The yacht America was designed by George Steers and built in New York City by shipbuilder William Brown. The design is based on pilot boats, among the fastest boats in any harbor and a type commonly adapted for yachting purposes in the middle 19th century. America was commissioned by a syndicate of New York Yacht Club members headed by Commodore John Cox Stevens for the purpose of competing in a special regatta organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron in conjunction with the Crystal Palace Exposition in London in 1851. America won this famous race around the Isle of Wight, capturing the most famous trophy in sports. The trophy later became known as the America's Cup. Following the race, the yacht America was sold to English owners and later sold to the Confederate States of America in 1860 and used as a blockade runner. In 1862, the vessel fell into the hands of the Union and was rebuilt to serve with blockading squadrons. After the Civil war, America served as training vessel for the U. S. Naval Academy until sold in 1873 to Benjamin Butler, who returned the vessel's use to yachting. The Butler family continued their ownership until 1901. Following a period of declining repair, the yacht was donated back to the Naval Academy and finally scrapped in 1945. Related vessel: America.