Document No 335: Vigilant and Britannia racing off Hunter's Quay on the Clyde

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AUTEUR : Richard M. Firth

REF : 0

EDITION : 1893

DATE : 05 Jul 1894



Oil/Canvas Signed Lower Right


Beaten by the Britannia, by Thirty-five Seconds Only.

GLASGOW, July 5. -- After the sinking of the Valkyrie, the Vigilant and Britannia started in the race alone.

From the starting point at Hunter's Quay the Britannia led and held her lead until Mount Stuart was reached. Here the Vigilant hoisted an extra balloon sail, which, together with her enormous foresail, enabled her gradually to creep ahead. The time of the boats at Innellan was Vigilant, 12:35:35; Britannia, 12:36:50.

The wind freshened to a good stiff breeze and the lee rail of the Vigilant was continually submerged. Both boats lay to fetch the Skilmorlie mark, which they took on board, but it was a close haul to fetch Mount Stuart. Clearing Gourock Bay the balloons were got in and the yachts ran right for Kilcreggan mark, and thence for the Commodore's boat. Both had changed their jib headers for jack yarders. For the run before the wind the Vigilant set her enormous balloons a-starboard, besides her great foresail, reaching from stern to bow. The Britannia contented herself with a plain Balloon. Both boats came homeward at a tremendous rate of speed. The Vigilant's sails drew beautifully.

It was a close reach home, and with the wind fresh and the water rushing over the bows it was a pretty sight. The Vigilant was bothered at the flag boat "by one of the small raters, and the Britannia lessened the gap between the two.

Starting on the second round, the Vigilant took a short board inshore, jibed quickly, and lay out to midchannel, the Britannia following. Both headed, closely hauled, for the Clock Light. A couple of boards brought to Skilmorlie mark, which the Vigilant rounded at 2:28:15 and the Britannia at 2:31:54. It was now a fetch for Mount Stuart, coming into view of which the balloons of both vessels were drawing.

The Vigilant led the Britannia on the homeward journey by 3 minutes and 45 seconds, but the Vigilant kept inshore, where the wind lulled. The Britannia, on the other hand, held out in midchannel, and, getting the first of the new wind, slipped past the Vigilant at the second turning point from the last.

When the Vigilant and Britannia were nearing the finish line, the vast crowds on shore set up a mighty shout and the whistles of fifty steam yachts emitted a chorus of shrieks. Thefinish was a thrilling spectacle. The haze which had hitherto obscured the course lifted, and during the last half hour of the race there was brilliant sunshine. The Britannia sailed closer to the wind than did the Vigilant. The race had to be seen from the shore, as no steamers were permitted to follow the contesting yachts. There were in consequence more yachts in port than have been seen on any previous occasion.

The time when the yachts passed the last flag boat before the finish was: Britannia, 4:07:30; Vigilant, 4:08:03.

It was now a reach to the finish. Although the wind was softening, the pace was great, and the yachts plowed up great lashes of foam. The Vigilant tried for the Britannia's weather, but was unsuccessful.

The time when they rounded the final mark was: Britannia, 4:28:10; Vigilant, 4:28:45.
The Britannia was officially declared the winner by 35 seconds.

Immediately after the finish the Vigilant went off directly for her moorings. Experts held that the victory of the Britannia, if not glorious, was won cleverly, but they agree that the Vigilant can beat the Britannia in pointing and reaching.

Yachtsmen still express the highest praise for the Vigilant, and declare that she certainly ought to win on Saturday.

The Vigilant's certificate of rating not having been produced, the boat was not rated, and will have to be measured.

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