I have a new hero—Thomas Fleming Day—the editor of The Rudder magazine in the early 20th century. He was a real character and someone who was certainly not afraid to say exactly what was on his mind! I discovered Mr. Day while researching the history of the Lipton Cup, a beautifully ornate trophy in our collection that was awarded to the winner of the first ocean race to Bermuda in 1906. While there are many, many “Lipton Cups” floating around out there (Sir Thomas Lipton was a zealous advocate of the sport of sailboat racing and provided trophies to many clubs sponsoring racing events) our cup is a little more important because it was presented to the winner of the race that is credited as the founding event of modern ocean racing. Originally called the Ocean Race to Bermuda, it is now known as the Newport-Bermuda Race and it occurs every two years (the next race occurs in June 2018).
The idea for the race originated with Day who believed that ocean racing shouldn’t be limited to large yachts, rich men and professional crews and that amateur sailors in normal boats were equally capable of blue water racing. To convince everyone that ocean racing in small boats was safe he organized a race in 1904 from New York to Marblehead. He proposed the race because he said he was “sick of hearing that we are a lot of shore-skulkers, Central Park sailors; that while we can build racing machines and win with them, we have neither the craft nor the skill and pluck to sail on deep water, or even to go out of sight of land.” He thought ocean racing would make yachting what it was supposed to be “a sport for men—real men.”