New York Yacht Club – 1901

The following was a piece that appeared in the North Platte Semi-Weekly about the “snobbery” within the New York Yacht Club in 1901.

If Shamrock Wins

The New York Yacht Club has refused to permit Lawson’s Independence to contest for the honor of defending the America’s cup. The point at issue between the Boston man and the New York Yacht Club is not clear but it is supposed to in some way relate to personal advertising. It is believed that the objections may be eliminated, especially as Sir Thomas Lipton, the Irish challenger, is not coming over on the Shamrock for his health. It Is being asserted by the partisans of Mr. Lawson that the Irish man’s tea trade has almost doubled since he became a contestant for the America’s cup three years ago. Now If the International race pays Lipton for his outlay in advertising, why deny Lawson the same privilege? The New York Yacht Club should change its tactics. Suppose it persists in barring Lawson and tho Shamrock should win? What would all American yachtsmen and the American people generally say to the New York Yacht Club? They would say, in effect:

The Shamrock II Yacht 1901

“Your attempt to monopolize the credit of a possible victory has subjected your country to defeat. The independence might have beaten the Shamrock. You, In your selfish greed, refused to give her a chance. Your snobbery has lost us the cup.” The Now York Yacht Club could neither deny nor evade that accusation.

The America’s cup became the absolute property of its winners at Cowes. They could have sold it as old silver had they desired. Its surviving owner, rightly thinking that a trophy so won should be preserved as a perpetual emblem of the highest skill In ship building and sailing for speed, endeavored be to provide. He selected the Now York Yacht Club as his trustee and drew up a deed of gift providing: “Any yacht of a foreign country, etc., shall always be entitled to tho right of sailing a match for the cup against any one yacht or vessel constructed in the country holding the cup.”

Mr. Schuyler’s Intention evidently was, since he offered the cup as a prize to be sought by “any yacht of n foreign country,” that Its possession should be defended by the best yacht the country holding It could produce. He wanted to bring together the very best vessels of the two countries. He was a real sportsman, but his trustees have shown a most lamentable lack of his spirit. Because she Is not owned by one of their own number, they refuse to permit the cup to be defended by what might prove the best yacht.

shamrock-yacht-1899The insinuations that Mr. Lawson built the Independence “for advertising purposes,” etc., simply demonstrate the snobbishness of those making them. They are unsportsmanlike, ungentlemanly, and un-American. They invite the inference that the New York Yacht Club Is dominated by a set of cads. They indicate that that organization is thinking of petty personal glory rather than of its country’s honor. They exhibit that hoggish spirit, that dog-In-the-manger policy which has made so many New Yorkers the objects of derision and contempt In other parts of the nation.

If the New York Yacht Club shall persist In Its course, if it shall insist upon excluding what might easily be the best yacht, and thus sacrifice victory to it’s own selfish desire for personal renown, Its name will rightly be come a by-word and a scoffing. Tho American people demand that our very best yacht be put forward to meet the British challenger, and if the Shamrock wins they will never be convinced that victory was not thrown away by the New York club.

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