The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) was established on July 30, 1844, when John Cox Stevens invited eight friends to his yacht Gimcrack, anchored in New York Harbor.
The nine who met resolved to form the NYYC and named Stevens as commodore. The theme of the club was to race sailing yachts.
Three days later, members would depart on a yacht-club cruise to Newport. Thus, began the historical connection between the NYYC and Newport, RI.
At that time, The Isle of Wight in the Solent had been the epicenter of yachting in England. In 1851, a schooner painted black and called America, arrived there looking to win races. That yacht was owned by John Cox Stevens of the New York Yacht Club (NYYC), and other club members.
America challenged all English yachts to a match race but no yacht were willing to race her.
Finally, America joined a free-for-all on Friday, August 22, around the Isle of Wight.
Watching the race, which included 15 English yachts and America, was Queen Victoria, who supposedly inquired, “Which is first?” Told it was America she asked, “Which is second?”
“Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second,” was the reply.
America won what was then called the Royal Yacht Squadron’s “Hundred Guinea Cup.”
On July 12, 1857, surviving members of the America syndicate donated the silver trophy they won in England, the “Hundred Guinea Cup,” to the NYYC.
They called it the America’s Cup, in honor of the yacht that won it.
They invited yacht clubs around the world to compete and promised, “friendly competition between foreign countries.”
Boats flying the NYYC club flag held onto that trophy for 132 years, or until 1983. During that stewardship, NYYC boats won 81 of 93 races. The win in 1851 in England and then 24 defenses, from 1870 to 1980, has been described by journalists as the “longest winning streak in sports.”