Schooner yacht 'America', 1851.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the Illustrated London News. 'America' was designed on behalf of the New York Yacht Club by George Steers, who drew up plans for a fast 'pilot' boat, using a reversal of the 'cods-head-and-mackerel-tail' style. 'America' was created to demonstrated that US technology was equal to that of Britain, and this was established by the schooner's victory, firstly in an open race sponsored by the Royal Yacht Squadron for the Hundred Guinea Cup and on August 22,1851 when America was declared the winner of a 53-mile clockwise race around the Isle of Wight. Celebrations followed, including a huge firework display and a visit from Queen Victoria.