The Great Race
Endeavour and Rainbow in the 1934 America's Cup Challenge
The Classic 'J' Boats
Limited Edition, Offset Lithography
850 Signed and Numbered: $50.
85 Artists Proofs: $100.
Image Size: 21 X 28
Sheet Size: 25 X 32
|The Great Race.
In 1934, Thomas Sopwith of England's Royal Yacht Squadron challenged the New York Yacht Club for the America's Cup. He commissioned CharlesE. Nicholson to design and build Endeavour. Harold S. Vanderbilt, a member of the NewYork Yacht Club, formed a syndicate to defend the America's Cup and had Starling Burgess design Rainbow.
A thirty mile windward - leeward course was set up for the first race of the series. Rainbow started well ahead of Endeavour and was able to increase her lead. However, the race was cancelled because neither boat was able to cross the finish line within the five and one-half hour time limit.
The race was re-started on September 17th. Although Endeavour won by over two minutes, there was a contoversy over the start. A fresh southeasterly breeze had picked up, hampering both boats as they were being towed to the start. This left very little time to spare before the warning gun sounded. Endeavour's main halyard fouled while the sail was being hoisted, possibly handicapping her by as much as ten minutes. Apparently, to accommodate Endeavour's plight, the race committee decided to postpone the start by fifteen minutes. Although Rainbow argued that the decision was contrary to the "conditions of the match," Endeavour's victory was secure.
The second race was held the next day on a thirty mile triangular course. Vanderbilt got Rainbow off to a good start, but Sopwith drove Endeavour hard to finish fifty-one seconds ahead, setting a course record. Endeavour was admittedly a faster boat than Rainbow, and for the first time in sixty-four years the America's Cup seemed to be slipping out of the hands of the Americans.
The third race was a thirty mile leeward-windward course. Endeavour rounded the first mark six and one-half minutes ahead of Rainbow. Believing that he was beaten, Vanderbilt gave the helm over to Sherman Hoyt, a member of the afterguard. Then, when Endeavour sailed into a calm spot, Hoyt was able to nurse Rainbow along to finish ahead of Endeavour by more than three minutes.
Rainbow won the fourth race under Endeavour's protests. The protests never were never heard by the race committee being that Endeavour failed to fly her protest flag immediately, as stipulated in the rules. Rainbow went on to win the fifth race finishing ahead of Endeavour by more than four and one-half minutes.
Both skippers drove their boats into a deadly tacking duel before the start of the crucial sixth race. Protest flags were flown from both boats after a near collision but were withdrawn. Rainbow was behind by several boat lengths at the first mark. On the next leg, however, changed to a smaller quadrilateral jib and took the lead from Endeavour, who had underestimated the strength of the wind and was overpowered and unable to cover. Endeavour changed headsails, but Rainbow took advantage of a lifting breeze and lengthoned her lead to almost three minutes at the weather mark. Although a freshening breeze enabled Endeavour to close the distance, Rainbow held onto her lead and won the race by fifty-five seconds. Harold S. Vanderbilt and the crew of Rainbow had successfully defended the 15th challenge to the America's Cup.