Octave Murdoch Sopwith
T.O.M. Sopwith, the undisputed leader of the British
aircraft industry, brought prevailing aircraft technology
to his America's Cup Challengers. His two J-Class
yachts, ENDEAVOUR and ENDEAVOUR II, were clearly outstanding
for sophisticated technical innovations and advanced
instrumentation that measured wind speed and direction.
As owner, organizer, and helmsman of both of his challengers,
Sopwith also brought a remarkably high level of committment
to the races.
In 1934, his first ENDEAVOUR gave the New York Yacht
Club a good scare, winning the first two races before
losing the next four to RAINBOW. ENDEAVOUR II was
technologically superior to the first, but had the
misfortune of competing against the nearly unbeatable
RANGER in 1937. Sopwith, perhaps more than any challenger
to date, demonstrated the resolve and talent necessary
to wrench the America's Cup from the hands of the
New York Yacht Club. Both his advanced technology
and his sailing competitiveness embodied the spirit
that has made the America's Cup great. Sopwith was
known for his outstanding racing record. He won England's
12-Meter Championship in 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930.
Sopwith's drive and commitment to his campaigns generated
some of the most riveting America's Cup racing of
the J-Boat era.