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HE growing interest, which is at present Royal London in 1849, there were 17
countries, will warrant an appeal to Cana- of the United Kingdom—ten of which. dians on behalf of a great national amuse- were English, four Irish, two Scotch and ment-one which has no equal in the popu- one Welsh. During the years 1848-9 a lar enthusiasm which it creates, the health- great deal of enterprise was shown in invigorating exercise which it furnishes, and the construction of a large number of firstthe noble sport to which it gives birth. class yachts, which were unsurpassed for
The history of Yachting yet remains to be completeness of outfit and perfection of written and, as a consequence, one is com- workmanship. Up to this time Yacht Clubs pelled partially to grope in the dark in the were confined to the United Kingdom, but search for early and reliable data concerning the success of yachtsmen in the Old World the origin and subsequent development of stimulated kindred spirits in the New to give Yachting and Yacht Clubs. The Royal | their attention to a now national amusement. Cork Yacht Club, founded in 1720, heads and in June, 1848, the “New York l'acht the list of regularly organized Yacht Clubs; Club" was organized. Little was known in and from that date to the founding of the England about American yachting beyond the performances of the New York pilot boats, splendid victory of the America in 1857, which had long been famous for their speed in the Royal Yacht Squadron Regatta for and sea-going qualities. Previous to the the Queen's Cup. year 1851, judging from the records of that To George Steers, of New York, belongs the date, English yacht-builders and yachtsmen the credit of inventing-for invention it really were firm in the belief that they possessed was-a new system of yacht-modelling. He the fleetest yachts and the best skilled zealously contended that breadth of beam fursailors in the world. Repeated triumphs nished the best buoyancy, and that hollow evidently confirmed their right to be thus water lines forward, with the greatest breadth considered, and to furnish grounds for of beam abaft the mainmast, should superthe unqualified statement made in the sede the old system. Steers believed that " Yacht List” for 1851, that "yacht-building sails could force a yacht over the water more was an art in which England was unrivalled, easily and swiftly than through it—and so his and that she was distinguished pre-eminently system was distinguished by great breadth of and alone for the perfection of science in beam and comparatively light draught. The handling them.” These were strong words, theory advocated by this great yachtsman at and yet they doubtless conveyed the honest first found little favour among American judgment, not only of the writer, but of yachtsmen, and so he built the America foreign yachtsmen generally. The success to prove that his views were correct. The of yachting in the United Kingdom led to performances of this yacht were so satisfacthe building of a yacht in the United States, tory that Commodore Stevens, of the New to test the powers of the long conceded Eng- York Yacht Club, took her to England, and lish champions. It was decided to construct at once issued a challenge to all foreign a yacht, cross the ocean with her, and chal- yachts to sail a race for “$10,000, a cup or lenge a trial of speed in a contest open to a piece of plate.” The presence of this all nations. The originality of the proposal American yacht in English waters created a was only equalled by the originality of the degree of enthusiasm before unparallelled. model and general outfit of the yacht, which The “cheek" of her builders and backers, was at once built.
in boldly throwing down the gauntlet to all In view of the fact that skilfulyacht-builders comers, was a subject of general commentin England, for nearly half a century, had been and of many a jest and sneer as well. constantly striving to produce fast yachts, But despite funny criticisms and the great and with abundant experience to guide them, number of foreign yachts against which she the successful defeat of their favourite system would have to contend, the America's chalsurely marks an important era in the history of lenge was made in good faith, and sustained Yachting. “No Englishman,” says a writer in by yachtsmen who were seriously in earnest. Times in 1851, “ever dreamed that any na- The Annual Regatta, at Cowes, came off tion could produce a yacht with the least shortly after the arrival of the America ; pretentions to match the efforts of White, but the latter yacht was ruled out for valid Camper, Ratsey and other eminent builders." reasons, and for some days it was feared that The English system of yacht building was no test race would be made. The appearthat of deep draught, narrow breadth of ance of the “Yankee Craft” was somehow beam, straight water lines forward, and with not altogether pleasing, and while English the greatest breadth of beam abreast the fore- yachtsmen were confident they could beat mast. The weakness of this old system was her, they still showed a remarkable relucdemonstrated to the entire satisfaction of the tance about making the attempt. However, most obstinate and incredulous, by the after the first flurry of excitement had subsided, a race round the Isle of Wight was 28th, when the Titania was as signally dearranged, for a cup presented by Her Ma- feated as the rest. The America beat her opjesty to come off on the 22nd of August. ponent 52 minutes out of six hours and a half This event opened up a new era in yachting, -leaving her eight miles astern. This vicfor it may justly be claimed that the result tory settled the question of the superiority of this contest lent a lustre to, and gained a of the America over all foreign yachts, and prominence for, yachting before unequalled. she returned to the United States, taking The year 1851 is celebrated in sporting an- with her the coveted Queen's Cup. She made nals for the first International Regatta—and a record there which will stand as a monufor the largest number of starters ever known | ment to the genius of her builder as long as for the Derby.
yachts are built to plough the ocean's bosom. The 22nd of August dawned with a clear It is both instructive and amusing to read sky and favouring breeze. Thousands of the criticisms on this first International Re. spectators lined the shore, watching with gatta in the current news of that day. The enthusiastic interest the preparations for the easy victory of the America utterly bewild“start.” Abreast of Cowes the sight pre- ered foreign yachtsmen. Their boasted pressented was one of surpassing beauty. More tige, as victorious yacht-builders and yachtthan a hundred yachts were in sight, sailing owners, had been lost in the first great con“ off and on,” their white canvass looking test, and the best and poorest of excuses like huge wings sweeping over the surface of were equally unsatisfactory. the sea---restless and yet graceful—their A few beaten rivals consoled themselves owners apparently anxious for the race to with the sneering remark that the America commence. Fifteen yachts started—the fin- was only a “racing machine !" est and fleetest in the United Kingdom- excuse found little sanction among the best among which were the Volante, Constance, of England's yachtsmen. Capt. Watson, of Alarm, Beatrice and Gipsy Queen. The the Royal Navy, in the Times, thus comAmerica was the last to get under way, but mented on this class of criticisms :- "Awriter she gradually gained upon her antagonists, in your journal lately wished to make it apand was the first to pass the winning buoy pear that such a vessel as the America, a -beating the fleet nearly eight miles. mere racing craft,' must be useless for all
On her return there were innumerable practical purposes; and he, facetiously, reyachts off Cowes, and on every side was marks that you might as well compare a heard the hail, “Is the America first ?"— The Derby three-year-old to a comfortable hackanswer,
“ Yes." “What's second ?”—The ney as the America to an English yachtreply, “Nothing.” The Queen was an But, Sir, we must allow that a little breedinterested spectator during the race, and ing is no bad thing-either in a pack-horse after it was ended she went on board of the or a weight-carrying hunter. So, also, may America, and expressed herself delighted our clumsy hulls be modified by modern inwith the appearance of the yacht. The Eng- genuity and improvements, when our shiplish yachtsmen gracefully acknowledged their owners and ship-builders become less prone defeat, and gave their fortunate rivals a grand to adhere to their old forms and fashions.” banquet in honour of the victory. Mr. R. The facts are, however, that this
victory of Stephenson, a leading English yachtsman, the America completely changed the system was not fully satisfied with the test of the 22nd of yacht-modelling ; and although the change of August and therefore backed his iron yacht grew by slow degrees, yet it was nevertheless Titania, of 100 tons, to sail against the Ame- true that the greatest breadth of beam was rica for £100. The contest came off on the gradually extended aft, until it very nearl
approximated to the model of the America yachting the first place in the estimation of in this respect. Yacht builders before the the people as a great national amusement. America's day believed that it was necessary The ocean race between the Cambria and to make a yacht full forward, i. e. to have the Dauntless, during the summer of 1870, is greatest breadth of beam abreast the forestill fresh in the minds of yachtsmen—and, mast, so as to make her buoyant in a head indeed, all classes were intensely interested sea. The sharp bow and hollow water lines at the time in the result. Day after day of the America were in striking contrast with passed while "asking eyes” eagerly scanned the full bows and straight water lines of her the horizon off the Narrows in anxious competitors; and not a few sage "old salts" search for the on-coming yachts. At last predicted that the America would be swept the Cambria hove in sight, and passed "fore-and-aft" in a sharp head sea. The the light ship ahead, the winner of the race result of the trial of the two systems is thus —while the Dauntless followed in less than described by a Times' reporter :—“While two hours afterwards. the cutters were thrashing through the water, The challenge race of the Cambria over the sending the spray over their bows, and the N. Y. Y. Club course, for the Queen's Cup, schooners were wet up to the foot of the was witnessed by more spectators than any foremast, the America was as dry as a regatta ever held before or since, for it was
We have commented rather fully conceded that more than a million of people on this Regatta, for it was from this contest watched the progress of the race. Indeed, that modern yachting received its greatest the sight presented was one never to be forimpulse; and, moreover, the model of the gotten by any beholder of the magnificent America has been proved to be one of the spectacle. The harbour was literally covered best ever produced, as we shall have occasion with sailing craft of every size and descripto show hereafter. The second memorable tion: steamers crowded to their utmost capaevent in the history of Yachting, beyond the city ; ferry boats fairly alive with passengers ; yearly regattas of established Yacht Clubs, grim "men-of-war" and deeply laden jollywas the Great Ocean Yacht Race between boats-all packed with interested spectators. the Henrietta, Fleetwing and Vesta, of the The fleet of yachts moored, ready for the N. Y. Yacht Club. These yachts left Sandy start, was beyond question the finest and most Hook Light Ship on the 11th Dec. 1866, complete afloat. Many of them had already and the Henrietta arrived off the Needles, become famous in yachting annals. ConIsle of Wight, England, at 5.45 p.m., 26th spicuous among them was the old America Dec. 1866, winning the race and making the--she that so gallantly won the Cup a score run in 13 days, 22 hours mean time. The of years before, appearing fresh in her new Fleetwing arrived 8 hours afterwards, and the sails and new coat of paint, while her raking Vesta 172 hours after the Fleetwing. The spars and saucy look betokened that she had remarkable sailing time made by these not lost the vigour of her youth. The Dauntsplendid yachts, and the slight difference in less, too, was in line-snug and trim in her the time of their arrival, was the subject of outfit-ready to “try again" the fleet Cammuch comment; and it was pretty generally bria, and to prove, if possible, that “luck”
i conceded in England that yachting in the had been against her in the ocean race. United States had attained a high standard The Fleetwing, Magic, Henrietta and many of excellence.
The pluck, enterprise and others were moored “in line, but the Camenthusiasm shown in contests like those bria bore off the palm in general interest. already mentioned, excited the popular in- Her plucky commander had crossed the terest to the highest pitch—and won for ocean avowedly to redeem the Cup, and
many hoped that his true British daring York, that had the Livonia been fitted out as would be rewarded with success.
well as were her antagonists in the late conAt last the signal is given, and away speed tests for the “ Queen's Cup," her record the 18 yachts, amid the cheers of the multi- would have been far more brilliant. tude! Another scene, and this ends the Equally as much depends on the proper grand aquatic drama. It is the return. The rig and trim as on the model of a yacht. Magic is first, the Dauntless second, the Pal. The great point to be attained is to secure mer third and the America fourth, while the a maximum of speed with a minimum of Cambria was badly distanced.
1 weight. Each unnecessary pound of rigging There is something deeply interesting in is as detrimental to a fast yacht, as is extra the performances of the yacht America. “dead weight” to a race-horse. It is true
'” With all the combined skill of builders of that great skill and experience are indispencrack yachts, both in England and America, sably necessary to enable one to determine, but little real progress has been made in the with reasonable certainty, what the proper past 20 years, for it is believed by competent outfit of a yacht should be. If too light, a judges, that had the America been properly break-down is the penalty ; if too heavy, a manned and fitted out, she would have won defeat is the consequence. Foreign yachts
This fact is worthy the study of men claim that the Americans fit out their yachtsmen.
yachts too lightly, and point to the freDuring the past year the excitement in quent “carrying away" of some part of the yachting circles in New York was at fever rigging or spars as proof of the assertion. heat, over the challenge races with Commo- The answer to this should be that it is better dore Ashbury's new yacht Livonia. Believ- occasionally to “break down” than to be ing that the Cambria could not win the invariably beaten. The rigging of the Liro Queen's Cup, the persevering Mr. Ashbury nia (and of the Cambria as well) was strong built a new one for this purpose. The result is enough for a “fore-and-after,” and the extra familiar to all. She came, she worthily con- weight above deck acted as a constant purtested, but she was beaten. Sincerely as we chase to press her into the water, and to cant regret the Livonia's failure, we yet believe her over to leeward when under sail. This that yachting has had no more zealous weight was a comparatively trifling burden, promoter than Commodore Ashbury. He it may justly be claimed—but it should also failed, it is true, in his cherished hopes, be remembered that she crossed the winning but his courageous endeavours to possess the line only a trifle behind the winner.
When Cup have imparted new life into yachting Michael Angelo was accused of spending circles the world over. As the record stands too much time over a statue which he was now the American yachtsmen are masters of rounding into marvellous perfection, and of the situation. Why are they almost in- paying needless attention to “mere trifles," variably victorious in contests with English he thoughtfully replied—“ It is true that yachts? The answer is, because English these touches are but trifles, but trifles make yachtsmen fail in the fitting out of yachts. perfection, and perfection is no trifle.” What They over-load them with heavy spars and Angelo's trifles were to the statue, the trifles rigging, and thus deaden them with super- in rigging and fitting are to the victorious Auous weight. The lines of the Livonia were yacht. In fact, yacht-building is an art, beautiful, her kull was admirably constructed, and one of the most abstruse of the arts. but her spars rigging and sails were alto- It is neither guess-work nor chance, but intelgether too heavy. It was quite generally ligent appreciation and application of the conceded, in well informed circles in New I laws of cause and effect.