Research – yacht racing

Guide to Sources for Research into yacht racing

The intent of this guide is to provide a list of authoritative reference materials to introduce researchers to the history of yacht racing from its early beginnings.

More to come...


Lawson history of the America's cup

The Lawson history of the America's cup : a record of fifty years : Winfield Martin Thompson and Thomas William Lawson (Boston, Mass., privately published by Lawson. 1902 ; edition limited to 3,000 copies)

Thomas Lawson was refused the right to contend for the 1901 "America's Cup" by the New York Yacht Club (he refused to become a member.) This book was designed as a rather spiteful retaliation, but he had enough common sense to ask an independant writer, Winfield Thompson, to write the majority of the text – unedited by Lawson himself. The result is the most intricately detailed account of the first fifty years of the "America's Cup".


Winning the King's Cup

Winning the King's Cup : an account of the "Elena's" race to Spain, 1928 : Helen G. Bell (London : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [the Knickerbocker Press], 1928)

This very detailed account was written by the owner's daughter, of the Herreshoff schooner Elena (96' on the w/l, 136' on deck, and 193' rigged length) that won King Alphonso's Cup for first overall in the 1928 transatlantic race, beating the 3-masted Atlantic, winner of the 1904 race in a record time that lasted until the late 20th century. This race was the last of the "big schooner" races which never reappeared after the Great Depression, and many aspects of this account will never be repeated.



This is currently (February 2021) a work in progess, to rationalise, facilitate and expand our existing page at the Naval Marine Archive. Some pages are very recent, some date back twenty years and may or may not have been reviewed and/or edited recently; we appreciate any suggestions for improvements.