Dick Brown was a New York and Sandy Hook pilot who sailed the schooner-yacht AMERICA to England in the summer of 1851, and was at her helm when she successfully raced for the trophy that was to become known as the America’s Cup.
Pilots from ports like New York and Boston were a special breed. They sailed in small schooners and managed in all weather conditions to shepherd big ships into the harbor. George Steers, the designer of America, suggested to the New York Yacht Club syndicate that Captain Brown, “an excellent and suitable man,” be engaged as skipper. George L. Schuyler, one of the syndicate members, claimed that Brown was “careful, reliable, faithful, one of the best men in his position I ever saw.” Captain Brown directed the logistics of the campaign and undertook the training of the crew. His command of the AMERICA in the race around the Isle of Wight made the difference that won the Cup.
Much sought after as a yacht captain, Dick Brown was the helmsman of the yacht DAUNTLESS in the October 24, 1871 race against James Ashbury’s challenger LIVONIA.