The high summer of 1937 is still remembered as an outstanding season in the history of the New York Yacht Club thanks to the memorable performances of the new America's Cup defender Ranger. The last - and, arguably, the finest J-boat of them all - she showed herself to be in a class of her own and her triumph over all other competitors during that particular season became the stuff of legend.
Ranger was designed by W. Starling Burgess and Olin J. Stephens to defend the second America's Cup challenge by Mr. T.O.M. Sopwith in 1937. Her owner, Harold Vanderbilt, spared no expense to create a true thoroughbred and she was built for him in Maine by the Bath Iron Works. Displacing 166 tons and measuring 135 feet in length with an 87 foot beam, Vanderbilt later wrote of her that she was "absolutely perfectly balanced on the wind, with her centreboard down, under any conditions and headsails." A number of refinements, particularly her quadrilateral jibs, also played their part in her success and she romped home in the America's Cup series beating Sopwith's Endeavour (II) in four straight wins. With the Cup races over, she then turned her attention to the New York Yacht Club's annual regatta and, by the end of her maiden season, she had won thirty-two races out of thirty-seven starts.
Both Endeavours (I & II) were designed and built by Camper & Nicholson for Mr. Tommy Sopwith's two America's Cup challenges in 1934 and 1937. Endeavour (I) proved a particularly worthy challenger and was only defeated by the defender Rainbow by the narrowest of margins. Endeavour (II), by comparison, was completely outclassed by Ranger which won each of the first two (out of four) races by seventeen and eighteen-and-a-half minutes respectively, very substantial margins for the Cup races of that inter-War period.
Yankee was built for Gerard B. Lambert of Boston by G. Lawley at Neponset, Massachusetts, in 1930. Designed by Paine, Belknap & Skene, she was classed as a sloop but extensively refitted to comply with the prevailing J-class rules when her owner accepted an invitation to race her at Cowes in the 1935 season. As it was King George V's Silver Jubilee that year, Cowes attracted an even greater throng than usual of notable yachts which provided the same excitement there which was to continue off Newport in 1937.