Category: MAGIC

'Magic' leads 'America' and 'Cambria' past Fort Wadsworththe first challenge for the America Cup

In the first challenge for the America Cup in 1870, Magic defeated the English challenger, Cambria, successfully defending the America's Cup. Is it possible to imagine a more appropriate name for the very first America's Cup Defender than Magic? There might be something to the name.

Many transformations

The fate of Magic is typical of yachts from this time. It was very common in the mid-1800s to make major, and significant alterations to hulls and/or rigs, with the intention of improving the performance of the boat. Originally, this boat was launched as a centerboard sloop (one mast), modeled by Richard Fanning Loper in 1857, for his own use, and built in the Byerly and Sound'yard in Philadelphia. She was launched with the name of Madgie. Two years later, Loper modified his boat to a schooner (two masts), changing the stern of the hull at the same time. The following year he attacked the bow, lengthening the bow.

Robert Moore (1945- ), British. QUEEN'S CUP, NEW YORK (MAGIC AMERICA'S CUP 1870)In 1864, Madgie was sold in New York and renamed Magic. From 1865, the small centerboard schooner was sailing under the banner of the New York Yacht Club. In 1869, the boat is completely rebuilt by David Carll, of City Island, before it is bought by Franklin Osgood. By the time Magic defended the America's Cup in 1870, there was just a shadow of R.F. Loper's original 1857 Madgie left in her lines.

During Magic's long life, nineteen owners would take command of her, including the United States Navy, which used her as a supply craft during the 1898 Spanish-American war. The following year, Magic was put in dry dock at Jacksonville, Florida. To pay the bill, the owner of the shipyard sold the boat to John Lowe, a local who put the boat to sea under charter. Following stints as a fishing boat, and then (thanks to her still impressive speed) as a pilot boat, Magic eventually ended up lying abandoned at the quay.

A hurricane in October 1926 pushed the dilapidated wreck towards the entrance of the harbour at Key West. Finally, at the request of Lowe's family, the first Defender of the America's Cup was dragged offshore, and destroyed with explosives, 69-years after its launching.


Schooner Magic by David Harrison Wright 'Magic' 1870 by Leonard J. Pearce