George L. Schuyler was a civil engineer with steam ferry and railroad interests. He was a Colonel in the Civil War and a descendent of General Schuyler of Revolutionary War fame. After AMERICA won the “Hundred Guinea Cup” at the Isle of Wight in 1851, some of the five member syndicate responsible for building her wanted to have the Cup melted down so that each owner could have a medal struck from it in commemoration of the race. George Schuyler fought against the idea, urging that the Cup be presented to the New York Yacht Club as an international trophy to be raced for by foreign clubs. His idea was accepted, and George Schuyler was responsible for writing the terms for the conveyance of the Cup to the Club, later known as the Deed of Gift.
Dated July 8, 1857, it read: “Any organized yacht club of any foreign country shall always be entitled through any one or more of its members, to claim the right of sailing a match for this Cup with any yacht or vessel of not less than thirty or more than three hundred tons, measured by the custom-house rule of the country to which the vessel belongs.”
“The parties desiring to sail for the Cup may make any match with the yacht club in possession of the same that may be determined by mutual consent; but in case of disagreement as to terms, the match shall be sailed over the usual course for the annual regatta of the yacht club in possession of the Cup, and subject to its rules and sailing regulations – the challenging party being bound to give six months advance notice in writing, fixing the day they wish to start. This notice to embrace the length, custom-house measurement, rig and name of the vessel.”
“It is to be distinctly understood that the Cup is to be the property of club, and not the members thereof, or owners of the vessel winning it in the match; and that the condition of keeping it open to be sailed for by yacht clubs of all foreign countries upon the terms laid down, shall forever attach to it, thus making it perpetually a challenge Cup for friendly competition between foreign countries.”
In 1881, Schuyler revised the original Deed of gift to include the following: First, that the challenging yacht be met by only one defending yacht; second, that the challenging vessel be constructed in the country she was to represent; third, that, in the interest of good seaworthy construction, the challenger be required to sail to the site of the match; fourth, that a defeated vessel not be permitted to sail again until a contest with another vessel intervenes, or until 2 years elapses from such defeat; and, finally, that any challenge, to be valid, must come from an organized yacht club of a foreign country.