INSIDE 'SCEPTRE': EXCLUSIVE LOOK

As the British challenger for the America's Cup boards a freighter bound for the U.S., Sports Illustrated presents an exclusive first look at its inner workings
August 10, 1958

Ever since the public got its first peek at Sceptre's hull abuilding inside a well-guarded shed in Scotland last February, the British challenger for the America's Cup has been the most talked-about boat in the world. Before she was launched, batteries of photographers and reporters fought, with varying success, to get photographs of her lines and facts on her deck plan and hull construction. After the launching, her every move became a matter of international interest, and sometimes controversy. When, for example, in early summer, she began taking regular drubbings from her trial horse Evaine, British yachtsmen shouted their alarm. Had the British syndicate built a very expensive lemon? was the question everyone asked.

Shortly thereafter there were some drastic crew changes; and in her last few workouts just before she boarded a freighter August 2 bound for the U.S., Englishmen noted to their satisfaction that now she was consistently licking Evaine.

In spite of all the sound, fury and speculation, very little was actually known about the boat. Only one American, Yachtsman-Author Carleton Mitchell, had ever sailed aboard Sceptre (SI, June 2), and he was sworn to secrecy about certain details the English crew wanted to keep from the defenders. Now, however, as the vessel bearing Sceptre draws near U.S. shores, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED reveals, in this exclusive closeup authorized by the men who created the challenger, the minute details of her hull and deck arrangement.

Note the ingenious orlop deck built into the very keel of the vessel, containing the head, galley, water tanks and wash basin so that she conforms to the 12-meter rule requiring the boat to carry all basic cruising facilities. The tremendous cockpit, with specially designed coffee-grinder winches mounted on the cockpit floor, enables the crew to handle the working sails without risking the uncertain footing of the narrow 12-meter deck, as the U.S. crews must do. But the big cockpit also demands a splashboard and high-capacity pump for the water that sweeps in over the bow in heavy windward work. Note also the wind gauge mounted astern, the faired hatch in the foredeck for quick sail handling and the toerails that double as spinnaker foreguy leads. Study these details, examine Sceptre from stem to stern, and you will know as much about the layout of the British challenger as anyone in America.

DIAGRAMCOLIN MUDIE1
2
3
4
7
5
6
63
8
59
61
62
61
60
9
57
58
5
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
19
56
55
20
53
54
23
21
52
55
66
65
22
52
67
24
68
69
70
71
64
51
24
25
26
51
72
74
28
27
50
73
75
29
27
32
30
31
32
49
48
32
45
46
44
43
33
42
47
33
41
40
34
35
32
32
36
36
38
37
38
39

1 Stemhead fitting
2 Spinnaker halyard
3 Forestay, turnbuckle below deck
4 Spinnaker-boom rest
5 Hollow toerail, spinnaker foreguys inside
6 Mooring bollard
7 Spinnaker staysail tack eyebolts
8 Forward hatch, rounded for sail handling
9 Deck, bare pine over plywood backing
10 Shrouds, steel rod to reduce stretch
11 Built-up hollow aluminum mast
12 Cleat for spinnaker-boom toppinglift
13 Burgee halyard cleat
14 Hollow spruce boom
15 Kicking strap
16 Main halyard cleat
17 Spare jib halyard cleat
18 Halyard fairleads
19 Skylights
20 Splashboard
21 Main companionway hatch
22 Spare winch (jib halyard winch to starboard)
23 Spinnaker halyard winch (main halyard wincf to starboard)
24 Coffee-grinder winches, drive mechanism below decks
25 Port coffee-grinder winch drum for jib sheet; and spinnaker sheets and guys
26 Two-speed gear change for port coffee grinde
27 Sheet stowage
28 Jib sheet lead track
29 Small winch for spinnaker sheets and guys
30 Running-backstay winch
31 Mainsheet winch
32 Mainsheet blocks
33 Port running backstay sheaves
34 Boom crutch socket
35 Mainsheet traveler with trim adjustment
36 Permanent backstay and backstay tackle
37 After mooring cleat
38 Spinnaker sheet and guy lead blocks
39 Wind gauge
40 Navigator's cockpit
41 Foot-operated inclinometer (indicates angle of heel)
42 Chart table
43 Helmsman's cockpit
44 Plastic wheel
45 Steering compass
46 Foot-operated speed indicator
47 Steering quadrant
48 Foot-operating mechanism
49 Heavy-duty bilge pump
50 Main cockpit
51 Cockpit hatches for access to orlop deck
52 Cockpit lockers for shackles, tools, etc.
53 Main cabin
54 Main cabin lockers
55 Settee berth
56 Berth, lockers below
57 Oilskin locker
58 Hanging locker, pullout seat below
59 Forecastle, for sail handling, stowage
60 Port pipe berth (two starboard pipe berths not shown)
61 Forecastle seats, gear lockers under
62 Alternate steel and laminated oak frames
63 1½" mahogany skin
64 Orlop deck
65 Partial bulkhead
66 Wash basin
67 Orlop deck companionway
68 Galley, with two-burner gas stove
69 Gas bottles
70 Water tanks, 25.3-gallon capacity
71 Anchor
72 Access hatch to bilge-pump filter
73 Light alloy head
74 Keel
75 Rudder

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)