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Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
The turn of the century
BBC Sport Online details America's Cup racing in the decade bridging the turn of the century from 1893.

The era of racing 90-footers was completely dominated by America.

The hosts never once lost a race in five contests and one man more than most was responsible for that impressive record.

Nathaniel Herreshoff was the brains behind the domination, designing all five of America's winning boats.


1893 - Vigilant 3-0 Valkyrie II

George Watson designed the second of his four Cup challengers six years later, but was overshadowed by Nathaniel Herreshoff.

C Oliver Iselin, who had crewed in the previous race, headed up the syndicate with Edwin Morgan acting as manager.

The Earl of Dunraven's Valkyrie II was no match for the American team, although their efforts were cruelly harmed by ill-fortune.

The British boat was leading one of the races when the spinnaker ripped, allowing the hosts to come through and win by more than 40 seconds.


1895 - Defender 3-0 Valkyrie III

The Earl of Dunraven suffered a similar fate when he put together another challenge, however, the result came about in markedly different circumstances.

Valkyrie III accidentally fouled Defender in the second meeting despite the Americans having the right of way.

And when the British proceeded to cross the line having failed to stop and assist their stricken adversary the win was given to the hosts.

Dunraven's protests fell on deaf ears, he declined the offer of a re-match and withdrew from the third race.


1899 - Columbia 3-0 Shamrock

Sir Thomas Lipton's first of five challenges ended in defeat but gave him a taste for the contest.

C Oliver Iselin managed the host syndicate, building the yacht at a cost of $250,000.

And Columbia's crew of Scots and Scandinavians, skippered by American Charlie Barr, were too professional by far.

However, Shamrock's team won plaudits for recovering from a broken mast in the second race and getting back out on the water within 24 hours.


1901 - Columbia 3-0 Shamrock II

Colombia was the first back-to-back defender having beaten the faster Constitution in trials.

  Race by race margins
1. One minute 20 seconds
2. Three minutes +
3. 41 seconds
And despite the overall scoreline, it was the closest contest in the 50-year history of the Cup.

Sir Thomas Lipton had persuaded George Watson to come out of retirement and the designer had used models and tanks for the first time in the history of the race to perfect his plans.

Despite the preparation, Columbia held sway throughout, largely in part to their aggressive and experienced skipper Charlie Barr.


1903 - Reliance 3-0 Shamrock III

Buoyed by his efforts two years earlier, Sir Thomas Lipton returned for more with the first British challenger to be steered by a wheel and not a tiller.

But any amount of innovation would have made little difference against one of the great Cup boats and teams.

Nathaniel Herreshoff designed the largest ever boat to compete in the race and C Oliver Iselin came out of retirement to manage the defence.

Charlie Barr was at the helm again to become the first skipper to win three consecutive Cups as the power of the Reliance told.

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