Built by Herreshoff Mfg. Co., Bristol, R.I. for the Vanderbilt Syndicate, Rainbow was narrowly selected by the New York Yacht Club to defend the America's Cup. Designed by W.S. Burgess with an overall length of 128.56 feet, beam 20.4 feet, and draft of 14.95 feet, Rainbow was steadily improved by adding ballast and setting larger sails. After losing the first two races to Endeavor, Rainbow won the closest Cup match ever, amidst protests and errors on both sides. Rainbow was the fifteenth defender of the America's Cup.