Category: GENESTA

'Genesta' trailing 'Puritan' 1885 - Leonard J. PearceEnglish challenger defeated by the American defender Puritan.

was launched in Glasgow and registered in the RYS lists the same year, under Sir Richard Sutton's banner. It was a John Beavor-Webb's design, composite building, John's specialty since Freda (1880).

Her frame was of steel, and she was planked with oak, being the first yacht of composite build to sail for the cup. She was built by D. & H. Henderson & Company, Glasgow.

Genesta sailed an interesting 1884 British yachting season. Out of thirty-four races sailed she won only seven, in one of which she had no competitor, and was beaten seven times by the cutter Marjorie, six times by the cutter Irex, six times by the yawl Larna, four times by the cutter Tara, three times by the yawl Wendur, and once by the cutter Marguerite. She took second place eight times, third place twice, and was distanced seventeen times. Two of her races were won in light or variable breezes, and the rest in steady, fresh, or strong breezes. There is no record of her being beaten in a strong breeze, but in such a breeze on one occasion it took her 5:21:14 to sail 45 miles. Her quickest race was sailed on July 16, 1864, over a 50-knot course of Bangor in 4:04:18. The Wendur and Irex, however, both went over the course in less time.


Date Course Wind Winner Genesta Time
May 31, 1834 Course 50 miles. Southend to Harwich east by north, light Genesta 1st 8:08:30
June 2 40 miles off Harwich south-east to east, good Tara 3rd 4:15:02
June 3 50 miles. Harwich to Southend east, fresh Genesta 1st 4:49:38
June 4 55 miles, Thames to Mouse north-east, light Marjorie 2nd 9:26:12
June 5 50 miles L. Hone Reach Light to Gravesand north variable Marjorie 2nd 8:16:32
June 7 54 miles, Horse to Dover east, fresh Genesta 1st 7:54:10
June 9 50 miles, Dover out and back northeast to east, light Larna 2nd 5:31:11
June 10 50 miles, Dover to Boulogne and back northeast to east, light Larna 2nd 5:52:44
July 4 50 miles. Hunter’s Quay light and variable Wendur not placed 10:01:49
July 5 50 miles. Hunter’s Quay wind light and variable Marjorie not placed 7:58:27
July 6 50 miles. Hunter’s Quay wind light and variable ??? not placed 6:47:07
July 7 Milford, around Alisa Craig variable Genesta 1st 14:46:52
July 8 50 miles south-southwest Wendur not placed 7:59:42
July 11 50 miles. Rothsay moderate Wendur 2nd 6:48:45
July 12 50 miles. Rothsay south moderate Irex 2nd 5:47 :09
July 16 50 miles off Bangor southwest, strong Genesta 1st 4:04:13
July 17 33 miles off Bangor unsteady Irex not placed 5:34:55
July 21 50 miles. Dublin Bay variable Irex not placed 8:19:15
July 23 45 miles. Dublin Bay moderate Irex not placed 7:28:53
July 31 38 miles off Plymonth southwest good Lorna 2nd 5:43:31
Aug. 1 38 miles off Plymonth east, steady Irex 3rd 4:16:31
Aug. 4 44 miles off Southampton west-northwest light Marguerite 2nd 6:13:10
Aug. 5 50 miles. Cowes Nab and Yarmonth east-southeast, light Marjorie not placed 7:59:48
Aug. 6 50 miles Cowes around Nab southeast, light Larna not placed 10:35:30
Aug. 7 50 miles Cowes, around Warner and Marks light and variable Marjorie not placed 13:48:32
Aug. 9 46 miles off Southampton northeast Tara not placed Time
Aug. 10 45 miles off Cowes moderate Marjorie not placed 7:06:58
Aug. 12 45 miles off Southsea south-west, strong Genesta 1st 5:21:14
Aug. 14 50 miles off Hyde steady Genesta sailed over the course without competition
Aug. 16 40 miles off Portsmouth not indicated Tara not placed not given
Aug. 18 60 miles off Portsmouth southwest, good Irex not placed 5:36:01
Aug. 23 40 miles off Weymouth north-west. moderate Larna not placed 7:32:12
Aug. 26 50 miles off Torbay south to northwest fresh at intervals Tara not placed 6:06:02
Aug. 29 40 miles. Stool Bay northwest light Larna not placed 4:53:10

GenestaGenesta reached New York and dropped anchor off Tompkinsville, Staten Island,on July 16th, 1885, after making the fastest passage on record for a sailing yacht across the Atlantic. It had taken her just 22 days to make the run from Queenstown. Most of the time the weather was fair, the wind was favorable, and the little vessel bounded as merrily over the waves as though she were racing competitors in the English Channel. She ran 1.100 miles at one stretch in five days.

To everyone's surprise, the British started the secrecy that has since persisted throughout Cup history. As soon as the challenger reached the dry dock on September 2nd, 1885, for a final polishing of the hull, Beavor-Webb refused to let anyone see his yacht.

The Genesta's crew for the coming races consists of Capt. John Carter, formerly skipper of the English cutter Molna; Pilot Joe Nelson, Mate William Fosgate, and 16 men before the mast.


British Cutter Genesta in Dry DockAmerica's Cup races

Sailed on September 14 to 16, 1885 in New York
Best two out of three races.

Genesta the challengervs. Puritan the defender

Alternating Inside & Outside Course as in 1871, with the first leg to leeward and return leg to windward. Races: two sailed. Genesta was beaten by Puritan two wins to nil.

- September 14, 1st race, 32.6 miles, Inside Course: Puritan beat Genesta by 16 minutes 19 sec in corrected time.

- September 16, 2nd race, 32 miles, Outside Course: Puritan beat Genesta by 1 minute 38 sec in corrected time.


GenestaAfter the Cup races, Sir Richard Sutton sailed some regattas organised on the East coast, aboard Genesta. He won the Brenton Reef Cup and the Cape May Challenge Cup, and brought them back to England with him.

won the first Round Britain Race that was held in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee. It covered the 1590-mile course in 12 days, 16 hours, 59 minutes, and appears to have led all the way.

Registered in the Royal Yacht Squadron lists under Sir Richard Sutton, it was sold and converted as a yawl.

did not sail as a yacht. It was broken up in 1900…

Famous old English cup defender at South Boston Yard

Famous old English cup defender at South Boston Yard Famous old English cup defender at South Boston Yard



Famous old English cup defender at South Boston Yard
Of all the English yachts which have come over to compete for the America's Cup, there is probably none that has made such a good record for herself as the fine old English cutter Genesta; certainly, she came nearer winning the cup than any yacht that preceded her or came after. The American yachting enthusiast who was so fortunate as to be present at that famous race in 1885 of twenty miles to leeward and return, will not soon forget the anxiety with which he saw Sir Richard Sutton's yacht slipping down the wind to the outer mark with an ever-widening distance between her and the centerboard Puritan, nor the delight with which, when the boats hauled on the wind he saw the centerboard slowly, but steadily, out-weathering the cutter, and finally romping home the winner by the close but undeniable margin of 1 minute 38 seconds. In the light weather trial the shallow centerboard with her relatively large sail area proved to be a far faster boat than the Genesta.

Although she failed to take home the cup, Genesta was successful in winning both the Brenton Reef and Cape May cups.

The Genesta was a typical English deep-keel, outside-lead cutter of the so-called plank-on-edge type; though she was not so extreme in her relation of beam to draught as some cutters of her time, she was sent over here at a time when the keel versus centerboard controversy was at its height. In none of the races that have followed those of 1885 have the competing yachts of the two nations shown w strongly the distinguishing national characteristics as did Puritan and Genesta, the one being distinguished by narrow beam, deep draught, outside ballast, large displacement and relatively small sail plan; the other by great beam, shallow draught, and both inside and outside ballast, the outside ballast being the first step toward the cutter type, just as the English Thistle in adopting a beam of 20 feet showed the first tendency toward the characteristic beam of the American sloop.

The Genesta was a composite built boat (elm planking on steel frames), and measured 96 feet on deck, 81 feet on the waterline, 15 feet beam, and 13 feet 6 inches draught. She had a displacement of 141 tons and a sail area of 7, 141 square feet. The Puritan was 93 feet on deck, 81 feet 1½ inches on the waterline, 22 feet 7 inches beam, 8 feet 10 inches draught, with a displacement of only 105½ tons and a sail area of 7,370 square feet.

The accompanying illustration, for which we are indebted to The Yachtsman, shows the famous old cutter upon the beach in process of being broken up for old iron and junk, an inglorious end that overtakes all craft except a few favored warships like our own 'Hartford' or Nelson's old ship, the 'Victory.'