The Yacht America 1877 Smithsonian Art Museum

Five Yacht History Facts you should know

1.) The longest winning streak in sports was set by the New York Yacht Club (NYYC)

The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) was started on July 30, 1844 when John Cox Stevens invited eight friends to his yacht Gimcrack, anchored in New York Harbor. They formed a syndicate to build a yacht with the intention of taking her to England and making some money competing in yachting regattas and match races. The syndicate contracted with master schooner designer George Steers for a 101 ft (30.78 m) schooner which was christened America and launched on the 3 of May 1851. America crossed the Atlantic on her own bottom that year and challenged all of England’s fastest yachts to a match race. No yachts were willing to race her. Finally, America joined a free-for-all on Friday, August 22, around the Isle of Wight, racing against 15 yachts of the Royal Yacht Squadron in the club’s annual 53-nautical-mile (98 km) race around the Isle of Wight. Finishing 8 minutes ahead of its closest rival. America had won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s “Hundred Guinea Cup“, later called the America’s Cup in honor of the yacht that won it.

2.) Yacht racing started as a sport of the royalty

The first organized regatta was planned as a 40-mile race on the Thames. It took place in 1661 between Katherine, Charles’s newly constructed yacht and Anne, the Duke of York’s new yacht with Charles himself at the helm Katherine won and a new sport was born.

3.) The ‘yachts’ were born from a need to chase smugglers, pirates and criminals.

The yacht is an invention of the 14th century Dutch. The Dutch used small, fast boats for chasing smugglers, pirates and criminals. Rich ship owners and merchants began using these small “jaghts” to sail out to celebrate their returning merchant ships. It quickly became chic to use these “jaghts” to take friends out just for pleasure.

4.) Charles II of England is regarded as the world’s first yachtsman

Charles II of England spent 10 years in exile in Holland before he was returned to the English throne in 1660. His return to the throne was celebrated by the city of Amsterdam, presenting him with a luxurious 60’ yacht including a crew of 20. Her name was Mary. He took great pleasure in sailing her up and down the Thames. He studied navigation and even naval architecture and he built approximately 20 yachts during his lifetime. It can be said that he was the world’s first yachtsman. His enthusiasm for yachting was contagious and his brother James, Duke of York, joined him and also became an avid yachtsman as well.

5.) The first yacht club was established in Ireland in 1720

By the 1800s yachting had grown to included participants of more than just the crown heads of Europe. The worlds wealthiest had joined in. Yacht Clubs were forming. The first yacht club in the world, called the Cork Water Club, was established in Ireland in 1720, followed by 2 more clubs in England in 1773 – the Lough Ree Yacht Club and the Starcross Yacht Club.

One Reply to “Five Yacht History Facts You Must Know”

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