04865VIn canvassing the list of American boats fast enough to put against the Canadian challenger of 1881, the New York Yacht Club decided that the sloop Arrow was the most desirable. She was of David Kirby's build, but being owned by a non-member of the New York Yacht Club, Mr. Ross Winans, of Baltimore, she was not considered available.
While the question of buying the Arrow was being debated by members of ...

 ... the New York Yacht Club, Mr. Kirby, hearing of the needs of the club, agreed to build a boat faster than the Arrow. He was given a contract to do so, by the flag officers of the club, John R. Waller, Commodore, James D. Smith, Vice-Commodore, and Herman Oelrichs, Rear-Commodore.

04307SShe was a centre-board sloop, 72 feet 6 inches over all, 65 feet water line, 21 feet 6 inches beam, 7 feet 10 inches depth, and 6 feet and 7 inches draft, a typical old-fashioned single-sticker, built from a model whittled out, and scaled by the eye. She presented an inconsistency often noted in rule-of-thumb models, one part of her, the bows, being fine and fair, while another part, the counters and stern, was heavy and crude.

The new yacht, Pocahontas, was late in completion, she started in the trial races with no tuning-up and in very poor condition. She was also oversparred, and developed no speed, her racing career being confined to three trial races. The first took place October 13th, 1881, the competing yachts being the sloops Gracie, Hildegard, Mischief, and Pocahontas. Hildegard and Pocahontas lost their topmasts, and Mischief beat Gracie. 04865SThe second trial took place on October 19th, and, Hildegard withdrawing, Gracie beat Mischief 3 m. 49 s., Pocahontas being distanced. Next day Mischief beat Gracie by 14 s., Pocahontas again being far behind.

Her failure was a very severe blow to her builder and he put out a strong protest against the manner in which the tuning-up and trials were conducted. By the time of the next challenge, four years later, the American sloop was a thing of the past.

The showing made by this first yacht built for cup defence was a great disappointment to her owners, but they took their ill fortune with commendable philosophy, and Pocahontas was promptly retired, to enter on an unsung career as a cruiser.

The Pocahontas was sold at auction in the salesrooms of Brown & Seccomb, Broad-street, on May 6, 1885. The famous schooner yacht Montauk was knocked down for $24,000, Pocahontas was next put up by Mr. Brown, and, after a brief period of bidding, was bought by Frederick Tams for only $2,950. The Pocahontas cost $14,000.

In 1901 she was enrolled in the New York Yacht Club fleet, after an absence from the club list of some years.


 Designer   David Kirby
 Builder   David Kirby yard
 Owner   John R. Waller, Commodore, James D. Smith, Vice-Commodore, and Herman Oelrichs, Rear-Commodore
 Club   N.Y.Y.C.
 Cup   1881
 Launching   August 9, 1881
 Type   centre-board sloop
 Hull material   Wood
 Mast material   Wood
 L.O.A.   71'
 L.W.L.   65'
 Beam   21'
 Draft   5' 9½"
 Mainmast   21,98 m
 Mainboom   19,95 m
 Bowsprit   9,11 m
 Maintopmast   12,87 m
 Maingaff   10,70 m
 Displacement   84 tons
 Sail area   6178 sq. ft.


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