Anthony D Blake
Rainbow Defending the America's Cup against Endeavour I, Race 1, September 17, 1934
Oil on canvas
75 x 100 cm
Relative Size: Rainbow Defending the America's Cup against Endeavour I, Race 1, September 17, 1934
Relative size

The painting depicts Rainbow in the foreground racing against Endeavour 1 in race 1 of the America's Cup, Monday September 17, 1934. A fresh south westerly breeze of 15 knots creates quite a swell on the race course which is set offshore from Newport, Rhode Island, USA. The race was a 15 mile slog to windward, followed by a 15 mile run to the finish.

As they round the windward mark, Rainbow leads by 18 seconds. Both yachts have hoisted their spinnakers. Rainbow has lowered her jib. She is surfing on the swells, approaching from her starboard quarter Endeavour I can be seen breaking out the stops in her spinnaker as her crew prepare to drop the jib. However Rainbow hoists her small parachute spinnaker, whilst Endeavour I hoists her large parachute spinnaker, passing Rainbow on the run to the finish.

Harold Vanderbilt was the skipper of Rainbow and can be seen at the wheel. Alongside him is the navigator, Professor Bliss of Brown University and backup skipper John Parkinson. Designer, Starling Burgess is seen in the dark jacket and yachting cap, further to windward of the group around the wheel. Sherman Hoyt was also onboard, in charge of the spinnaker and jibs. He can be seen in a dark jacket just to windward of the mast. The weather is hazy with sunlight reflecting off the water around the racing yachts. A large spectator fleet is visible in the background with J. P. Morgan's large steam yacht Corsair IV the closest to the yachts.

Endeavour I won both the first and second races but Rainbow won the next four thus retaining the America's Cup. Endeavour I was skippered and managed by T.O.M Sopwith. Both yachts were built to the J Class measurement. Rainbow was 126.7ft LOA and Endeavour I was 129.8ft LOA. The 1934 America's Cup was the first time that biplanes and high wing mono planes took photos of the racing yachts.

In 1984 the hulk of Endeavour l was bought by Elizabeth Meyer, who undertook a five-year project to rebuild her. She now sails worldwide to take part in J Class regattas. - A D Blake