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Rhodes, Captain Urias (1852-1942) USA

Category: SKIPPERS & CREWS

04378VCaptain Urias Rhodes was born in Bay Shore, Long Island, on February 23, 1852. He was the son of Richard Rhodes, whose father, William Rhodes, lived in Rockaway before coming to Bay Shore. William was four times married and had 13 children. Richard was the only child of the union of William and Elizabeth Brower. Richard was born in Bay Shore on December 8, 1827, and died September 6, 1916. He married Selina L'Hommedieu on January 28, 1851.

HOW URIAS RHODES LEARNED TO SAIL A NINTY-FOOTER

Captain Richard Rhodes, the father of Urias Rhodes said:

When he was 10 years old I took him with me to the West Indies on the John Mosser, of which I was captain. We started at Albany, N. Y., with a good sailing load. Urias took his trick at the wheel with the rest of the crew. He could sail her better than many of us old ones. While on the way down the coast we would fall in with vessels going our way, I had to keep my eye on him, for several times he went a mile or two out of the way while at the wheel in order to pick a race with some coaster.
Shortly after this trip I built him a thirty-ton sloop, the first one he ever owned. He named her after me, the Richard Rhodes. In the summer season he took sailing parties out to the bay. When the oyster season opened he carried away a boatload of them to New York in all sorts of weather.
As many other boats would start about the same time, they would race clear up to New York. The way those oyster men would carry sail on their boats in all sorts of weather makes me wonder now that there were not more accidents. It was then Urias learned his best lessons in sailing. He know every shoal in Great South Bay, every rip and eddy of the tide, so necessary in sailing a race.
It was not often with a fair start that they would beat him to New York. The next summer, while sailing a pleasure party, the owner of the old racing yacht Atlantic happened to be on board. He so admired my son’s salting qualities that he hired him to sail his boat.
This was the starting point. After that he sailed the LASCA, a centerboard boat owned by John E. Brooks, New York Yacht club to many victories. When the Lasca wont to Europe in May, 1894, my son was in command, and so much confidence was reposed in his ability and judgment that Mr. Brooks and two friends sailed with the yacht. Captain Rhodes made the exceptional passage with the Lasca in fifteen and one-half days to Fastnet from Sandy Hook lightship. In seventeen and one-half days the yacht was at anchor in Gourock Bay, Scotland, without losing a rope yarn.
Since then my son has been in command of many well-known vessels. He is very careful in picking out his crew. Urias was born here on February 28, 1852. I am now in my seventy-third year, and am strong and healthy. The boy has inherited my love for racing. It seems to be bred in the bone, for my father was given to racing himself.

New York Herald — August 1901

Urias Rhodes is a product of the south shore of Long Island and has been a sailor from his earliest years.His father gave the present Captain his first lessons in sailing a racing boat. Since he was 12 years old Urias Rhodes has practically lived on the water.
RU LascaSHe first commanded an oyster schooner. That was when he was but 16 years old. Later he was the skipper of an excursion yacht, in which capacity his skill attracted the attention of a member of the New York Yacht club, who gave Captain Rhodes his first command of a racing boat. He piloted the famous LASCA to many victories and took it to Europe in 1894, making the trip across the Atlantic in fifteen and one-half days.

01078S2Captain Rhodes’ first experience in America's cup racing was service before the mast on the sloop ATLANTIC in 1886, when that vessel contended for the honor of defending the "mug." He was later mate of the VOLUNTEER and afterward sailed the SEA FOX and the MONTAUK, famous vessels of their day. He built up for himself a reputation as an alert, cool headed man and a thorough sailor.01468S

In 1898 Captain Rhodes was called on to command the DEFENDER, succeeding Captain Haff. Rhodes held her wheel during the races that were sailed to "try out" the Columbia. Defender was well handled through the season, but the superiority of the new boat was apparent from the start, and her selection was a foregone conclusion long before the formal trial races.

04378SAt the time of Captain Rhodes' selection to command the CONSTITUTION, an appointment that met with the hearty approval of yachtsmen, he was chief on William Iselin's Emerald. Captain Rhodes is about 48 years old, of splendid proportions and commanding appearance. He is silent and reserved, and is noted among yachting sailors for his lack of words and for the good results that usually follow his handling of a wheel.

The season begins with the race of July 1st between Columbia and Constitution and ends with the final trial race.
Columbia and Constitution had twenty-two meetings, including the official trials, and finished eighteen races, in which Columbia won nine03770S2 and Constitution nine. In the trials Columbia won the first race, but lost on disqualification in the second one. The boats would have had to meet again, as each had a race to her credit at the end of the trials. But the special committee decided the same day to select Columbia to defend the Cup without further trials !!!
Mr. Herreshoff was greatly chagrined over the rejection of Constitution. He was quoted in an interview at the beginning of the season as saying Constitution was the fastest yacht he ever designed, and would readily defeat Columbia.

01263SCaptain Rhodes was also skipper of the "Constitution" in trial races against the "Reliance" in 1903.

The long career in yachting of Captain Rhodes was mainly in large schooners, Atlantic, Volunteer, Sea Fox, Lasca, Montauk, Ariel, Miranda, and the yawls Sybarita and Ailsa in American waters.

After his retirement Captain Rhodes lived in Bay Shore until his death on April 17, 1942, following three years of illness.

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