Comstock, Andrew Jackson (18XX-1888) USA


ComstockAJVAndrew Jackson Comstock was one of several Comstock brothers from New London who were accomplished racing yacht masters.

Comstock was skipper of the racing schooner Columbia, which defended during the 1871 America’s Cup challenge and also skipper of the Magic, the successful defender of the 1870 Cup.

Columbia won the first two races against the challenger, the Livonia. Columbia, damaged during the second race, was beaten by the Livonia in the third race. However that race was won by another American yacht, the Sappho. Thus, together, the Columbia and Sappho successfully defended the Cup.Photograph of Andrew Jackson Comstock at the wheel of the racing schooner, Columbia, circa 1880.

A newspaper article of the time noted: "The crew (of the Columbia), numbering thirteen, is under the command of Captain Andrew Comstock, one of the most experienced and best sailing masters in the country.... (T)hey evidently understand their business thoroughly. In fact, if they didn't, they would not be long on a craft with Captain Comstock in command."

Comstock continued as skipper of the Columbia after the yacht was sold to Lester Wallack, a New York actor and theatre impresario. (Wallack appears at left in the photograph, and Wallack's son at right. The figure aft is unidentified.)

Wallack subsequently sold the Columbia and purchased the steam yacht Skylark, and Comstock was retained as skipper. Comstock remained with Wallack and Skylark until Wallack gave up yachting shortly before his death in 1888.

This unique photograph was found in the scrapbook of Mrs. Mary Chapman Comstock, wife of Andrew Jackson Comstock. The scrapbook was among the items left to the New London Custom House Maritime Museum by Mrs. Margaret Thoms, great granddaughter of Andrew Jackson Comstock.