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Royal Ulster Sailors Tale of Lipton Trophy Replacement at Southern Yacht Club, New Orleans

25th November 2019
The Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans now has their cherished Lipton Trophy once again The Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans now has their cherished Lipton Trophy once again

Royal Ulster Yacht Club members Deborah and Simon Lace recently returned from an adventure holiday in Chile where they had met an American man called Glen, from New Orleans writes Betty Armstrong. It transpired during the course of conversation that he and his wife were also racing sailors – in their case a J130 raced across the Gulf of Mexico.

During a discussion on the America's Cup, the link between RUYC and Sir Thomas Lipton surfaced, and Glen told an interesting story.

He is a member of the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans which is the second oldest yacht club in the USA and older than Royal Ulster, having been established in 1849 “by New Orleans and Gulf Coast residents seeking the camaraderie and challenge of yacht racing in the Mid-Gulf region”. And the club was a proud owner of a special trophy gifted to them by Sir Thomas Lipton to promote sailing competition.

It had been used as a perpetual trophy for the Lipton Cups held each Labor Day and all 26 yacht clubs on the Gulf Coast are invited to bring their best sailors to compete in one-design boats. Many of the world’s best sailors including many Olympic, US, European and world champion sailors of all classes of sailing compete each year.

Tragically, in the aftermath of the Category 5 Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the clubhouse was destroyed by fire, with the loss of all medals (some Olympic) and trophies.

Southern YC unsuccessfully approached the British makers of the Lipton trophy to see if they still had the original mould. They didn’t, but however, one was made using the half-cup replica, which was given to the winning member each year to keep at home. It required $15,000 worth of silver to cast and this sum was gifted to the Club by a private benefactor. Southern YC now has their cherished Lipton Trophy once again.

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