Category: 1934 : CHALLENGE N°15


NEWPORT, R.I., Sept. 25. -- The America's Cup will remain in the United States. The most bitterly contested series of races for the famous old yachting trophy ended today when Rainbow, the defender, boiled over the finish line fifty-five seconds ahead of Endeavour.

Sunshine was a welcome gift after the siege of clouds and drizzles under which the other contests were held. Sea and sky both were blue for a change. Endeavour sailed out early. Rainbow was towed. There was a light northeast breeze of seven knots strength. That would not allow for a windward leg of a triangle first, so the course was laid out for windward work on the second leg, with the buoys left on the port hand instead of the starboard as is customary. It simply was a reversed course. The compass directions were south by east, northeast and west-northwest one-half west.

Parcours course 6The racers jookeyed for the line under main and stay sails. With two minutes to go, Endeavour broke out her Genoa. Rainbow did likewise twenty seconds afterward. Endeavour turned for the starting line and crossed it fifty seconds before Rainbow. That was not a Vanderbilt start. Nearly a minute was not his split-second way of starting.

As Rainbow crossed, up went the protest flag in her lee rigging. Five minutes later Endeavour’s was hung out. They went on just the same, Endeavour leading, mainsails and Genoas lugging them. Rainbow held up and began to gain. She footed not only up toward Endeavour but on her weather. Endeavour had held high, to be able to meet Rainbow should she get up.

Suddenly Rainbow bore down on the course and set her small spinnaker. Endeavour luffed up ahead of her. Rainbow's spinnaker killed the wind in her Genoa. Rainbow had on her running rig and Endeavour her reaching one. Rainbow's spinnaker flying was disastrous to her. She tried it a while, with the idea possibly of blanketing Endeavour, but the challenger kept on free. Rainbow dropped back, losing what she had gained. Her spinnaker was taken off finally.

Endeavour then was a mile from the first mark which she rounded at 12:51.37. Rainbow turned at 12:52.50. Counting her loss at the start, Rainbow had picked up twenty seconds. Endeavour was one minute and ten seconds ahead.

Rainbow Changes Genoa.

 Richard M. Firth (British, 20th Century) Endeavour and Rainbow in the 1934 America's CupApproaching the mark, Rainbow changed her Genoa for her double head rig to use on the wind. Endeavour kept up her Genoa, but had to luff to get it sheeted in. That was plain, bad sailing. Endeavour started the windward leg on the starboard tack. Rainbow immediately went on the port one. Endeavour turned to cover her. Rainbow quickly went about again. This time Endeavour did not cover. She kept an by herself. It was the first time they had split tacks in any races.

Right there Rainbow took the race. She had on the right rig - jib and staysail - and clearly outpointed Endeavour. The defender worked away to weather by herself and then turned to go over in the direction of the challenger, to keep in the same breeze with her.

They then made a long board of the starboard tack, far apart. Rainbow was pointing in the direction of Vineyard Sound and Endeavour toward Buzzards Bay, far to the north. Eventually Endeavour took off her Genoa and set her double head rig.

One-Fourth Mile Back.

Rainbow was laying for the second mark with the breeze hauled a little. At 2 P. M. Endeavour went about. When she came out Rainbow was a quarter of a mile ahead. Nearing the buoy, which was off Cuttyhunk, the old marine graveyard, the breeze headed Rainbow off. She had lost the lead in one race there. She took a short hitch and then jibed around the second mark at 2:12.30. Endeavour got up around it at 2:15.10. Rainbow was 2 minutes and 40 seconds ahead on the leg and, counting her 1 minute and 10 seconds astern before she had sailed the ten miles to windward, was 3 minutes and 50 seconds faster.

Rainbow was running home with her parachute spinnaker set before Endeavour reached the mark. It was Weetamoe’s kite that Rainbow used this time. When Endeavour’s spinnaker was broken out, either the rip cord inside the stops became fouled or something else happened, so that the sail opened halfway up and then stuck, the upper half remaining in the stops. It was several minutes before it broke loose and bellied out.

But then how it pulled! The breeze was fresh, and both big sails were full to their ultimate bulbous and ugly contours. They pulled like tugboats and lifted the bows so that the crews were sent forward to hold the head down and keep the boats level, and on Endeavour sails were piled there to add to the weight before the mast.

Perfect Setting for Finish.

There has seldom been a more perfect setting for the finish of a race. The sun shone brightly overhead, and the sea gleamed like a broad band of gold toward the west, On either side of the course the dull gray shapes of destroyers and a cruiser drifted along, their wakes white. The white hulls of the Coast Guard cutters were outlined against dark water, and a few yachts’ graceful shapes swept swiftly along to get favorable positions at the finish line.

The big British boat then made one last effort. She pulled up slowly but steadily, riding the sea easily, tearing through the water as if to show that it was not her fault she was being beaten. From far behind she closed the gap between her and Rainbow until it seemed that she might pass the defender in the last two or three miles.

But the effort was too much. She gained one minute and forty-five seconds on this last leg, which is a remarkable gain in running between boats of one class. There was no chance to hold her back. All that was necessary was to keep her nose on the mark, and Endeavour did the rest.

Endeavour Loses Nobly.

RACE 6 - SEPTEMBER 25 - Triangle, 3x10 miles - Start 11:40
1 Rainbow 1:12:50 1:19:40 1:07:35 3:40:05  
2 Endeavour 1:11:40 1:23:30 1:05:50 3:41:00 0' 55"

Her dark hull swept along under her spread of canvas unchecked by manoeuvre, and the cunning which had laid her lines, which had curved and tapered that long body so it would slip through the water with a minimum of effort, had its reward in that last hopeless effort. Endeavour was beaten, but she lost nobly.

When Rainbow went over the line the whistles of the surrounding fleet were held down to send a roaring wave of sound over the water. A siren wailed and small boats tooted frantically. But, somehow, it was more a gesture than a celebration. The hearts of those watching were with Endeavour, coming up with white foam under her bows, running a hopeless stern chase. She had lost the cup, and it was not her fault.