Induction Class of 1994

C. Sherman Hoyt


1878 - 1961

In the third race of the 1934 challenge RAINBOW was down by two races and behind in the third when C. Sherman Hoyt took the helm. This was the closest that the New York Yacht Club would come to losing its treasured cup until 1983. Hoyt was known for taking the helm in light weather because of his uncanny ability to note slight wind changes, and this time was no exception. He outfoxed T.O.M. Sopwith, pointing well above the course finish and forcing Sopwith to make a covering attempt. RAINBOW sailed a straight course to the line while ENDEAVOUR fumbled. The Cup was safe as the tide of the challenge was turned by Hoyt's matchless genius at the helm and Harold Vanderbilt's ability to utilize the various talents of his crew to the best effect. This was by no means Hoyt's first experience with the America's Cup. A Cup enthusiast since childhood, he served as the New York Yacht Club representative aboard SHAMROCK lV in 1920. Of this experience, he later said "conditioning an America's Cup yacht is no sinecure. It requires no end of hard work, but is absorbingly interesting, frequently amusing, and never dull." Hoyt served on the afterguard of ENTERPRISE in 1930 and RAINBOW in 1934, and would later broadcast the RANGER - ENDEAVOUR II series of 1937 for CBS. This he found trying, as there was sparse action except at starts and rounding marks. There was little question of RANGER's superiority. His fascinating life would earn him the title of the world's most famous yachtsman of his era and bring him in contact with the Dowager Empress of China, Adolph Hitler, King George V, William Tecumseh Sherman (his great uncle), and countless others. C. Sherman Hoyt had an extraordinary life that took him around the world in adventures and voyages. His memoirs are a fascinating history of sailing since the 1880's in the eyes of a man who has seen it all.