The Second World War marked the end of the J-Class, and when America’s Cup racing began again in 1958, it signaled the beginning of the 12-Metre era.
The 1958 America's Cup marked the first Cup match sailed in 12-metre class yachts. Twenty years had passed since the last Cup match, held between immense Universal Rule J-class yachts in 1937 besides World War II, and the New York Yacht Club sought a more affordable alternative to restart interest in the Cup. In 1956 Henry Sears led an effort advancing class yachts.
The Royal Yacht Squadron of Great Britain agreed to challenge with a new 12-metre, Sceptre, whose only serious training partner back home was Elaine, a 12-meter that was defeated by Vim in a race before the war
Four yachts competed in a summer long regatta to determine which the NYYC would name as defender, Columbia (US-16), a new Olin Stephens boat, Weatherly (US-17), Easterner (US-18), and the Olin Stephens designed Vim (US-15) from 1939. Columbia was chosen after a very close set of races resulted in only beating the 19-year-old Vim by 12 seconds in the final competition.
Columbia was designed by Olin Stephens and built by Nevins. Built to compete for the right to defend the '58 America's Cup, she was owned by a syndicate headed by [New York Yacht Club] members Henry Sears, Gerard B. Lambert, Briggs Cunningham, Vincent Astor, James A. Farrell, A. Howard Fuller, and William T. Moore.
Columbia was helmed by Cunningham, the inventor of the Cunningham downhaul, with syndicate head Sears as navigator. After defeating Sceptre in the Cup challenge, she went on to a long career competing in the Defender trials for the 1962, 1964, and 1967 America's Cup competitions.
The New York Yacht Club defended with Columbia & winning the Cup in a four-race sweep.
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