At the beggining of 1851, Sir Henry Bulwer, British Ambassador to the United States, saw an incredible boat under construction at William Brown's. On his return to England, he mentioned her to his friends, and the Earl of Wilton, Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron wrote to his counterpart at NYYC to invite him at Cowes. Comodore Stevens' was clear. Of course he accepted the invitation and declared himself ready to mesure his boat "America" to the best English boats.
On her arrival at Le Havre, America was joined by and Georges Steers her Architect. On their visit to Paris, they were warned by the United States Ambassador to Paris, and the editor of the "New York Tribune" that the risk of a beating by the English was high, and during the Universal Exhibition period, a defeat would be humiliating for The United States. At her arrival America boat was met early in the morning by the brand new Squadron fleet cutter, Laverock. Laverock was obviously spoiling for a race with the Americans! They finally gave in and accepted the invitation to race to Cowes, six miles away. Ashore all eyes were fixed on the two yachts.
When the schooner anchored off The Castel, Laverock was still at third of a mile behind. The energetic John C Stevens had scored a point for prestige, but had lost all chance of winning money by racing America at Cowes. Finally at the last minute John C Stevens managed to enter America in the famous "RYS 100 pound Cup", open to the fastest yachts belonging to clubs of all nations. After a 8 hours race America rounded the Needles first lighthouse to the acclaim of the spectators. Half an hour later, no one pursuer had yet pointed her stern round the Needles. There was no doubt as to the outcome of the race, and the steamers headed flat out for Cowes to see the finish, to the astonishment of the spectators waiting on the quaysides.
They asked, "Is America first" - "yes" - "Who is second" - " no one!". On the same day, the Squadron commodore, the Earl of Wilton, officially handed over the "RYS 100 pound Cup to John Cox Stevens, Commodore of the New York Yacht Club and the owner of America. A legend was born...Hide historic...