signed 'RICHARD M FIRTH' (lower right) and further
signed and inscribed 'Yankee, Britannia and Endeavour/Racing on the Solent
off/The Royal Yacht Squadron 1935/R Firth' (on the stretcher)NOTES AMERICA-SCOOP :
30 x 50 in. (76.3 x 127 cm.)
Yankee was built for
Gerard B. Lambert of Boston by G. Lawley at Neponset, Massachusetts, in 1930.
Designed by Paine, Belknap & Skene, she was classed as a sloop but was
extensively refitted to comply with the prevailing J-class rules when her owner
accepted an invitation to race her at Cowes in the 1935 season. As it was King
George V's Silver Jubilee that year, Cowes attracted an even greater throng
than usual of notable yachts and there were many memorable races.
Britannia, arguably the most famous racing cutter of them all, was extremely
successful throughout her long life and even though she was re-rigged seven
times in all, her hull shape was so efficient that she remained competitive
almost to the end. Starting with 33 wins in 39 races during her maiden season,
she enjoyed two brilliant but quite separate careers under first, the Prince of
Wales (1893-97), and then his son, King George V, after 1921. The latter grew so
attached to her that, under the terms of his will, she was scuttled after his
death in 1936 following the removal of all her salvageable gear.
Endeavour was designed by Charles Nicholson and built by Camper & Nicholson at
Gosport in 1934. Ordered by Mr. T.O.M. "Tommy" Sopwith to mount a challenge for
the America's Cup, she displaced 143 tons and measured 129½ feet in length with
a 22 foot beam. Despite her slightly larger spread of canvas, she failed to
wrest the 'Auld Mug' from the American defender Rainbow even though Endeavour
was acknowledged to be the faster boat. Fortunately she is one of the handful of
great yachts from that golden pre-war era which has survived and, fully
restored, she is now in American ownership.
A keen yachtsman,
Richard Firth competed in the second leg (from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town) of
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 2011 onboard the 68 foot yacht Gold