Defender (1895 yacht)

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Defender on July 20, 1895, six weeks before the 1895 America's Cup.
Yacht club  New York Yacht Club
Nation  United States
Designer(s) Nathanael Greene Herreshoff
Builder Herreshoff Manufacturing Company
Launched 1895
Owner(s) William Kissam Vanderbilt,
Edwin Dennison Morgan,
Charles Oliver Iselin
Fate Broken up in 1901
Racing career
Skippers Henry C. Haff
Notable victories 1895 America's Cup
1895 Defender Trials
America's Cup 1895
Displacement 151.5 tons
Length 123 ft 0 in (37.49 m) LOA
89 ft 1.5 in (27.165 m) LWL
Beam 23 ft 1 in (7.04 m)
Draft 19 ft 1 in (5.82 m)
Sail area 12,602 sq ft (1,170.8 m2)[1]

Defender was the victorious United States defender of the tenth America's Cup in 1895 against challenger Valkyrie III.[2] Defender was designed by Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in 1895. It was Herreshoff's second victorious America's Cup defender design.


Defender was a sloop with all-metal construction: steel, aluminum, and manganese bronze. It was owned by William Kissam Vanderbilt, Edwin Dennison Morgan and Charles Oliver Iselin, and skippered by Henry C. Haff.


Defender defeated the New York Yacht Club's Vigilant then went on to defend the cup against British keel cutter Valkyrie III. Lord Dunraven of the Valkyrie alleged cheating by the Defender's crew.[3]

Following the contest, Defender was towed to the residence of C. Oliver Iselin in New Rochelle, New York where it remained docked for four years without sailing. In 1899 J. Pierpont Morgan and W. Buttler Duncan rebuilt Defender to race trials against the America's Cup defense candidate, Columbia.[4][5]

The yacht was towed to Herreshoff's Bristol yard for restoration to enable it to race in the selection trials for the 1899 defence. Following the selection trials, Defender returns to its mooring and was finally broken up in 1901.


  1. ^ Jones, Gregory O. (25 December 2004). Herreshoff Sailboats. Voyageur Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7603-1160-8. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  2. ^ "America's Cup Winners". Herreshoff Marine Museum. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  3. ^ Thompson, Winfield Martin; Lawson, Thomas W. (1902). The Lawson History of the America's Cup: A Record of Fifty Years. Ashford Press. pp. 179–196. ISBN 1332438806. Retrieved 20 April 2018. 
  4. ^ Strouse, Jean (2000). Morgan: American Financier (reprint, illustrated ed.). HarperCollins. pp. 373–375. ISBN 0060955899. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 
  5. ^ Simpson, Richard V. (2012). The Quest for America's Cup: Sailing to Victory. The History Press. ISBN 1609496345. Retrieved 2012-07-23. 

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