'Sappho' 1871
A Portfolio of the Artist Leonard J Pearce

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Ashbury placed a best-of-seven match race challenge for October 1871, which the NYYC accepted provided a defending yacht could be chosen on the morning of each race. Ashbury's new yacht Livonia (264 tons) was beaten twice in a row by Osgood's new centreboard schooner Columbia (220 tons), which withdrew in the third race after dismasting. The yacht Sappho then stepped in as defender winning the fourth and fifth races, and successfully defending the Cup.

In the race I have depicted in this painting, against the British contender Livonia, the weather changed quite suddenly, hence I gave the sea a chop on the waves’.

America’s Cup History by Hamish G. Ross

'Sappho'  1871                                                                        (click on the image to return to the previous page)

In 1868 an American yacht Sappho, visited England for racing in much the same spirit as America in 1851.


Sappho was not as successful as America, and it was Ashbury’s victory over Sappho in his new yacht Cambria in a race around the Isle of Wight that inspired him to race for the America’s Cup.


The Cup had lain unchallenged since 1857 when invitations had been sent by the New York Yacht Club to the leading yacht clubs of Europe.


America’s Cup Races