Category: 1920 : CHALLENGE N°13


Challenger is outsailed from start

SUNDAY, JULY 18, 1920 - Resolute took the lead in yesterday's race immediately after the starting signal and was never ...

... headed from that time forward. Instead of receiving a handicap from shamrock, Resolute looked as though she could have given one. No cup-hunting skipper ever received a more decisive drubbing than William P. Burton got yesterday from Charles Francis Adams. From the time the preparatory signal was flown until the race was abandoned it was apparent the visitor had no chance.

The wind, forecast to blow from the southwest for yesterday's race, was from the northwest when Shamrock cast loose from her moorings in Sandy Hook Bay at 9:58 a. m. and was towed out around the bar by the tug Margaret J. Sandford. The skies were cloudless and the sea was smooth, except for a long, easy ground swell. The wind at this time was soft, and seemed to be made to order for Resolute. The sharp-nosed defender got under way at 10:25 with her headsails in stays.

By this time the wind had diminished to such an extent that there was hardly a ripple on the water. Resolute was taken in tow by the tug James Dougherty, and received many noisy-salutes on her way to the course.

Before the race Sandy Hook's keenest weather hounds said that the wind would flatten out about noon and come up again with rapidly increasing velocity in the afternoon. They proved to be a few points off in their prognostications, for when the wind did revive it was from the southeast, and held in that quarter, with slight variations, for the rest of the day.

There appeared to be a great deal of activity on the challenger while she was being towed to the line. Captain Burton, Claud Hickman, her navigating officer, and other members of her afterguard could be seen in consultation and the foremast hands seemed to be making changes in the rigging.

A half hour before starting time the little wind that there was came in fitful catspaws that made hardly any impression on the canvas of either boat. The sea was like glass. Vessels that depended on the wind to get them to the course yesterday were left decidedly in the lurch.

Challenger and defender cast off their tows at 11:30 o'clock and were greeted with a signal from the committee boat, indicating that a postponement of fifteen minutes had been decided upon. This was done in the hope that something resembling a breeze would come along to give the racers headway. At the hour originally set for the preparatory signal there was hardly a breath stirring and the smoke from surrounding steamers was mounting skyward in straight columns. Resolute's managers, who had been praying for light airs, were getting what they asked for with a vengeance. Before the preparatory signal the racers drifted off to the eastward in search of a breeze in order to give their crews a warming up. It was evident, even in the lazy maneuvering without wind that Resolute could come about in feathery zephyrs that made no impression whatever on Shamrock.

The defender carried a new club topsail, and it appeared to set far better than the one she wore in Thursday's race. The new wing is said to be the same one Vanitie used in the elimination trials at Newport. The repaired gaff pointed high and set snug with the club.

It was 12:45 before the first puffs of the reviving wind began to ripple the surface of the course. It came directly out of the southeast. For miles about Ambrose lightship at this time the sea was covered with drifting fields of luminous oil.

At 1:16 the signals A. R. D., A. S. B., A. Q. G. were hoisted in the committee boat, indicating a triangular course with the first mark ten miles out at sea and the second off Long Branch. The wind at this time was freshening rapidly.

The preparatory signal was given at 1:30, when both boats were east of the line. Shamrock broke out a number one jib topsail and the American yacht followed suit later with a number two. The warning signal was flashed promptly at 1:40 while the international rivals were engaged in a brilliant duel for position. The lightship was at the leeward end of the line yesterday and both boats were under her starboard quarter when the starting signal was given. Resolute was in the better position, owing to an extra hitch Burton was forced to make in order to avoid a false start. He miscalculated the signal by the fraction of a second.

Englishman Outpointed

Adams took his yacht over the line first, crossing at 1:46:28. The challenger shot over nine seconds later, her time being 1:46:37.

Both sloops went off on the starboard tack, with Adams berthed comfortably in the weather and enjoying the most advantageous position possible. Resolute outpointed the Englishman and worked still farther into the wind before they had been under way a half hour. It was plain that Burton was pointing the green sloop as high as possible because every swell the boat rode started her head sails flapping. When she continued to pay off to leeward Burton substituted a baby jib topsail for his No. 1 and the beneficial results from this move were immediately apparent. Shamrock ceased to pay off and began to point as high as, if not a little higher than, her American opponent. One of the big mistakes that Captain Burton made in yesterday's encounter was in not removing the big jib topsail sooner. It cost him a lot of ground.

At 3:01 Resolute swung over to the starboard tack and Shamrock followed suit thirty seconds later. At this time the American was at least a quarter of a mile to the windward and footing fast. This tack was held until 3:20, when they both returned to the port tack, with Adams a half mile in the lead.

Burton held to the port tack for less than five minutes and again went to starboard. With the first mark in sight, just under the stern of J. P. Morgan's Corsair, Shamrock went off into several short hitches in an effort to inveigle the other boat into splitting tacks, but the watchful Adams could not see this at all and duplicated every move that Burton made.

At 3:40 Shamrock went off to port and held to that tack, with Resolute on the same hitch. It was here that the challenger did her best work.

Her short tacks had cost her some ground, but when she started the long run to port she seemed to pick up a lift that sent her ahead with a bone in her teeth. She heeled far over and footed with marvelous speed. Resolute veered back to starboard at 4:15, and the challenger followed fifteen seconds later with much of the American boat's windward advantage eaten away.

Shamrock Suddenly Loses

On this tack, however, Shamrock suddenly lost all the ground she had regained, and was never afterward a serious factor in the contest. She ran into an "air pocket," or a flat spot, and stopped dead, with her sails flapping sadly. While the Britisher was in the doldrums Adams seemed to find plenty of wind and the defender all but made the turn on this tack. She made it in one more hitch and turned at 4:33:11, with the challenger far in her wake.

Sir Thomas Lipton was close to the windward mark when Resolute turned, and there wasn't the slightest sign of jollification on board the Victoria.

Shamrock's loss of ground was due to her skipper's apparent belief that he could outguess his opponent as to the weather. He tried this, and Adams let him go. The result of this strategic move was that Burton got himself becalmed, while Adams sailed away and kept "steady company" with the breeze.

After the defender had boomed around the stake in one long tack the wind appeared to leave that section of the ocean entirely, and when the challenger came along it was necessary for her to make eight tacks to the American's one in order to get around. When she finally turned it was to find that Resolute was five miles in the lead and well on her way to the second mark.

The second leg was a close reach, and when Resolute got the wind over her quarter she went away on one of those jubilant flights of which she is capable when conditions are right.

When more than half way to the second mark the wind hauled around to the south, and a short tack was necessary to carry her around. With marvelous skill Adams clung to the edge of this southerly wind and made the most of it. As the Herreshoff boat neared the mark Shamrock was hull down on the horizon. The wind was dying rapidly and hope of finishing within the time limit of six hours was vanishing.

Resolute rounded the second mark at 7:01:31 and breaking out a ballooner started a broad reach for the finish line with only forty-four minutes left of her six-hour limit. When the race was called off at 7:25, Resolute was seven miles from Ambrose lightship, three miles from the second mark and five miles ahead of the challenger, which was still struggling to negotiate the last stake.

The official time for saturday's uncompleted on the left.

 July 19 : Burton will "be at the wheet of Shamrock IV." to-morrow when the Irish challenger resails her second race with Resolute for the America's cup, announced Sir Thomas Lipton. The yachting baronet reversed all the well-founded earlier morning predictions that Capt. Burton, whose showing in the first two trials has been much criticised, would be supplanted either by Capt. Albert Turner, Capt. Charles Nicholson, the designer, or Capt. Alfred Diaper.