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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author and yachting expert Magnus Wheatley wrote There is No Second about the America’s Cup history, tradition and fierce, but friendly competition.

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There Is No Second

There is No Second by Magnus Wheatley was published with perfect timing as the sailing fraternity prepares for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup, taking place in Barcelona from 22nd August to 27th October this year.

There Is No Second by Magnus Wheatley on The Table Read Magazine
There Is No Second by Magnus Wheatley

There Is No Second chronicles the exhilarating story of the first-ever race around the Isle of Wight in 1851, a competition that sparked the legend of the America’s Cup. The book delves into the origins of the prestigious “RYS £100 Cup,” later renamed the America’s Cup, and its dramatic journey across the Atlantic.

The narrative unfolds with the establishment of the Royal Yacht Club (now the Royal Yacht Squadron), spearheaded by the illustrious Marquess of Anglesey, a hero of Waterloo. He plays a pivotal role in acquiring and donating the coveted trophy to the club. We then meet the New York Yacht Club and their champion vessel, the “America,” who bravely issued a challenge for the cup. The book explores the contrasting experiences of the American delegation at the Great Exhibition, championed by Prince Albert. Lampooned by the British press due to the ongoing issue of slavery in America, the delegation faced hostility and derision.

Against all odds, the “America” triumphed over the seasoned British fleet, a victory that sent shockwaves across the Atlantic. American media seized this opportunity, solidifying the legend of the America’s Cup and portraying the “America” as a revolutionary vessel far ahead of its British competitors – a claim the book meticulously dissects.

The author sheds light on Queen Victoria’s unexpected visit aboard the winning “America” the day after the race. This gesture, considered a turning point in public opinion, fostered a newfound respect for the Americans and the New World. This act, according to the author, laid the groundwork for the “special relationship” between America and Great Britain.

There Is No Second concludes by detailing the America’s Cup Deed of Gift, a document with lasting implications even today. Finally, the book introduces James Lloyd Ashbury, a flamboyant figure who challenged for the America’s Cup in 1870 and 1871, marking the beginning of a storied tradition.

Enthralling those with a passion for sailing, this forensically researched book leaves no stone unturned as it entertains, enlightens and edifies on the subject of the original race, for what was then known as the ‘RYS £100 Cup.’ The author also reveals the last untold story of the America’s Cup (which, for many, is the ‘Holy Grail’), having discovered the identity of the signal-master whose conversation with Queen Victoria during the first race in 1851 uttered the words ‘Ma’am – there is no second’, thereby passing the quote into sailing history.

With a foreword penned by one of the biggest names in world yachting and winner of the 35th and 36th America’s Cup regattas, Grant Dalton, ‘There is No Second’ is no ordinary book.  Just like the America’s Cup is no ordinary race.

Magnus Wheatley

I spent the best part of two years researching and writing the book crucially going back to the sources of much that has been written and interpreted about the first race and going through the royal archives, naval records and the national archives in Kew to find the name, never before associated with the America’s Cup, of the ‘signal-master’ who was involved in this conversation with Queen Victoria on the Royal Yacht Victoria & Albert on 22nd August 1851:

“Say, signal-master, are the yachts in sight?”

“Yes, may it please Your Majesty.”

“And who is first?”

“America, Your Majesty.”

“And who is second?”

“Ma’am, there is no second.”

This phrase has haunted the America’s Cup ever since but has never before been attributed. However, via a piece of investigative journalism due to the fact that no ship’s muster or records were kept, I found the name. Realising that naval servicemen actually sent their wages home to the wives or parents to stop them from boozing it away (they called it ‘consumption’), I was able to trace the book-keeping record for the signal-master and then cross-reference it to the ship and the individual’s service record.

I have covered every America’s Cup since, writing for newspapers and magazines around the world as well as appearing on TV, radio and podcasts about the event.

Today I’m the Chief Event Writer for the Louis Vuitton 37th America’s Cup and have been writing daily for the last two years on the website about the lead up to the next event which takes place in Barcelona from the end of August through to the end of October 2024. “I was the yachting correspondent for the Financial Times, ran the world’s most viewed sailing blog for ten years and write a regular column for Seahorse International – the world’s premier yacht racing magazine title. I live on the Isle of Wight and was the winner of the prestigious ‘Round the Island’ Race in 2000 – the same course as the first race in 1851 – and have competed internationally in sailing for the past 30 years.

-Magnus Wheatley

Magnus Wheatley has been writing about the America’s Cup ever since catching the early train to school with the intention of cutting out every single report from the Times and the Telegraph, at the age of 15, to blog about the 1987 America’s Cup and then comment and record in a lever arch file (and he is still in possession of that file today).

Find more from Magnus Wheatley now:




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