Into the his­tory books

Yachting World - - Schooner America -

Fol­low­ing Amer­ica’s vic­tory Stevens made no stren­u­ous effort to seek fur­ther com­pe­ti­tion, cry­ing off on sev­eral oc­ca­sions with var­i­ous ex­cuses. He must have been re­lieved that the one match he could not duck, a friendly match with Ti­ta­nia, was against a schooner re­garded by all ex­pert opin­ion as be­ing out of her league.

Stevens was keen to sell her, but there was no rush to buy at his in­flated price. When a gullible punter ap­peared in the shape of 39-year-old army of­fi­cer John de Blaquiere, fourth Baron of Ard­kill, a man with lit­tle sail­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, Stevens could not be­lieve his luck. He took the money – £5,000 – and ran. Af­ter tak­ing all ex­penses into ac­count, Stevens had made a mod­est profit on his ad­ven­ture. Amer­ica had emerged from her or­deal with her rep­u­ta­tion in­tact, though hardly tested.

In 1852 she raced for the Queen’s Cup and was beaten by Mos­quito, a 60ft cut­ter built in 1848. Alarm and Ar­row were to do the same. In her last race un­der Blaquiere’s own­er­ship she trounced Sverige, built ex­pressly to chal­lenge her, but

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