Document No 660: Yacht Independence

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AUTEUR : Detroit Publish. Co.

REF : 42585

EDITION : 1851

DATE : 1901



Detroit Publishing Co. no. 042585.


Work on the Constitution was no sooner under way at the Herreshoff shop than word came that Boston would also be in the field to dispute the new boat's right to the honor of defending. It had been eight years since Boston had been represented by a Cup yacht and this word came with something of a shock to the complaisance of the two New York Yacht Club syndicates and was received with poor grace.

The owner of the Boston boat was Thomas W. Lawson, a rich stock broker and speculator, possessed of ample means to build the boat alone and do her justice. He was not a practical yachtsman, however, and, besides, he was not a member of the New York Yacht Club.

Independence was a big, flat, " brute " of a boat,' some 140 feet long on deck, built like an enlarged " scow " with very flat body, long ends, a deep fin-like keel, and a balanced rudder. However, after it was found that this "tin pan" of a rudder would not hold her off in a breeze and that she would "take charge" herself when off the wind, it was discarded and a regular type of rudder, set into a socket at the bottom of the keel, was substituted. Even with this it was hard to hold her, and old "Hank" Haff, who was in command of her, had his hands more than full in keeping her on her course and clear of the other boats.

Independence had a whopping big sail spread and was virtually a racing "scow," enlarged to unwieldy proportions. Under favorable conditions and on certain points of sailing she was undoubtedly very fast, but, on the whole, she was a failure, as the sequel will show. She was designed by B. B. Crowninshield, a well-known Boston naval architect, and was built by Lawley. She was a good deal in the nature of an experiment, the extremely flat boat not having at that time been tried in such a large size.

Public domain
Library of Congress 1024 818