AMERICA: The 1851 launch of the "low black schooner"
DEAR TOM, I thought you might like to see this print of an engraving from Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion from May 31, 1851. Feel free to post this. It is an interesting read. –Chris Otorowski, Seattle
[Chris "Otto" Otorowski is a longtime friend and former Seattle YC Commodore, NYYC member and CCA officer who races and cruises the world over with his vivacious wife Shawn, also a leader in North American yacht racing. Thanks, Commodore, for the submission. The text accompanying the print is difficult to read, so we have reproduced it below. And, if it is true, this is the first time I've heard that the yacht, if successful, was to be paid for by the English club, although she was later bought by a Royal Yacht Squadron member; but if unsuccessful she was to be forfeited to the Brits? Anyone else heard that? It is well chronicled that the Americans were hoping to get a wager or two with the Brits on the outcome of the race, but giving away the yacht if they lost? Paging Bob Fisher and John Rousmaniere. -TFE]
Our artist has given as a scene here representing the launch of the yacht America, designed to compete with the English yachts on a sailing match off the England coast. She is owned by a party of gentlemen, whose names are not known to us, and was built by William H. Brown. The America will go to England and race with the yacht club there. If she beats them she is to be paid for by the club; if she is beaten, she is then to be given up to them as a forfeit. The yacht's length is 96 feet; breadth 23 feet 6 inches; depth 3 feet 9 inches. Her frame is composed of hackmatac, chestnut, locust, oak and cedar, secured by diagonal iron braces, 3 feet apart, 3 1/2 inches by 5/8 inches, bolted through each frame. Her cabin is 21 feet long and has two staterooms, one on each side, 8 feet long. Yachting has for a long time been a favorite diversion of noblemen and gentlemen on the continent of Europe, and some excellent specimens of nautical shill have been produced in foreign countries. We predict the day is not very remote, when species of maritime craft, constructed by Yankee energy and talent, shall fully rival those of any other nation in the world, and even, as in other exhibition of naval architecture, surpass them.