Defender was a sloop with all-metal construction: steel, aluminum, and manganese bronze. It was owned by William Kissam Vanderbilt, Edwin Dennison Morgan and Charles Oliver Iselin, and skippered by Henry C. Haff.
Defender defeated the New York Yacht Club's Vigilant then went on to defend the cup against British keel cutter Valkyrie III. Following the contest, Defender was towed to the residence of C. Oliver Iselin in New Rochelle, New York where it remained docked for four years without sailing. In 1899 J. Pierpont Morgan and W. Buttler Duncan rebuilt Defender to race trials against the America's Cup defense candidate, Columbia.
The yacht was towed to Herreshoff's Bristol yard for restoration to enable it to race in the selection trials for the 1899 defence. Following the selection trials, Defender returns to its mooring and was finally broken up in 1901.