Franklin Osgood was the first defender and two-time winner of the America’s Cup. 2020 marked the 150th anniversary of Osgood’s victory as the owner and manager of the schooner MAGIC, which won the first defense of the America’s Cup on August 8, 1870. In the only fleet race for a Cup final, MAGIC led at all marks on the race course in New York Harbor to defeat sixteen other defenders and the lone challenger.
In the following year, Osgood successfully defended the Cup again, this time with a new schooner, COLUMBIA, in match races against the challenger—proof that his first victory was no fluke.
During an era when most yacht owners knew little about sailing, let alone racing, Osgood was a bona fide racing yachtsman. The New York Herald observed that, “Mr. Franklin Osgood, owner of the MAGIC, is a brave, courageous and bold seaman. He goes for every stitch of canvas aloft in a stiff breeze, and would himself get in the weather rigging if it would accelerate the MAGIC’s speed.”
Osgood also has the distinction of being a member of the first America’s Cup Committee of the New York Yacht Club. This committee, formed in 1869 by the NYYC, consisted of George L. Schuyler, Moses Grinnell, and Osgood, to negotiate with the Cup’s first challenger, James Ashbury. The result was the 1870 match, which set the America’s Cup on the path to become yachting’s Holy Grail.