Category: 1934 : CHALLENGE N°15


NEWPORT, R.I., Sept. 15. -- Under a sky trellised with clouds that were unfruitful of breeze, Endeavour, the British challenger, and Rainbow, the defender, attempted to sail their first America's Cup match today.

The course was thirty miles, fifteen from the offshore starting buoy to windward and back, with a light seven miles an hour southeast breeze to begin with. The turn was out off No Man's Land, lonely sea mound which is no more than a bush-covered sand heap off the coast. The sea was remarkably smooth.

 Chart of the America's Cup, 1934 - Art Deco Yacht Race Pictorial MapVanderbilt beat Endeavour by a minute at the start, handling the huge American yacht as if she were a toy in his hand. But Endeavour clung like a barnacle to windward. She gained; then Rainbow scooted out. It was either race for a time.
Then there came a tacking duel with Genoa jibs, or large single headsails carried to windward. Endeavour’s crew could not sheet her Genoa jib in as fast as Rainbow's was handled. The English yacht has no such great coffee grinder as Rainbow’s winch to take up on the Genoa sheet in a hurry. She lost out on the short tacks against the fast and perfect sail handling of Rainbow.

Mrs. Sopwith Timekeeper.

Mrs. Sopwith sailed on Endeavour as timekeeper, the first woman listed as a member of the crew of a yacht in an America's Cup race. She called off the minutes and seconds left before the start to her skipper husband, and did a man's job of it.

She then became observer of Rainbow, looking ahead. When a move of Rainbow’s crew was made she called out to her husband, saying: “They're trimming the Genoa,” or "They’re getting ready to tack," or "The spinnaker pole is going out.

She did her job well, there was no mistaking that.

“Teamwork”  By Russ Kramer - Sir T. O. M. Sopwith and Lady Sopwith at the helm of Endeavour

Rainbow footed out for the buoy and jibed around it at 2.42:40. Endeavour rounded at 2:45:26. Rainbow was 2 minutes 46 seconds ahead. She had added 1 minute 46 seconds to her advantage at the start. Two minutes 15 seconds after she turned back Rainbow's parachute spinnaker was broken out. Endeavour's was set 1 minute 32 seconds after she rounded. Rainbow's parachute was her new one. It was smaller than Endeavour's but did better.

Racers Barely Move.

The sun burned through overhead and the breeze lightened. The parachutes alternately filled and fell without wind enough to belly them out. Next to a calm set in. The racers just moved. In that condition Endeavour began to close up despite her ill parachute. She drifted up toward Rainbow, but while she was less distance astern than she had been, she was further behind in time because of the slowed-up pace.
The breeze hauled gradually, until the parachutes began to fold. They could not be sheeted further to leeward to keep them tilled. Suddenly the breeze backed. Rainbow took in her spinnaker and jibed at 4:18 P. M. She set her Genoa and put out her single spinnaker on the other hand. Endeavour did the same thing.

There were only fifty minutes left before the time limit for a race would expire and there remained six miles to go. A finish before 5:10 P. M. the time limit, was next to impossible. They had to hold up for the ?nish line. Endeavour took in her spinnaker and so did Rainbow. They trimmed in mainsails some and reached along.04784S

Spinnaker Sheeted Far Out.

With a mile to go and only nine minutes left there was no giving up on Rainbow. A spinnaker was put on her and sheeted far out in an attempt to lug her on. Ahead at the finish line a horde of sightseeing craft had gathered, stretched in every direction but on the course. A red ball that had been hoisted on the committee yacht was dropped. The race was off. Rainbow was half a mile away. Endeavour was a mile astern of her. Off came Rainbow‘s spinnaker and then Genoa. She did not cross the finish line.
The code flags D and B were run up on the committee yacht inquiring if each contestant consented to race on the next scheduled day, Monday. Both answered that they did. Both racers were taken under tow and brought in to their moorings.