The rating rule developed by the great American yacht designer Nat Herreshoff in the early 1890s. The New York Yacht Club eventually adopted it in December 1902 instead of the Seawanhaka Rule and it was called the Universal Rule from 1904. It was used by many American yacht clubs and many changes were made to it, but it never varied much from the original formula. Unlike the rule which governed International Metre Class yachts, the waterline length of a yacht built to the Universal Rule could be increased with hardly any penalty for sail area provided the displacement was also increased. The rule's most famous products were the J-class racing yachts built in the 1930s. It governed all America's Cup matches between 1920 and 1937.
Subjects: Maritime History.