A legend is born
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