1920 America's Cup

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13th America's Cup
Black and white photograph of the yacht Resolute under full sail
NYYC's defending yacht, Resolute
Defender  United States
Defender club:New York Yacht Club
Challenger  United Kingdom
Challenger club:Royal Ulster Yacht Club
Yacht:Shamrock IV
Location:New York Harbor
40°40′N 74°02′W / 40.667°N 74.033°W / 40.667; -74.033Coordinates: 40°40′N 74°02′W / 40.667°N 74.033°W / 40.667; -74.033
Rule:Universal Rule
Winner:New York Yacht Club

The 1920 America's Cup was the 13th challenge for the Cup and the first since 1903. It took place in New York Harbor and consisted of a best-of-five series of races between the defender Resolute, entered by a syndicate of New York Yacht Club members headed by Henry Walters, and Shamrock IV, the fourth in Sir Thomas Lipton's line of Cup challengers.

Despite being disabled in the first race and losing the second, Resolute won the final three races and in doing so retained the Cup on behalf of the NYYC, continuing the club's unbroken record of defending the America's Cup.

The 1920 America's Cup was originally scheduled to take place in 1914 but was postponed upon the outbreak of World War I. The 13th Cup challenge was the last to take place in New York, and the first held under the Universal Rule of measurement.

Lipton challenges a fourth time[edit]

Following his unsuccessful Cup challenge in 1903, Lipton, founder of the Lipton tea company, attempted to persuade the NYYC to adopt new rules of measurement for America's Cup yachts that would reduce their cost, which was widely seen to be a result of the Seawanhaka rule then used by the club. Despite the NYYC having adopted the new Universal Rule in 1903, formulated by Nathaniel Herreshoff, for its own races, it was reluctant to allow its use for America's Cup races and refused several challenges issued by Lipton until finally accepting in 1913.[1]


Resolute leading Vanitie at start of first elimination race off New Haven 1920.

The 1914 defender selection trials pitted Resolute against Vanitie. In winning, Resolute set a course record.[2] The races were suspended as World War I broke out and did not resume until 1920, at which point Resolute again secured her place as defender in trials against Vanitie.


The American defender Resolute won 3-2 against the challenger Shamrock IV.[3][4]


  1. ^ Jones, Gregory O (2004). "Herreshoff Sailboats". Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760311608. Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  2. ^ "Resolute Beats All Cup Course Records" (pdf). The New York Times. 11 June 1914.
  3. ^ "First Yacht Race For America's Cup Starts, Noon Today" (pdf). The New York Times. 15 July 1920.
  4. ^ "Resolute". AC-Clopaedia. Archived from the original on 2012-03-31.

External links[edit]