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Proving their worth

As we countdown to the 35th America's Cup The Royal Gazette will bring you one fun fact a day about the boats, the sailors, the crew, or the history of this illustrious competition. There are now 16 days until the month-long sporting spectacle gets under way.

In 1958 a new class of sailboat, the 12-metre class, was introduced as the racing class of the America's Cup. Off the coast of Newport, Rhode Island, sleek and fast, Columbia (US-16) stunned its competition with a sweeping win of the first 12-metre America's Cup, proving that the design was a justifiable competitors in the coveted America's Cup!

Commodore Henry Sears and Briggs Cunningham, along with other financial investors, formed one of the New York Yacht Club's syndicates for the 1958 America's Cup and commissioned Columbia to be their racer. They hired Olin Stephens of Sparkman & Stephens to design Columbia and she was to be built at Nevins Boatyard in New York. Her design was based on the successful, pre-war 12-meter, Vim (US 15). Although 19 years old at the time, Harold Vanderbilt's Vim was, up until then, the fastest 12-metre sailing, and provided the foundation for Sparkman & Stephen's winning design for Columbia.

Columbia began her path to America's Cup victory with hard fought preliminary races off the coast of Newport. The America's Cup defence trials during 1958 were probably the most exciting ever held. Columbia was one of four American boats competing to defend the America's Cup, the others were: Weatherly (US-17), Easterner (US-18) and Vim.

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Published May 11, 2017 at 9:13 am (Updated May 11, 2017 at 9:13 am)

Proving their worth

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