The popular name of a yachting trophy originally called the Queen
's Cup, which was offered by the Royal Yacht Squadron of England
competition open to the yachts of all nations in 1851.
The cup was won by the Boston-built schooner-yacht America
Since then there were challenge contests
in 1870, 1871, 1876, 1881, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1893, 1895, and 1899, and in each instance the cup was defended by American yachts, with success.
In 1895 Lord Dunraven's yacht, Valkyrie
, after having been defeated in one race, won the second, but was deprived of the victory because of a foul.
claimed that he had been cheated, and refused to race again.
He charged the American yachtsmen with unsportsmanlike conduct, and visited this country to press his charges.
His complaints were dismissed and he was dropped from the list of members of the New York Yacht Club, under whose auspices the races had been held.
One of the most notable of the several contests was that in 1899, when Sir Thomas Lipton
sailed the Shamrock
against the American
The contest was characterized by the highest type of international courtesy and good feeling, and resulted in the issue of a second challenge by Sir Thomas Lipton
for a contest in 1901.