Created in 1930, this silent film tells the story of the America’s Cup Race between tea magnate Thomas J. Lipton’s Shamrock V and Harold Vanderbuilt’s Enterprise team led by Maj. Brook Heckstall-Smith, C. Sherman Hoyt and John Nicholson. Spoiler alert, this was Sir Thomas Lipton’s fifth unsuccessful try for the Cup, and the last of his attempts.

Shamrock V was the first British yacht to be built to the new J-Class rule. She was commissioned by Sir Thomas Lipton for his fifth (and ultimately last) America’s Cup challenge. Although restored many times she is the only J not to have ever fallen into dereliction. The first of the best-of-seven races was a convincing victory for Enterprise winning by nearly three minutes. Shamrock V was to fare worse in the second race losing by nearly 10 minutes. The third race finally provided the assembled thousands on the shore at Newport, the racing they craved. Shamrock V’s initial lead at the start was relinquished to Enterprise after a tacking duel. Following this surrender disaster struck, as Shamrock V’s main halyard parted and her sail collapsed to the deck. The fourth race clinched the cup for Enterprise after which Sir Thomas Lipton was heard to utter “I can’t win”. He passed away the following year.

Shamrock V’s challenge was plagued by bad luck and haunted by one of the most ruthless skippers in America’s Cup history, Harold Vanderbilt. Sir Thomas Lipton, after endearing himself to the American public during 31 years and five attempts, would die the following year never fulfilling his ambition to win the Cup. You can read more about Shamrock here:

Enterprise was a 1930 yacht of the J Class and successful defender of the 1930 America’s Cup. It was ordered by Harold Vanderbilt and designed by Starling Burgess.

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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit



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