Category: 1881 : CHALLENGE N°4



Copyright © The New York Times - Published: October 20, 1881 : The second of the series of three races between first class sloops of the New-York Yacht Club took place yesterday, having been postponed from Friday of last week in consequence of the accidents to the Gracie and Pocahontas in the race of last Thursday.

There was no perceptible change of appearance in the Gracie, but the Pocahontas’s sails showed the effect of considerable shearing and looked all the better for the change. 04308SThree feet had been taken off the top of her mast, the hoist of her mainsail had been shortened five feet, her boom four feet, and her gaff proportionately.

The starting signal was given about 10:45 o'clock. At that time there was a flawy and rather uncertain wind blowing from about north and a strong ebb tide running. The Mischief, which had been tacking to and fro in front of Tompkinsville, put her head down stream as soon as the signal was given and went over the line with a rush. The Gracie and Pocahontas had been detained later than usual at Gowanus Basin and arrived off Stapleton only a few minutes before the preparatory signal was given. The former had run down stream below the line to take on board her owners, Captains Flint and Earle, and the latter Commodore Waller, and both boats were now heading up stream to get into position, the Pocahontas some distance ahead. The latter crossed the line at 10:46:48, less than a minute behind the Mischief, but the Gracie was driven by the tide so close to a bark lying near that she had to make a short tack and did not get off until 10:53:16.

The Hildegarde did not start, having been withdrawn from the contest and laid up on Saturday. It was rumored yesterday that she had been sold. From Stapleton to buoy No. 10, on the south-west spit, the yachts sailed before a fair wind with club topsails set and balloon jibs spurred out as spinnakers. The wind had been very strong in the early morning, but by 11 o‘clock it had calmed down to a gentle breeze that blew in puffs and veered frequently from east to west of north and forced the yachts to jibe their mainsails more than once. The light wind and smooth water constituted what is termed in New-York Yacht Club parlance “ a Mischief day”, but the Gracie, although her strength lies in a strong wind, gained steadily on the Mischief, as also did the Pocahontas. 04303SThe Gracie passed the Pocahontas off buoy No. 12 at 12:11:30, and ran so close on the Mischief that the latter’s name could be read from her deck. But in a temporary lull the Mischief went ahead again, and rounded buoy No. 10 1 minute 50 seconds in advance, at 12:28:30.

The wind freshened somewhat after this point was turned, and the yachts made fast time to the light-ship. The Gracie gained rapidly on the Mischief, and at one time, when about two miles east of buoy No. 5½, was actually abreast of her. The latter, however, caught a fortunate puff at that moment and again got a good lead. She rounded the light-ship at 1:45, 2 minutes 50 seconds ahead of the Gracie.

On the run back the Gracie gained again, and was close on her antagonist’s heels when the point of the Hook was passed. Here both boats were becalmed and the Gracie drifted ahead. Then the Mischief caught a puff and went to the front. Five minutes of listless rocking ensued, followed by a gentle breeze, in which the Gracie again passed the Mischief to the windward in rounding buoy No. 8½. The Mischief crossed under the stern of the Gracie, and, bearing down on the latter’s weather a second time took the lead and rounded buoy No. 10, 20 seconds ahead. The Pocahontas had been practically out of the race by the time Sandy Hook was passed going out. She was 6 minutes behind the Gracie at the light-ship, and was now further than ever astern. On the home stretch the Mischief at one time increased her lead to more than a minute, but as the breeze freshened the Gracie overhauled her, and after a most exciting race finally passed her a little above Hospital Island.

06497 The Gracie crossed the line 1 minute 24 seconds ahead of the Mischief, and won the race by 3 minutes 49 seconds, giving the latter4 minutes and 56 seconds time allowance. Giving the Pocahontas 28 seconds time allowance the Gracie beat her 17 minutes and 17 seconds. It is claimed for the Pocahontas, however, that being an entirely new and untried boat, her sailing-master did not strain her to the utmost for fear of carrying away something, and also that, having been built especially with a view to sailing into the wind, the weather yesterday did not afford a fair test of her capabilities.

The official record of the race is as follows:

  Start. Finish. Actual
   H.  M.  S.  H.  M.  S.  H.  M.  S.  H.  M.  S. 
 Gracie  10  53  16  08  02  14  46  14  46 
 Mischief   10  45  55  09  26  23  31  18  35 
 Pocahontas   10  46  43  19  29  32  41  32  03 

To-day the same three yachts will sail the last race of the series over a course 20 miles to the windward of Sandy Hook light-ship. The start will he made from Sandy Hook at about 9 o’clock.

On Saturday the Gracie will race the Mischief for a five-hundred-dollar cup offered by Mr. E. A. Buck, of the Spirit of the Times. Mr. Buck offered two cups, to be sailed for during the last annual cruise of the New-York Yacht Club, one for schooners, the other for sloops. The schooner cup was won by the Halcyon, of the Eastern Club, but in the race for the sloop cup the Gracie, although she was the first boat in passed the judges‘ boat in a fog and was not seen nor timed. The Mischief, on the other hand, although at least half an hour behind, was seen and timed. The judges decided to return the cup to Mr. Buck, who wishes the two boats to sail for it again.