Dunraven made no further mention of ballast during the series, which was unfortunately marred by other incidents and protests, but on his return to England he made public his charge that ballast had been added to Defender before the first race. The reaction of the New York Yacht Club was immediate. C. Oliver Iselin called for a full investigation. "I stand before the world," he wrote, "solemnly charged with an offense as base as could possibly be imputed to a sportsman and a gentleman." A hearing was called, and Dunraven recrossed the ocean to personally repeat his charges. He failed to prove them. The testimony disclosed that the suspicious activity aboard Hattie Palmer was simply cutting in half lead pigs momentarily removed from the narrow bilge of Defender in order to stow them farther down and thus increase her stability. Public feeling turned completely against Dunraven when he persisted in his charges; he finally became the subject of a pun repeated ad nauseam ("has he done ravin' yet?") and left the country a thoroughly disliked figure...casting a pall upon America's Cup racing that only the benevolent figure of Sir Thomas Lipton, 3 years later, could dispel.
A misanthropic wizard
To his few acquaintances Nathaniel Herreshoff was known as Captain, or "Mister," Nat, but to the outer world he was famous as "The Wizard of Bristol"—an accurate sobriquet which suggested not only the magic of his inventiveness as a designer and engineer, but also indicated something of the mystery of his personality. He was a gloomy, taciturn New Englander, who stalked around his yards in Bristol, R.I. with a walnut stick tucked under his arm; highly strung and irritable, a misanthrope of extraordinary secretiveness, whose sole satisfaction was in hard work to which he dedicated himself from 6 in the morning until 10 at night. The first boat he designed was the sloop Violet, whose performance so disappointed him that he smashed her model with an ax. In later life he designed five cup defenders, all successful. In 1937, nearly 90, bed-ridden, he was still absorbed enough in his life's passion to watch his yards recondition the J boats Ranger and Endeavor II. They were not long down the ways when he died.
SIR THOMAS LIPTON
The world's greatest loser
Of his five challengers—all named Shamrock and with a small potted shamrock below for luck—not one was able to lift "the ould mug," as Sir Thomas Lipton called the cup. Sympathy for him in his vain attempts was so widespread that following each defeat Sir Thomas would humbly accept a substitute trophy—a loving cup that the American public got in the habit of giving him—and he would vow to try again with a boat that "would make Americans sit up." By his fifth attempt, nationalism had gone by the boards and, when he cried out "I cannot win! I cannot win!" following his defeat in the 1930 series, there was, as Ring Lardner wrote, "hardly a dry eye in any American speakeasy." One sympathetic lady, short on nautical knowledge, wrote him that the Americans were putting something in the water to prevent his Shamrocks from winning. Yes, Lipton wrote back ruefully, yes, they were putting faster boats in the water.
He was a tall man, his face the familiar one that graced the tin boxes of his tea—the white mustache, the little tuft of hair on the underlip and the undersized yachting cap which he set at a jaunty angle and wore on all occasions. Once during an ocean voyage a lady passenger spotted the cap, mistook Lipton for a deck steward and tipped him a shilling when he was successful in producing a deck chair for her. "I took the shilling," Lipton reported of the incident, "and tipped my cap to her in the approved manner."
He came from humble beginnings, born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of Irish parents who had fled their native country to escape starvation in the Black Year of 1846. At the age of 10, Lipton was hired as a messenger boy in a stationery shop, running his errands barefoot across the winter streets for four shillings (about 60¢) a week.
As a young man he left for America to seek his fortune. He returned with barely £100 (about $500) in savings, along with a rocking chair and a bag of flour promised his mother who had professed a craving for American-style pancakes.
His Cinderella rise in fortune started on his return. He invested his savings in a small provision store, and utilizing present-day promotion and selling methods, parlayed it over the years into an immense chain. He was a pioneer in many aspects of business—the originator of hard-sell advertising. To proclaim the ham products in his provision stores, for instance, he marched battalions of pigs through the Glasgow streets, each with a cloth covering on his back with the lugubrious message for all to read: "Lipton's Orphans Bound for Lipton's."
At the turn of the century, famous and rich, Lipton received his baronetcy through the strong backing of the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII. The prince was a staunch friend; a great yachtsman himself, he interested Lipton in yachting and in the great challenge posed by the America's Cup.
Lipton's yachts did well with the marked exception of cup competition. He had so many trophies on display in the main dining salon of his steam yacht Erin that there was not enough room to serve meals. Yet Lipton can hardly be classed as a true yachtsman. He rarely went aboard his cup challengers. The only recorded instance of a visit to Shamrock IV when she was in America was in the company of a dress manufacturer and a flock of models for a publicity photograph. As for the races, he watched them from the deck of his Erin, leaving the management of the Shamrocks entirely to the designer and captain. His application to yachting was essentially romantic. "Ah," he said once during his last days in Newport waters, in his 80s then, frail, the jauntiness fading, "look at her lines—tell 'em anywhere—the lovely green lady," and no one quite had the heart to tell him that he was actually peering at the American defender Enterprise.
Following his last defeat, yet another loving cup was given him, this one on the suggestion of Will Rogers on behalf of Americans wishing to show their appreciation for his good sportsmanship. The cup stood two and a half feet high and was worth many times the monetary value of the America's Cup Sir Thomas had spent 21 years and an estimated $5 million trying to capture. The loving cup was presented in a tear-drenched ceremony in which Lipton broke down during his acceptance speech. One of the many symbols engraved on the cup was a spider and its web, with above it the word "perseverance."