Document No 373: Yacht Race depicting the schooner yacht Dauntless leading the schooner yacht Mohawk

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AUTEUR : J. E. Buttersworth

REF : 0

EDITION : 1871




10" x 18" (25.40cm x 45.72cm)
Signed Lower Right

The painting illustrated in this lot depicts the contest between Mohawk, owned by rear Commodore Garner of the New York Yacht Club, and the yacht Dauntless owned by James Gordon Bennett. This race, was a challenge match, and in an effort to settle a dispute over the seaworthiness of newer designed shoal draft center boarders and more traditional deep keel yachts. At the open challenge of Commodore Garner, James Gordon Bennett took up the challenge and a date was set for October 26th 1875. Well publicized, and the subject of a series of articles in the New York Times, this match was to put to rest the debate over the design of these shoal draft yachts.

In the days leading up to the race, the promise of a dramatic contest was nil, the winds were light and Indian summer was in full force. However, the day of the race brought strong winds and a heavy seaway blowing out of the South-east described as "...wind enough to wreck an Armada." At the start of the race both yachts raised their foretopsails and set out on port tack, Dauntless with a slight lead to windward. Dauntless continued to extend her lead during the beat out on port tack but after tacking onto starboard Mohawk gained steadily until she was on Dauntless' quarter. After another series of tacks, Mohawk gained the lead and rounded the weather mark ahead by three and a half minutes. In an ever darkening sky, Dauntless now closed the gap despite losing her fore gaff and fore-topsail. The duel carried on downwind, the wind which was shifting and coming around to the head the yachts into an upwind finish where Dauntless overtook Mohawk and went on to win the challenge.

The Mohawk and her owner Commodore Garner met a tragic end less than a year later when, on July 20th 1876, when a sudden squall capsized her at her mooring, killing the Commodore and his wife, along with some guests and crew.


Public domain
Bonhams 640 345
AskART 750 404