Vessels

Reliance

Vessel Name: Reliance
cutter
00605
1903-04-10
America's Cup defender
Herreshoff, Nathanael Greene
Herreshoff Manufacturing Co
189.4 s ton
Reliance was designed and built to defend the America's Cup in 1903. She defeated Shamrock III in three straight races to defend the Cup. Shamrock III was designed by William Fife, Jr. for her owner, Sir Thomas Lipton. Reliance was commmissioned by a syndicate of ten New York Yacht Club members that included titans of business and finance such as William Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt and C. Oliver Iselin. Reliance was the fourth vessel in a row designed by Nathanael Herreshoff and built by HMCo, under his supervision, to defend their fifth consecutive America's Cup (his earlier Columbia defended the Cup in both 1899 and 1901). Reliance is considered the most extreme of the eight consecutive defenders of the America's Cup built by HMCo from 1893 - 1934. Reliance was the largest single masted vessel in the world at the time of her launching in 1903. Overall length on deck was just under 144' with a waterline length of 90' allowed for enourmous overhangs that provided a greatly extended waterline length when in racing trim. Reliance displaced just under 190 tons that was substantially concentrated in her massive lead keel. The keel and light strong hull structure was required to support 16,840 sq. ft. of sail area or just over 1/3 of a football playing field. The sails towered over 154' above deck. The structural engineering of Reliance's hull and sailing rig are examples of N. G. Herreshoff's brilliant engineering mind. To create the lightest and strongest hull and mast, NGH used strong nickle steel for the hull and mast framing and Tobin Bronze for hull and mast plating. Aluminium was also used on deck to save weight. He reduced interior structural weight by using strong web frames and longitudinal framing, much like the construction of metal aircraft fuselages years later. The combination of materials and specific structual engineering was focused on concentrating weight down low in the keel to support the massive sail area to drive this huge sailing vessel as fast as possible. This extreme America's Cup winner also caused major changes in thinking about the rule around which such extreme yachts could come into existence. After Reliance's victory, the New York Yacht Club issued requests for new more rational yacht rating formulas and NGH offered a new formula that was accepted and became known as the Universal Rule. The rule attempted to provide a better framework for designing more practical and seaworthy classes of racing boats from 16' to the new J-class, used in the America's Cup starting in 1930. Herreshoff's New York 30 of 1905 was the first HMCo one-design class built to his new rule.

Related Media

Related Objects

thumbnail America's Cup winner Reliance - May 21 1903
CF-10-083
Stebbins, Nathaniel L.
1903-05-21
View
thumbnail Reliance, N. G. Herreshoff's America's Cup winner of 1903
CF-27-014
Stebbins, Nathaniel L.
1903-07-25
View
thumbnail Reliance heeling heavily to starboard
CF-27-015
Stebbins, Nathaniel L.
1903-07-25
View
thumbnail Reliance & Shamrock - before start
CF-27-026
Stebbins, Nathaniel L.
1903-08-22
View
thumbnail Reliance - at finish
CF-27-027
Stebbins, Nathaniel L.
1903-08-22
View
Reliance, America's Cup 1903
2001.002.007
Peterson, E.H.
View
[untitled half hull model]
GO-X-A2-2(39-11)
Peterson, E.H.
View
thumbnail Sail plan
GO.1.1663
Owen, George
View

Related People

Herreshoff Manufacturing Co
shipbuilder and marine technology manufacturer
View
thumbnail Owen, George
View
thumbnail Herreshoff, Nathanael Greene
American
View