Sir Thomas Lipton had participated in the America's Cup Race in 1899 with the yacht Shamrock; however he failed in his attempt to win the cup, beaten by the defender Columbia. He returned to the UK and set about commissioning a new boat for the 1901 challenge, Shamrock II. The yacht was designed by Mr G.I. Watson , using Denny's experimental tank to design the boat with the aid of models of Shamrock I, Valkyrie III and Britannia. Once he was decided on his design he approached William Denny & Brothers to build the yacht, it was the first time the Denny shipbuilders had been asked to create such a vessel. The yacht was constructed under great secrecy in a covered yard at the Leven Shipyard, the locals until the day it was launched had no idea as to how the yacht would look.
The frame and hull of the yacht were of nickel steel frames and manganese bronze plating, she was painted white with a green stripe round her gun-wale. The launch day of the yacht from the Level shipyard in April 1901 was a day of celebration, dignitaries from around the West of Scotland, Ireland and beyond came to the yard to watch the launch. Friends of both the Denny's and Sir Lipton were present; the Marchioness of Dufferin performed the christening ceremony.
The boat left the Leven Shipyard and made its way to Southampton to be tested before heading to Ireland then America for the America's Cup. The yacht failed in its attempt to win the America's Cup and when Mr.G.I.Watson the designer was asked why the boat had failed blamed the amount of time he had spent in the experimental tank, as it could not reproduce the exact conditions the boat was under during the race.
Sir Thomas would go on to have another 3 attempts, 5 in total, at the America's Cup, he was unsuccessful in all his attempts to gain the cup.