Thomas Egerton, the 2nd Earl of Wilton, made yachting history in the spring of 1851 by establishing a race, around the Isle of Wight, open to yachts of all nations hosted by his club, the Royal Yacht Squadron. Lord Wilton, as Commodore of the Squadron, invited the New York Yacht Club to participate. The New York Yacht Club accepted his invitation and its entry, the yacht AMERICA, won the race in August 1851. The silver cup the Squadron awarded to the owners of the AMERICA was later renamed the America’s Cup. The press noted that “the note of harmony, indeed, which has been struck by Lord Wilton’s letter to Commodore Stevens in February has continued to vibrate throughout the season.”
In “Memoirs of the Royal Yacht Squadron”, Lord Wilton is described as a “nobleman of unfailing urbanity and a fine manner, a capacity for business, and a love of order and punctuality… a skilled musician, amateur surgeon, sportsman.” It is this character that now endures through the America’s Cup.