect the puffs a bit easier.”

That should come as a relief to Ben Ainslie, the star British sailor who wrote a piece in The Daily Telegraph in Britain after the New York event praising the crowd turnout but stating that the race itself was held in “the last place on earth you would want to put a race course.”

Russell Coutts, the former star skipper who is now chief executive of the America’s Cup Event Authority, said in a telephone interview that he was confident that if the races returned to New York, the authorities would allow them to use a more propitious spot in the harbor.

But he also pointed out in response to Ainslie’s newspaper commentary that the same teams that have been leading the way — Emirates Team New Zealand and Oracle Team USA — were still on top, even in fluky conditions. “Ben was obviously disappointed about his result,” Coutts said. “But look at the results, and look at the results of the season.”

This could have been Chicago’s Olympic year. It bid for the 2016 Summer Games that were instead awarded to Rio de Janeiro. Knowing what the International Olympic Committee members know now about Rio’s and Brazil’s political and socioeconomic difficulties, the members might have voted differently.

But Reynolds said he and others in Chicago still hoped that the city would some day lure the America’s Cup itself. Chicago has a significant sailing culture, and the Chicago Yacht Club even backed skipper Buddy Melges and the Heart of America challenge for the America’s Cup in 1987 in Fremantle, Australia. As part of that challenge, lawyers somehow successfully argued to the New York Supreme Court that Lake Michigan was “an arm of the sea” because of its link to the St. Lawrence Seaway and thus satisfied the requirements in the deed of gift to potentially host the America’s Cup.

The city also made a serious bid to host the 2017 edition of the Cup. It went instead to Bermuda, which offered a more attractive financial package and space for team bases in the two years leading into the Cup.

“Our goal is that this world-series event would be a steppingstone to the finals should the stars align, and obviously a lot of stars have to align,” Reynolds said. “I mean, how perfect would it be to have the teams be able to use the existing infrastructure in Bermuda, be based there, train there just as they are doing now, and then have the finals in a city where it’s easy for fans to get to, sponsors are able to activate, and you have our signature skyline in the background.”

Inexperienced Crew Wins With ‘Heart’ : Sailing: Heart of America makes successful return to racing with victory over two other 12-meter yachts in BMW regatta.

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When skipper Vince Simms and members of his crew boarded the 12-meter yacht Heart of America before its challenge race against America II and Stars & Stripes ’86 on San Diego Bay Saturday, they all had one thing in common. None of them had never raced the sailboat before.

They could have been more prepared for the first West Coast race between three 12-meter yachts, the featured event of the fifth BMW regatta. All three were U.S. boats built to contend for the America’s Cup in Fremantle, Australia, in 1987.

But when they passed America II on a tight turn on the last buoy and headed for the finish, Simms and his crew looked as though they had turned back the clock. They went on to beat America II by two minutes and Stars & Stripes by four.

“I was going to run a conservative race,” said Simms, who normally serves as a sheet trimmer on Stars & Stripes ’86. “But I got more confident in my crew as the race went on. So I decided to go to the line, go for the gusto.”

Heart of America got off to a quick start and led as the three sailed west from Harbor Island toward Point Loma, but America II had the best line and moved in front as the boats circled the first buoy west of North Island. Heart of America had to tack to make the turn; America II didn’t.

But that might have worked in Heart of America’s favor. When the two yachts reached the critical second turn in front of the Seaport Village Embarcadero and had to drop their spinnakers, Heart of America out-maneuvered America II, knifed its way inside and took the wind.

At one point, the two boats were parallel as they made the turn, and Simms yelled at America II skipper Philip Freedman to give him the right of way. Simms had gambled on the tack maneuver, waiting until the last possible second to drop his spinnaker. In doing so, Heart of America came from two lengths back to catch America II.

“I yelled as loud as I could, ‘Give me room,’ ” Simms said. “Our hulls were overlapped enough to where we were permitted by racing rights to take the inside.”

While Heart of America had wrested away the lead, America II floundered when shielded from the 12-knot breeze.

“We did three tacks (to get out from behind Heart of America’s main sail) and got down to about four knots,” Freedman said. “They just pulled away.”

Of the three boats that raced Saturday, Heart of America was the only one to race in America’s Cup qualifying rounds. The boat, built by the Chicago Yacht Club, was eliminated only after it lost a crewman overboard and a spinnaker poll snapped during a race. This was its first race since it had sat in storage for three years.

But the crew members who sailed her to victory were relative novices. Among those on board were a college student, an insurance salesman and two women, one a kindergarten teacher.

“I anticipated winning,” Simms said. “My biggest fear was the unknown, my crew. None of them are experienced. I’m delighted.”

Well, Simms did have a ringer, tactician Larry Klein, who is heading a local syndicate to challenge in the 1992 America’s Cup. But Simms said Klein played only a minor role.

“He confirmed everything I knew already,” Simms said, “and told me to just shut up and drive.”

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America’s Cup boats: How they work and why they’re unique

  • Toby Heppell
  • February 5, 2021

The America's Cup boats to be used on the 2021 edition of the event are unlike anything we have seen before. They might be officially sailing craft but they behave in some remarkable ways.

heart of america yacht

The AC75s, the America’s Cup boats currently racing in the Prada Cup and that will be used for next month’s Cup match showdown, are arguably the most radical boat the America’s Cup has ever seen. 

The America’s Cup is, fundamentally, a design competition, and successive America’s Cups have featured the most extreme yachts yet – for their time – ever since the first race in 1851 .  

However, the foiling boats we have seen in the last three editions of America’s Cup racing (the AC72 and AC50 catamarans, and now the AC75 monohulls ) do represent a new direction for the highest level of sailing. 

There are plenty who argue that this technology is so far beyond the bounds of what most people consider sailing as to be an entirely different sport. Equally, there are those who believe this is simply a continuation of the development that the America’s Cup has always pushed to the fore, from Bermudan rigs, to composite materials, winged keels, and everything in between.

Good arguments can be made either way and foiling in the world’s oldest sporting trophy will always be a subjective and controversial topic. But one thing is certain: the current America’s Cup boats, the AC75s, are unlike anything seen before and are showcasing to the world just what is possible under sail power alone.   

heart of america yacht

American Magic hit an impressive 53.3 knots on their final weekend of racing. Photo: COR 36/Studio Borlenghi

1 Unimaginable speed

In their final race before being knocked out of the competition , American Magic’s Patriot registered a top speed of 53.3 knots during a bear away. 

Topping the 50-knot barrier used to be the preserve of extreme speed record craft and kiteboarders. A World Speed Sailing Record was set in 2009 of 51.36 knots by Alain Thebault in his early foiling trimaran, Hydroptere , and was bested in 2010 by kite boarder, Alexandre Caizergues who managed 54.10 knots.

O nly one craft has ever topped 60-knots, the asymmetric Vestas Sail Rocket , which was designed for straight line speed only and could no more get around an America’s Cup course than cross an ocean. Such records are set by sailing an average speed over the course of 500m, usually over a perfectly straight, flat course in optimum conditions.

America’s Cup class yachts, designed to sail windward/leeward courses around marks, are now hitting speeds that just over a decade ago were the preserve of specialist record attempts, while mid-race.

Perhaps even more impressive, in the right conditions when racing we have seen some boats managing 40 knots of boatspeed upwind in around 17 knots of wind. That is simply unheard of in performance terms and almost unimaginable just three or so years ago. 

heart of america yacht

Photo: COR 36/Studio Borlenghi

2 A storm onboard America’s Cup boats

Related to the speeds the boats are sailing through the water, particularly upwind, is the wind speeds the sailors will feel on deck. 

When sailing, the forward motion affects the wind we experience onboard, known as apparent wind. The oft’ trotted out explanation of how apparent wind works is to imagine driving your car at 50mph. Roll down the window and stick your hand out of it and there will be 50mph of wind hitting your hand from the direction your car is travelling.

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heart of america yacht

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So when an AC75 is sailing upwind in 18 knots of breeze at a boatspeed of 40 knots, the crew on deck will be experiencing 40 knots of wind over the decks plus a percentage of the true wind speed – depending on their angle to the wind. 

The AC75 crews might be sailing in only 18 knots of breeze – what would feel like a decent summer breeze on any other boat – but they experience winds of around 50 knots.

To put that into context, that is a storm force 10 on the Beaufort scale!

heart of america yacht

Once up on the foil, everything to windward of the leeward foil generates righting moment. Photo: COR 36/Studio Borlenghi

3 Righting moment changes  

The single most radical development of the AC75 is to take a 75ft ‘keelboat’, but put no keel on it whatsoever. 

When the America’s Cup Defender and the Challenger of Record, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli respectively, announced the 36th America’s Cup would be sailed in 75ft monohulls, conventional wisdom had it that the boats would look something like a TP52 or a Maxi72 – both impressively high performance keelboats.  

By doing away with the keel entirely, the design is now like nothing we have ever seen, particularly when it comes to how dynamic the power transition is between foiling and not foiling. 

The boats are designed to foil on the leeward foil, with the windward one raised to help increase righting moment: to help balance the boat. This means that when the AC75 is not foiling they are extremely tippy – much more so than most other boats of the same size.

Essentially, when the wind catches the sails, the boat wants to fall over as there is too much sail area for the amount of weight underneath the boat – something a lead keel usually counters on a yacht or keelboat. 

Once the boat is up and on the foils, however, that all changes, as everything to windward of the single foil in the water balances the sails. That means, the hull, the crew weight, the sail and rig weight, and the windward foil, all work to counter the sails. 

What all this means is that the boats go from being extremely tippy, to hugely powerful in just the few seconds it takes to get up on the foil. “The [AC75s] are really very tippy pre-foiling and then they go through the transition where they will need to build significant power. Then immediately [once they lift off] you have more stability than, well, take your pick, but certainly more righting moment than something like a Volvo 70 with a big canting keel.

“That change all happens in a very short space of time,” explained Burns Fallow of North Sails, who was one of the team who developed the soft wing concept back when the concept was revealed. 

heart of america yacht

With lift created to windward by the foils, it is possible that the boats can sail diagonally to windward. Photo: COR 36/Studio Borlenghi

4 America’s Cup boats may not be heading where they point

With the AC75 sailing on its foil, drag is dramatically reduced, vast amounts of power can be generated and so speeds rapidly increase. But the foils can serve another purpose too. 

In order to be able to lift each foil out of the water, the foil arms must be able to be raised and lowered. Hence the foil wings, which sit at the bottom of the foil arms (and are usually a T or Y shape), do not always sit perpendicular to the water surface and the AC75s often sail with them canted over to something nearer 45º to the surface.

The further out the leeward foil arm is canted – essentially more raised – the closer the AC75 flies to surface and, crucially, the more righting moment is generated as the hull and rest of the boat gets further from the lifting surface of the foil.  

There is another positive to this: as the lifting foil is angled, it produces lift to windward, which can force the boat more towards the wind than the angle it is sailing. 

Due to this negative leeway (as it is known when a foil creates lift to windward) the boat can be pointing at a compass heading of say 180º but in fact will be sailing at eg 177º as the foil pushes the boat sideways and to weather, essentially sailing to windward somewhat diagonally. 

heart of america yacht

5 The foils are heavy. Very heavy.

As the foils work to provide stability to the boat (when it is stationary both foils are dropped all the way down to stop it tipping over) and to provide massive amounts of righting moment, they are incredibly heavy.

A pair of foil wings and flaps (excluding the one-design foil arm which attaches them to the boat and lifts them up and down) weigh 1842kg. To put that into perspective, the entire boat itself with all equipment (but without the crew) weighs between 6508kg and 6538kg. So the foil wings at the base of the foil arms are nearly ⅓ of the total weight of the boat. 

It is partly due to this that you will see some teams with bulbs on their foils. If you decide to go for a skinny foil wing (which would be low drag and so faster) then there will not be enough volume to cram sufficient material in to make the foil weigh enough. So some teams have decided to add a bulb in order to make it weigh enough but to also keep a less draggy, slimmer foil shape. 

6 Sails can invert at the head

heart of america yacht

As with everything on the AC75, the mainsail is a relatively new concept. It consists of two mainsails which are attached to both corners of a D-shaped mast tube. This has the effect of creating a profile similar to a wing. 

It is well established that solid wing sails are more efficient at generating power than a soft sail and for this reason solid wings were used in both the America’s Cup in 2013 and 2017. But there are drawbacks with a wing: they cannot be lowered if something goes wrong and require a significant amount of manpower and a crane to put it on or take it off a boat. 

One reason a wing makes for such a powerful sail is that the shape can be manipulated from top to bottom fairly easily with the right controls. With the AC75 the designers wanted a sail that could have some of this manipulation, produce similar power but could also be dropped while out on the water. The twin skin, ‘soft wing’ is what they came up with for this class of America’s Cup boat.

In addition to the usual sail controls, within the rules, the teams are allowed to develop systems for controlling the top 2m of the mainsail and the bottom 1.5m. 

What this means is that the teams are able to manipulate their mainsail in a number of different ways to develop power and control where that power is produced in the sail. But it also means that they have the ability to invert the head of the sail. 

Doing this effectively means ‘tacking’ the top of the sail while the rest of the sail is in its usual shape. The advantage here is that instead of trying to tip the boat to leeward, the very top of the sail will be trying to push the boat upright and so creating even more righting moment. The disadvantage is that it would come at the cost of increased aerodynamic drag. 

We know that a number of America’s Cup teams are able to do this, though whether it is effective is another question and it is very hard to spot this technique being used while the boats are racing at lightning speeds.

heart of america yacht

Photo: Emirates Team New Zealand

7 An America’s Cup boat generates lots of data

A new America’s Cup boat is a vastly complex bit of kit. Each team has incredibly powerful Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software packages and simulators in order to try to understand the various gains and losses. 

To make these simulators and computer projections as accurate as possible each team has been getting as much data as they can over their three year development cycle.

In the case of this America’s Cup it does seem the development process is genuinely getting closer to Formula 1 (albeit with smaller budgets than a modern F1 team has behind them).

INEOS Team UK have been able to work alongside the all powerful Mercedes F1 team (both of who are backed by INEOS) and have been open about how much this has helped their development process. They even have some Mercedes staff out with the team in Auckland assessing their data.  

“It’s really similar to F1,” explains Mercedes Applied Science Principal Engineer Thomas Batch who has 11 F1 titles to his name and is with INEOS in Auckland. “Certainly in this campaign the technology is close to what we have in F1. 

“In terms of raw sensors on the boat you are probably talking in the 100s but then we take that and we make that into mass channels and additional analysis with computational versions of those channels that we then analyse and get into in more detail. So you are looking at 1000s of plots that we can delve into [per race or training session].

“That level of data analysis and then feedback with the sailors is very similar to working with an [F1] driver.” 

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Sail Universe

Sailing Through History: Unveiling the Rich Legacy of Yacht America

Yacht America History

In the world of sailing, certain vessels transcend the boundaries of time and become legends that leave an indelible mark on maritime history. Among these storied vessels, the sailing yacht “America” stands proudly as a symbol of innovation, speed, and the enduring spirit of adventure. Let’s embark on a journey through the annals of maritime lore as we explore the captivating tale of Yacht America.

The Birth of a Legend

Commissioned by a group of New York Yacht Club members in 1850, Yacht America was designed by George Steers and built by William H. Brown. The goal was clear – to build a vessel that could bring glory to the United States in the inaugural sailing competition against British vessels around the Isle of Wight.

The America’s Cup Victory

In 1851, Yacht America, under the command of Captain Richard Brown, crossed the Atlantic to participate in the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Guinea Cup, a race that would later be known as the America’s Cup. America clinched victory with an 8-minute lead over the second boat, the British Aurora, securing the trophy originally established to commemorate the inaugural universal exhibition in London. Upon hearing of America’s triumph, Queen Victoria purportedly inquired about the second-place boat, receiving the response, “ There is no second, your Majesty, ” highlighting the substantial lead over the runner-up. This declaration is attributed to the inception of the competition’s motto, “ There’s No Second. ” Although the trophy lacked a specific name, being known as the “Hundred Guinea Cup” (the guinea, although no longer legally in circulation at the time, represented 21 shillings or £1.05, making 100 guineas equivalent to £105) or “Queen’s Cup,” it adopted the name of the victorious vessel and subsequently became the renowned “ America’s Cup. “

The Impact on Sailing

Yacht America’s triumph not only marked the inception of the America’s Cup but also left an enduring impact on yacht design and racing. The vessel’s sleek lines, innovative rigging, and overall performance set a new standard for sailing excellence. The schooner’s legacy paved the way for future generations of yacht designers and sailors, influencing the evolution of sailing vessels worldwide.

After the America’s Cup

In 1856, the vessel underwent a name change to Camilla. Subsequently, seized as a war prize in 1860 by the Confederate States of America, it was rechristened Memphis. Following the conclusion of the American Civil War, the ship was intentionally sunk in Jacksonville in 1862. Salvaged, refurbished, and reintegrated into service with the US Navy under the moniker America, it was equipped with three bronze Dahlgren cannons and played a role in the blockade of Southern ports. Its active service continued until 1873, when it was retired and sold to Benjamin Franklin Butler, a former general and politician. Butler maintained the vessel in operational condition and entered it in various races.


After his passing, it changed hands multiple times until it underwent restoration in 1921 through the America Restoration Fund. The restored ship was then gifted to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis , where, unfortunately, proper maintenance was lacking. On March 29, 1942, the structure housing the ship collapsed under the weight of a heavy snowfall, causing additional damage. Subsequently, both the wreckage of the structure and the vessel itself were incinerated in 1945.

Sailing Experience Aboard Yacht America

For those fortunate enough to experience sailing aboard a replica or participate in events commemorating Yacht America, the thrill is unparalleled. The vessel’s graceful lines and historical significance create an immersive experience that connects sailors with the roots of competitive yachting. Whether cruising along the coast or participating in regattas, sailing on a vessel inspired by Yacht America is a unique journey through maritime history. Conclusion: As we sail through the 21st century, the legacy of Yacht America endures as a beacon for sailors and enthusiasts alike. From its groundbreaking victory in 1851 to the continued reverence it commands today, Yacht America remains an iconic symbol of American maritime prowess and the timeless allure of sailing. So, raise the sails, catch the wind, and let the spirit of Yacht America carry you on a voyage through the pages of nautical history. Fair winds!

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heart of america yacht

Published on December 4th, 2019 | by Editor

Beginning and end of the yacht America

Published on December 4th, 2019 by Editor -->

With the frequent sighting of the yacht America on San Diego Bay, well-handled and beautiful under sail, the history of the America’s Cup is never far from view. In this report by Dr. Hamish Ross , he provides the detailed version.

On the 15 November 1850, George Schuyler on behalf of a syndicate of five, including himself and Commodore John Cox Stevens and William Brown, signed a contract to build a New York pilot schooner for the Great Exhibition, due to be opened by Queen Victoria in Hyde Park, London on Thursday 1 May 1851. The contract was for $30,000.00, conditioned on her being the fastest yacht in the United States. Unfortunately, she was delivered a month late and failed to defeat Commodore Stevens’ Maria during her trials. Left with the prospect of selling a failed yacht and in deep financial trouble, Brown had little option but to accept a ‘take it or leave it’ price reduction of $10,000.00 by Schuyler.

heart of america yacht

America under construction in New York in 1851.

During the building, her owner’s plans for England changed and the America would be diverted to the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) in Cowes after an invitation was received from RYS Commodore, the 2nd Earl of Wilton, inviting the owners to enjoy the hospitality of the Squadron during the yachting season.

The Earl had been born Thomas Grosvenor, the second son of the Marquess of Westminster (the title was later elevated to a dukedom in 1874 – the last non-royal dukedom to be created). Wilton served as Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron for thirty-two years between 1849 to 1881.

heart of america yacht

On 22 August 1851, America raced against 15 yachts in the Royal Yacht Squadron’s “all nations” race around the Isle of Wight. America won, finishing 8 minutes ahead of the closest rival. After 1851, the America went through a number of owners, including service as a Confederate blockade runner under the name of the Memphis, being scuttled in Jacksonville, later raised to serve in the US Navy, and was raced by the Navy in the 1870 America’s Cup fleet race match (winning fourth place).

She was sold into private ownership in 1873 to Benjamin Butler, a controversial Union Army Major-General and later a colorful politician and lawyer. Under Butler’s ownership, the America underwent two major refits in 1875 and again in 1885.

heart of america yacht

© Dani Tagen

She was donated to the US Navy in 1921 and was towed to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, as an on-water exhibit, where her condition gradually decayed. The onset of the Great Depression delayed the expenditure of an estimated $80,000.00 for a necessary refit.

Charles Francis Adams Jr., the America’s Cup winning skipper of Resolute in 1920, great-great grandson of the second US President John Adams, great grandson of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams, serving as the Secretary of the Navy, felt unable to approve the expenditure of such money in 1930 during the onset of the Depression.

She was classified as a Navy relic in 1941 (IX-41) and hauled out at the Annapolis Yacht Yard for work. Some preliminary was carried out on her from time to time, mainly stripping her back to sound timbers, but only around other more urgent work which took precedence.

The outbreak of the Second World War further delayed any thoughts of a determined restoration and her fate was sealed after a shed in which she was being housed in Annapolis collapsed during a severe snowstorm on the night of Palm Sunday, 29 March 1942.

heart of america yacht

The America being towed to Annapolis on what was to be her last voyage in 1921

When the War ended, the Navy was forced to cut back from its wartime budget and was busy decommissioning many of its ships. Nostalgia was in short supply in 1945 when it came to preserving famous ships. Her end was sealed on 20th November 1945 when the US Navy signed an order for her scrapping, when faced with a repair bill of $300,000.00.

The Navy received $990.90 for the scrapping of an icon.

heart of america yacht

One of the last photographs of the remains of the America before she was scrapped in 1945.

Many pieces of the America were souvenired and every now and then, pieces of the America come on the market, but rather like a ‘grandfather’s hammer’, it is rather hard to know if any piece offered dates from 1851 or was added later during one of its many refits. It is said, like relics of the ‘cross’, there are more pieces of wood claiming to be from the America than in a New England forest.

Three replicas of the America have been built. They were built in 1967 (Boothby, Maine), 1995 (Albany, New York), and in 2005 (Varna, Bulgaria) with varying degrees of authenticity some having an additional four feet of beam to increase accommodation and additional skylights. The first two are based in the US and the latter in Rostock, Germany sailing as the Skythia.

The America, the most famous yacht in the history of the sport of sailing, has bequeathed us a competition which represents the pinnacle of the sport in terms of technology, design, sailing skill, management, all these necessarily infused with smart strategic and tactical planning and execution, in which only the very best will win.

UPDATE 1 (Dec. 5, 2019) : Troy Sears, who owns and sails the replica in San Diego, CA, provides an update on the three boats:

The 1967 replica, commonly known as the “Rudy Schaefer” boat that you correctly state being built in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, was broken up several years ago due to rot. She spent most of her later years of her life in the Med, mostly in Barcelona and Genoa. She was a full-sized replica.

The Bulgarian replica, Skythia, is a fractional replica being about 60 tons as compared to ours which is 113 tons. I would say her design was inspired by the America but not so much a replica.

There are no original drawing available so nobody can be certain of the actual dimensions, but ours is thought to be as accurate as possible in terms of size. Also, I am happy to say that we are totally rot free and as long as I take good care of her, she will outlive me.

UPDATE 2 (Dec. 12, 2019): Marcello Grimaudo, who is Captain of the 1967 replica (below), informed us  the yacht is still sailing and in good shape but is now on drydock in Italy for a major restoration.

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Tags: america , America's Cup , Hamish Ross

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americas cup j class fleet

J Class World Championship returns to America's Cup 2024

The   J Class are set to reunite for the 37th America’s Cup as organisers invite the fleet to race in a J Class World Championship in Barcelona between 7-11 October, 2024.

Comprised of three refitted original yachts and six new yachts built to original hull lines from the 1930s, there are currently nine J Class yachts active worldwide. The fleet includes Endeavour , Topaz , Ranger , Svea , Velsheda , Shamrock V , Rainbow , Hanuman and Lionheart , some of which raced in the original America's Cup in the 1930s.

Grant Dalton, CEO of America’s Cup Events said: "The J-Class are integral to the history, legend and fascination of the America’s Cup. Seeing those boats being raced just off the Barcelona waterfront will be a spectacle for everyone on the water or watching from the shoreline – we cannot wait to see them in action".

Stuart Childerley, Class Secretary of the J Class, added: "We are extremely grateful to Grant and his team for smoothing the passage to be included in the America’s Cup regatta where the DNA of our fleet essentially lies, and we look forward to playing a central part in the programme both on and off the water. The boats will arrive to Port Vell and be situated right in the heart of the superyacht basin giving spectators a fantastic opportunity to see these historic yachts up close.”

The Class Association said it is seeking a commitment from as many J Class owners as possible for the 2024 event, with five confirmed to date.

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Indian-American businessman sparks row over parking of Lamborghini yacht | Video

Indian-origin businessman ajay thakore aka ace rogers threatened to kill a dockworker in san diego, california after he was refused parking for his $4.5-million lanborghini yacht. thakore has been accused of abusing and flashing..

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Indian-American Ajay Thakore

  • In the video Ajay Thakore was seeing threating dock worker says "I'll kill You"
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  • Thakore employee took the matter to Instagram said “two sides to every story"

An Indian-origin businessman, allegedly threatened to kill a dockworker after being refused parking for his Lamborghini yacht worth $4.5 million in San Diego, California.

A 21-year-old dockworker denied him parking, which reportedly led to Thakore becoming aggressive and the fight escalated.

The incident occurred on Sunday when Thakore attempted to park his yacht at the Seaforth Boat Rental to pick someone up, according to the digital news portal the Daily Mail.

Ajay Thakore aka Ace Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of Thakore and Gopher Media LLC, exposed his genitals and threatened to kill the 21-year-old dockworker.

In the video, he is heard saying, “I'll kill you! I will kill you! You know I'll kill you!”

"Yeah, I doubt it! Ace Rogers, call me! Time and place!" the employee responds.

In the latter part of the video, Thakore pulls down his pants, shows his genitals, and makes inappropriate gestures towards the dockworker.

Thakore, an Indian-American businessman from San Diego, was also seen throwing money in the water and exhorting the dockworker to swim after it.

Thakore's employee responded to the viral incident on Ajay Thakore's Instagram official page 'acerogersceo', claiming that the situation became tense when the workers physically obstructed him from boarding the yacht.

He stated, “There was a lot of screaming back and forth,” and mentioned feeling threatened during the encounter.

Thakore defended his actions on his official Instagram page, asserting that there are “two sides to every story".

He explained, “It's easy to paint a picture with edited video clips...but it's hard to explain context and look at a situation from all sides.”

Thakore addressed perceptions surrounding wealthy individuals, stating, “Successful people become so for a reason...If you want to f*ck around, you are going to find out.”

In 2021, Thakore clashed with a local pizza shop, Take N Bake pizza shop, over parking. He allegedly retaliated by flying a plane with anti-pizza shop slogans that read "Carinos Pizza is better than Take n Bake".

The pizza company has since launched a $10-million lawsuit against Thakore, reported the Daily Mail.

Thakore claims that in addition to not letting him park his car, the shop "discriminated" against him for his Indian descent. Published By: Girish Kumar Anshul Published On: Mar 13, 2024

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“Delicious food in a beautiful setting” Review of Restaurant-Yacht Chaika

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This restaurant-boat is directly in front of the World Trade Centre so convenient for anyone staying in this area. It isn't cheap but my meal was absolutely exquisite and the service quiet and unassuming. English menu on offer but clearly not a touristy place. Every other table was Russian couples and families. Windy night so the boat rocked a fair bit. If you don't mind spending a few roubles, it's a pretty impressive experience. 20% off if you go before 5 pm. Wish I'd known that!

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This is a very good restaurant. The food is really good, maybe the best in Moscow. The service is also good. The view from the restaurant is great. The prices are very high.

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'A huge heart': Longtime Austin radio personality David Anderson has died at age 73

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David Anderson, a longtime Austin radio personality who specialized in news and sports, died of cancer Tuesday at Gracy Woods Nursing Center. He was 73.

Besides appearing on radio and television for more than 40 years, Anderson served frequently as an emcee at parades, banquets and charity events.

"He was so much of a great humanitarian," said Michele Golden, who met Anderson while she was interning at KOKE FM. They remained friends for 40 years. "He helped people with their careers, jobs and any way he could in life over the years. He donated his time to so many organizations. He had such a huge heart and will be greatly missed by so many people." 

Radio man out of East Texas

Born Jan. 15, 1951, Anderson was the son of Thelma Kathryne Bills and Joe Milton Anderson. Both parents had served in the military. He was born and grew up in the East Texas lumber-industry town of Lufkin. According to his LinkedIn biography, he graduated in 1973 with a degree in radio, television and film from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.

End of an era: 80 years of the Pryor family on the air in Austin comes to a close

Anderson was recruited to deliver the morning news on air in Austin during the late 1970s. Bob Cole, owner and morning host of the revived KOKE FM, said hiring Anderson for that role was one of his proudest moments.

"I loved his tape. He applied for the job but wasn't really sure about it," Cole said. "He had asked a woman to marry him. She said yes, then turned him down. He called me back and said: 'I'm ready to come.'"

Over the years, Anderson worked at station after station as they changed ownerships, formats and personality lineups. One of his last jobs was at Sun Radio.

"He was the kind of person who just didn't give up," said David Jarrott, theater producer and longtime radioman. "He loved radio so much. He couldn't let go. He just wanted to be a part of it."

The KEY 103 'Morning Show'

One of the high points of Anderson's career was KEY 103's "Morning Show," which he hosted with Jarrott and Cathy Conley Swofford from 1983 to 1991.

"He was an extremely talented writer and a naturally funny guy," Swofford said. "David Anderson was the tallest member of the team, but never short on talent, wit and humility. He loved to volunteer for Austin nonprofits. He was especially fond of chili cook-offs, beauty pageants and Austin's annual Spamarama."

Spamarama: The pig ticket in town

Jarrott, who now runs the theatrical company Jarrott Productions, remembered a rare coming together of talents.

"In radio, you don't get to choose your sidekicks," Jarrott said. "They are chosen for you. But David, Cathy and I developed into a very tight family and endured through three different ownerships. People came and went, but the three of us were the core. We had a wonderful chemistry."

From radio to the rest of the world

As Anderson thrived, he accumulated stories. He was the subject of the 2013 documentary "40 Years: On the Air," directed by Diesel Garcia.

Although eventually he joined opinion shows on talk radio, Anderson maintained a degree of journalistic distance. Still, he cherished working alongside other on-air talent, such as Cole and Sammy Allred on the hit program "Sam and Bob in the Morning" on KVET 98.1FM.

"He loved people and people loved him," Cole said. "He was a newsman. He could take news stories and make them entertaining. He made you feel great, whether you knew him or just met him. David made everybody's day. He did that just by delivering morning news. He also kind of became a cohost."

Don Pryor, whose entertainment family's history includes Skinny, Cactus, Paul, Wally and Kerry Pryor and who recently retired from his regular radio gig, said Anderson was one of the sweetest guys he had ever met.

"I don't think there was a single person who was a listener of his, or knew him personally, that didn't like David," Pryor said. "I always loved his relaxed style on the air. He was just so relatable, with an amazingly, almost intimidatingly quick wit. David, as it turned out, was a big daily listener of our show — 'The Todd & Don Show' — and would occasionally message me a 'good job,' 'keep up the good work,' or 'love the show,' and it always meant so much to me coming from the great David Anderson."

Brent Allen, longtime friend, caretaker and legal guardian, shared memories of a more domestic variety: "The funniest part about David — he'd take his shirts, turn them inside out, then wear them again, so he wouldn't have to launder them. He loved dogs! He always brought dog treats for my dog. Every time David showed up, I was invisible."

Private and public memorial services are being planned for Anderson.

"David was one of the best talents in the industry," Cole said. "Always the guy you wanted to have a beer with, the guy that didn't have an agenda, somebody you could trust. In all my years, I never saw anybody who had that ability and talent. How many people on radio can you say that about today?"


  1. 1986 Heart of America Challenge Yacht Club Sailing Found Footage 8mm

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  6. J-H1 Lionheart sailed to victory in a six-yacht strong J-Class fleet at

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  1. Heart of America (yacht)

    Heart of America is a 12-metre class yacht that competed in the 1987 Louis Vuitton Cup. The boat was helmed by Buddy Melges and represented the Chicago Yacht Club. The boat finished 8 of 13 in Louis Vuitton Cup, which decides the challenger to the Cup holder. The Chicago-based yacht design firm of Graham & Schlageter contributed to the boat's design.

  2. Heart of America, US-51

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  4. Heart of America (yacht)

    Heart of America is a 12-metre class yacht that competed in the 1987 Louis Vuitton Cup. The boat was helmed by Buddy Melges and represented the Chicago Yacht Club. The boat finished 8 of 13 in Louis Vuitton Cup, which decides the challenger to the Cup holder.

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    Chicago has a significant sailing culture, and the Chicago Yacht Club even backed skipper Buddy Melges and the Heart of America challenge for the America's Cup in 1987 in Fremantle, Australia.

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  10. 1987 Louis Vuitton Cup

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    The America's Cup boats to be used on the 2021 edition of the event are unlike anything we have seen before. They might be officially sailing craft but they behave in some remarkable ways. The ...

  13. Heart of America (yacht)

    Heart of America is a 12metre class yacht that competed in the 1987 Louis Vuitton Cup. The boat was helmed by Buddy Melges and represented the Chicago Yacht Club. The boat finished 8 of 13 in Louis Vuitton Cup, which decides the challenger to the Cup holder. The crew included these members, as well

  14. 6 famous America's Cup yachts

    J Class yachts are synonymous with the America's Cup as these slim, graceful beauties once represented the fleet racing for the Cup. The 36.42 metre Shamrock V, commissioned by Sir Thomas Lipton for his fifth and final bid, she was the first J Class yacht to compete for the Cup.The fact that she is the only J Class yacht to be built in wood makes it all the more remarkable that Shamrock V is ...

  15. Yacht America History: Unveiling the Legacy

    The Birth of a Legend. Commissioned by a group of New York Yacht Club members in 1850, Yacht America was designed by George Steers and built by William H. Brown. The goal was clear - to build a vessel that could bring glory to the United States in the inaugural sailing competition against British vessels around the Isle of Wight.

  16. Beginning and end of the yacht America

    On 22 August 1851, America raced against 15 yachts in the Royal Yacht Squadron's "all nations" race around the Isle of Wight. America won, finishing 8 minutes ahead of the closest rival.

  17. J Class World Championship returns to America's Cup 2024

    The J Class are set to reunite for the 37th America's Cup as organisers invite the fleet to race in a J Class World Championship in Barcelona between 7-11 October, 2024. Comprised of three refitted original yachts and six new yachts built to original hull lines from the 1930s, there are currently nine J Class yachts active worldwide.

  18. Russian oligarch's yacht costs U.S. taxpayers $900,000 a month

    A mega-yacht seized by U.S. authorities from a Russian oligarch is costing the government nearly $1 million a month to maintain, according to new court filings. The Justice Department is seeking ...

  19. Grenada charges prison escapees with murder of American couple ...

    Related article Family describes violent scene left behind on missing American couple's yacht after alleged hijacking in Grenada. The couple sold their home and bought Simplicity years ago ...

  20. Lovely one

    Restaurant-Yacht Chaika: Lovely one - See 185 traveler reviews, 118 candid photos, and great deals for Moscow, Russia, at Tripadvisor.

  21. 1987 America's Cup

    Background. The 1983 America's Cup off Newport, Rhode Island was the most significant America's Cup regatta since the first event off the Isle of Wight. Alan Bond's Australia II pulled off a major upset by winning the series from Conner's Liberty to become the first success in twenty-five challenges for the Cup. The New York Yacht Club had previously built the longest winning streak in ...

  22. Absolutely amazing

    Restaurant-Yacht Chaika: Absolutely amazing - See 182 traveler reviews, 118 candid photos, and great deals for Moscow, Russia, at Tripadvisor.

  23. Landmark study links microplastics to serious health problems

    Those who did were 4.5 times more likely to experience a heart attack, a stroke or death in the approximately 34 months after the surgery than were those whose arteries were plastic-free.

  24. American Heart Association asks residents to step up for National

    "The American Heart Association is a relentless force for building healthier communities, one step at a time," said Scot Davis, a member of the American Heart Association-Central Arkansas Board of Directors and a former Heart Walk chairman. "National Walking Day demonstrates the progress that can happen when people come together and take ...

  25. Indian-American businessman sparks row over parking of Lamborghini

    Indian-origin businessman Ajay Thakore aka Ace Rogers threatened to kill a dockworker in San Diego, California after he was refused parking for his $4.5-million Lanborghini yacht. Thakore has been accused of abusing and flashing. Listen to Story In the video Ajay Thakore was seeing threating dock ...

  26. Can people with an irregular heartbeat drink coffee?

    Joglar was the lead author of new guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association on diagnosing and treating atrial fibrillation, or AFib, published recently in Circulation. Among the detailed discussions of lifestyle habits, risk modification, treatments and the complexities of AFib, the authors included ...

  27. Delicious food in a beautiful setting

    Restaurant-Yacht Chaika: Delicious food in a beautiful setting - See 182 traveler reviews, 118 candid photos, and great deals for Moscow, Russia, at Tripadvisor.

  28. America (yacht)

    America was a 19th-century racing yacht and first winner of the America's Cup international sailing trophy.. On August 22, 1851, America won the Royal Yacht Squadron's 53-mile (85 km) regatta around the Isle of Wight by 18 minutes. The Squadron's "One Hundred Sovereign Cup" or "£100 Cup", sometimes mistakenly known in America as the "One Hundred Guinea Cup", was later renamed after the ...

  29. 'A huge heart': Longtime Austin radio personality David Anderson has

    He had such a huge heart and will be greatly missed by so many people." Radio man out of East Texas Born Jan. 15, 1951, Anderson was the son of Thelma Kathryne Bills and Joe Milton Anderson.

  30. Prenatal yoga may help ease stress, improve fitness during pregnancy

    American Heart Association News covers heart disease, stroke and related health issues. Not all views expressed in American Heart Association News stories reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Statements, conclusions, accuracy and reliability of studies published in American Heart Association scientific journals or ...