Cover image for America's victory : the heroic story of a team of ordinary Americans, and how they won the greatest yacht race ever
America's victory : the heroic story of a team of ordinary Americans, and how they won the greatest yacht race ever
Shaw, David W., 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Free Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xviii, 263 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Corporate Subject:
Conference Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV830 1851 .S52 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This work recounts the events of the very first America's Cup yacht race, in which a single American team manning the aptly named schooner America competed against and bested fourteen British competitors. The narrative of the 1851 race is told from the point of view of the designers and crew of the victorious yacht. Annotation 2004 Book News, Inc

Author Notes

David W. Shaw is the author of The Sea Shall Embrace Them, Inland Passage, Daring the Sea, and Flying Cloud. He is a frequent contributor to many sailing magazines. He lives in Westfield, New Jersey, and sails his cutter in Maine

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The America's Cup yacht race is a moneyed event, and as Shaw (The Sea Shall Embrace Them [BKL Mr 15 02]) points out, that has always been the case. The boat after which the cup is named was funded in 1851 by New York millionaire John Cox Stevens. However, the history of the cup is most closely intertwined with the decidedly working-class backgrounds of the men who designed and sailed America across the Atlantic. George Steers was a self-taught nautical genius who challenged the conventional boat designs of the age and presented a vessel possessed of unmatched speed. Captain Dick Brown ran away from home as a teenager and eventually forged a reputation as a pilot boat captain. Shaw, a meticulous researcher, relies on newspaper accounts, personal journals, and maritime records to create a novel-like account of the race in which the underdog Americans defeated a shocked British contingent. At its heart this is a historical adventure containing all the elements readers love: underdogs, danger, a Dirty Dozen^-like assembling of the crew, and, of course, a happy ending. Wonderful reading. --Wes Lukowsky

Publisher's Weekly Review

This full-fledged history of the first America's Cup yacht race-the oldest international trophy in competitive sports-begins in 1851, when the schooner America beat Great Britain's fastest yachts in a race around the Isle of Wight. Shaw (The Sea Shall Embrace Them) has written extensively about sailing; here he produces an exciting story beginning in the wealthy estates of the members of the New York Yacht Club, who financed the construction of a boat whose revolutionary design humbled those built in the U.K., considered then to be the greatest maritime nation. Exceedingly well-researched and documented, Shaw's history offers a first-time look at "the working-class men with strong backs and dirty hands who designed, built, and sailed the yacht, and who never really got credit for their efforts." The book is rooted in Shaw's finely etched portraits of designer George Steers, a "shy genius of naval architecture," and Capt. Richard Brown, who led the team of men who sailed the yacht to victory and provide Shaw an opportunity to discuss the Sandy Hook pilots of New York Harbor, an overlooked element of U.S. sailing history. And while Shaw produces an exciting recounting of the great race itself, he provides an equally fascinating depiction of the boat's dangerous and turbulent voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to get to the competition. He also includes a wonderful appendix on the post-race fate of the America-from its use by the Confederate Army to an ignominious post-WW II end. (Jan. 6) Forecast: The 31st America's Cup race, scheduled for February 2003, should give this high-quality and engaging book the high profile it deserves. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. xi
Introductionp. xv
1 Rising Stormp. 1
2 Tragic Lossp. 10
3 The Pilot's Tradep. 16
4 The Commodore's Pridep. 27
5 Great Exhibitionp. 35
6 Decisionp. 45
7 Demanding Termsp. 54
8 Tilted Oddsp. 66
9 Quiet Departurep. 82
10 To Open Seap. 97
11 Turn of Speedp. 110
12 Perilous Mishapp. 121
13 Staying the Coursep. 130
14 Welcome Landfallp. 141
15 Racing Trimp. 150
16 Reluctant Rivalsp. 162
17 Informal Skirmishp. 174
18 Feverish Anticipationp. 187
19 Challenge Begunp. 197
20 Winds of Victoryp. 207
Afterwordp. 217
Appendix A Requiemp. 233
Appendix B Lessonsp. 237
Author's Notep. 240
Glossary of Nautical Termsp. 244
Bibliographyp. 251
Acknowledgmentsp. 255
Indexp. 257