Category: 1881 : CHALLENGE N°4

Mischief, American Cutter Yacht by Robert F. PatersonThe first race

The first race was to have been sailed on November 8th, but light wind made a postponement necessary. Both Gracie and Mischief were on hand, a claim of the right to defend the cup being made for each. The committee made its choice of Mischief that day.

The race was sailed Nov. 9th, over the inside course of the New York Yacht Club. The weather was unsettled. There was a fog in the morning, and showers, but the wind hauled suddenly to the southwest, clearing the atmosphere, and giving a strong, though puffy, sailing breeze.
Owing to the lateness of the season but few yachts or steamers were at the line to witness the start. Interest in the races was overshadowed by the elections, and there was furthermore a general feeling that Atalanta would make a weak showing against Mischief.

The racers were at anchor near the starting-point overnight, and Mischief was early afield, with club and working topsails set over a whole mainsail, in spite of the puffy weather. Atalanta as a long time getting her anchor, as she carried no windlass, and after getting it she was knocked down by a heavy gust off the land until immersed to the house. She tucked in a reef after this, and Mischief followed suit. Before the preparatory gun, however.

Mischief and Atalanta in their first Race

Mischief's reef was shaken out, but her topsail was not again spread. She made for the line with the gun, under mainsail and jib, crossing at 11.14.50, on the starboard tack, with a strong move on. Atalanta followed at 11.15.51, under reefed mainsail and whole jib, but, like her rival, with bare topmast. She heeled so far in the pufls which swept viciously up the channel that the judges ordered the captain of their tug to keep near her, fearing she might be knocked flat and need help.

From the start Mischief "walked away" from her rival, which was too heavily sparred for such a breeze. Outside the Narrows the wind hauled to west-southwest, and once free of the land the sloops set their gaft-topsails. The crew of the Canadian boat were very slow in getting theirs aloft. At 12.10 Atalanta essayed jib-topsail and whole mainsail, like Mischief, but found it more than she could comfortaljly carry. The reach to the outer mark was in a smother of foam, the challenger dragging sadly in the heavy puff's.

Mischief rounded the light-vessel at 1.25.25, and Atalanta at 1.38.14, after missing stays in a first attempt at going around. The run home was without topsails. When Mischief passed the Hook, Atalanta was off by Scotland light-vessel.

Gracie went over the course with the racers, and was timed with them, though she started about ten minutes later. Atalanta was beaten by Mischief 28 m. 20 s., and by Gracie nearly 40 m. Gracie beat Mischief 6 m. 27 s.

The summary :

The second race

For The " America's " Cup 1881 - The start. by Frederick S. CozzensThe second and last race in the series was sailed the next day in a strong breeze from west by north. The course was sixteen miles to leeward of buoy 5, off" Sandy Hook, and back. The air was clear and bracing, and the breeze as strong as the boats wanted. A close start was made, both boats crossing with booms to port. Mischief at 11.28.17, and Atalanta thirty seconds later.

Mischief boomed out a balloon jib-topsail to starboard, and Atalanta followed suit. There was very little sea, and in the run down the wind Atalanta did better than the day before, holding Mischief very well until her spinnaker-boom napped, at 1.13, causing the sail to collapse, which led to a loss of power, and there- fore of time.

As Mischief neared the mark she setded her mainsail for a single reef, and set a small jib for the beat home. Atalanta sent down her topsail, and prepared to tuck in a reef also. Mischief jibed around the mark at 1.40.14, and Atalanta at 1.42.29. The beat home was a hard one for the challenger, who had to put in a second reef before the finish. It was dark before she struggled up to the line and finished, beaten by 38 m. 54 s. Gracie again went over the course with the racers, beating Atalanta 34 m. 16 s.

Mischief beat Gracie 4 m. 38 s. on time allowance, though beaten 8 s. on elapsed time.

The summary :