A leg­end is born

Yachting World - - Schooner America -

Dur­ing the course of her At­lantic cross­ing, James Steers, older brother of her builder, Ge­orge, was im­pressed with Amer­ica as she recorded sev­eral daily runs of 200 miles and one of 284. A week or so af­ter set­ting sail from Sandy Hook, Con­necti­cut, he wrote: ‘She is the best sea boat that ever went out of the Hook.’

Af­ter a 20-day pas­sage, the 13-strong crew ar­rived off Le Havre, where, on first sight, the har­bour mas­ter re­port­edly de­scribed the black schooner as ‘a wonder’. Amer­ica spent three weeks re­fit­ting, hav­ing her masts restepped and her rac­ing can­vas care­fully bent on, af­ter which Stevens, who had taken the steamer to Le Havre, and his race crew sailed for Cowes.

The crack British cut­ter Lave­rock found the much­her­alded Amer­ica early on the morn­ing of 1 Au­gust an­chored in the So­lent, near Cowes, and an in­for­mal race was ar­ranged im­me­di­ately. Stevens de­scribed the meet­ing at a din­ner given in his hon­our at As­tor House later that year: ‘We let her go about 200 yards, and then started in her wake . . . Not a sound was heard, save per­haps the beat­ing of

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