The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
The Yachts: Vigilant


Victorious defender of the eighth America's Cup (1893). Winner over Valkyrie II (GBR) 3-0.

Vigilant was the first victorious defender designed and built by the ingenious American designer, nicknamed the Wizard of Bristol, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff. Nat Herreshoff repeated this success in 1895, 1899, 1901, 1903 and in 1920. 

Vigilant won the 1893 American selection trials for the Cup defense and had beaten Colonia, Jubilee and Pilgrim

America's Cup:
Sailed October 7 to 13, 1893 in New York
Best three out of five races.
Vigilant vs. Valkyrie II

Alternating courses:
- The first one, 15 miles to windward off Scotland Lightship and return
- The second one, equilateral triangle, 30 miles. 

Races: three sailed. 

Results: Vigilant beats Valkyrie II 3-0
- October 7, 1st race, 30 miles, Windward-Leeward Course: Vigilant beats Valkyrie II by 8 minutes 48 sec in corrected time.
- October 9, 2nd race, 30 miles, Triangular Course: Vigilant beats Valkyrie II by 10 minutes 35 sec in corrected time.
- October 13, 3rd race, 30 miles, Windward-Leeward Course: Vigilant beats Valkyrie II by 40 seconds in corrected time. 

Vigilant was sold to Howard Gould. It was the first defender to sail in Europe to race the British yachting season. The boat's reputation was harmed. It raced sixteen times against the already famous Britannia (1893), the future royal cutter designed by George Lennox Watson. Vigilant was beaten twelve times by Britannia in the Solent! 

Vigilant raced the elimination trials for the 1895 America's Cup defense won by Defender the last new Nathanael Greene Herreshoff Cup craft. 

Bought by William Iselin who sailed it until 1910. 

Vigilant was sold to a junkyard in New London. It was broken up in 1910. 7/2/2007


Cup(s) Sailed: 1893 (won)

Crew: N/A 

Owner: C. Oliver Iselin

Year Built: 1893

Launched: June 14, 1893 

Type: Centerboard Sloop

Designer: Nathanael Greene Herreshoff

Builder: Herreshoff Manufacturing Company


Frames: Steel

Planking Top: Steel — Supplied by Lukens

Planking Bottom: Tobin Bronze

Deck: N/A

Mast: N/A

Boom: N/A

Spinnaker Pole: N/A 

Keel Ballast: Tobin Bronze


Length Overall: 126.3 ft. / 38.5 m

Length Waterline: 85.0 ft. / 25.9 m 

Beam: 26.0 ft. / 7.92 m

Draft: 13.0 ft. / 3.96 m

Draft with Keel Lowered: N/A 

Displacement: 138 tons

Tonnage: N⁄A

Sail Area: 3,328.8 sq. ft. / 1,014.5 sq. m 

Mast: 87.5 ft. / 26.67 m

Boom: 97.1 ft. / 29.6 m

Bowsprit: 32.2 ft. / 9.8 m

Top Mast: 58.37 ft. / 17.9 m 5/2/2007