THE SECOND RACE - OCT. 09, 1893 (The New York Times)

Category: 1893 : CHALLENGE N°8


LogoNYTCopyright © The New York Times - Published: October 10, 1893“You are going to see a yacht race today," said the knowing chaps as The Times's tug poked her nose through the Narrows. That was at 8:45 A. M. There was a brisk wind from west southwest and the glass was falling.

It was a bright morning with a touch of rawness in the air and a light haze on the horizon. The bay, heaving with a gentle swell, was crisp and decked with white caps.

The Valkyrie, in tow of the tug Pulver, was below the hospital islands, and the Vigilant, tailed on to the Commander, was far down toward the Horseshoe. Both yachts set their mainsails about 9 o'clock, the Valkyrie going down the Swash Channel and the Vigilant in the Horseshoe. The Valkyrie was a trifle in advance in setting the sail, and she did it without rounding up, while the Vigilant came to. As soon as she had set her mainsail, the Vigilant, still in tow, came outside the Hook with jib and staysail set, but without topsails of any kind. The Valkyrie, north of the Scotland Lightship, sent her club topsail aloft at 9:30.

QueenMab.jpgThe Valkyrie, in tow of the tug Pulver, was below the hospital islands, and the Vigilant, tailed on to the Commander, was far down toward the Horseshoe. Both yachts set their mainsails about 9 o'clock, the Valkyrie going down the Swash Channel and the Vigilant in the Horseshoe. The Valkyrie was a trifle in advance in setting the sail, and she did it without rounding up, while the Vigilant came to. As soon as she had set her mainsail, the Vigilant, still in tow, came outside the Hook with jib and staysail set, but without topsails of any kind. The Valkyrie, north of the Scotland Lightship, sent her club topsail aloft at 9:30.
The flagship May at the same time was coming down the lower bay under a full head of steam, and at 10:15 o'clock reached the Sandy Hook Lightship, from which, as on Saturday, the start was to be made. She was flying the signal letter “T" which Indicated that the race would be over a. triangular course. The wind at that time and glace was southwest, but not as fresh as it had been. Still, it was a good sailing breeze, and there were a few white caps on the surface of the sea. Besides the yachts already mentioned there were then gathered at the lightship Lloyd Phenix's auxiliary Intrepid, the steam yachts Radha of New-York, J. Burk Wolf; Ibis of Boston, Gen. Samuel C. Lawrence: Barracouta of New-York, but English-built, Gen. Willoughby Weston, and half a dozen tugs, including the United Press boat, the Kate Jones, and the Regatta Committee boats Edgar F. and L. Luckenbach.
At 10:30 o’cl0ck the advance guard of the excursion fleet, led by the United States dispatch boat Dolphin, flying the signal of Assistant Secretary McAdoo of the navy, was half way between the Sandy Hook and Scotland Lightships, and the procession was strung out from that point to the Narrows.

The Valkyrie cast off her tow close to the light-ship at 10:05. At the same time she took down the club topsail she had up, preparatory to setting a larger one, the same she carried on Saturday. It took about half an hour to make the change. On board the Valkyrie was one of the Ladies Windham-Quin, wearing blue and yellow, the colors of her father's yacht. Among the other persons on board were EofDunravenS.jpgLord Dunraven, Lord Wolverton, Mrs. Paran Stevens's son-in-law, Capt. Paget; H. Maitland Kersey, agent of the White Star Steamship Company; Commodore Archibald Rogers, representative of the Vigilant; Designer George L. Watson, Sailmaker Ratsey, Pilot Martin Lyons, and Capt. Cranfield. He stood off and on for some time with a jib as her only head sail.

The Vigilant, having put into the Horseshoe to set her mainsail, was somewhat later in reaching the lightship. She did not cast off her tow until 10:15. At that time she had not set her club, but she sent it up at 10:25. Evidently the talent aboard of her, in view of the prospects of increasing wind, had waited to see whether the Valkyrie would hold on to her smaller club. On board of her were the representative owner, C. Oliver Iselin; CaptHansen.jpgDesigner Nat Herreshoff, Newberry D. Thorne, August Belmont, W. Butler Duncan, Jr., Herbert Leeds, Charles Kerr, the brother-in-law of Lord Dunraven and the Valkyrie's representative; Edward A. Willard, Capt. Terry of the Grayling, and Capt. Hansen.

Mr. Leeds was resplendent in his pink shirt and scarlet-lined smoking jacket. While the Vigilant as still in tow between the lightships, Capts. Hansen and Terry stood respectively on the port and starboard sides of the deck superintending the bending on of the club topsail and other details of making sail, and Nat Herreshoff and Ed Willard stood against the starboard shrouds gazing over the bow at the Valkyrie and conversing earnestly. From time to time Capt. Terry turned from watching the crew to join in the conversation. Evidently the movements of the Englishmen interested them greatly.

At 11 o'clock the flagship May anchored east southeast of the lightship, and set the signals for the course. Read from the foremast aft they were “ D. F. L.” which indicated that the first leg would be south-west by south; “D. C. F." that the second leg would be east half south, and “ D. G. R." that the last leg would be north northwest half west. The wind at that time was southwest by south, as indicated by the first leg of the course, and fresh, with prospects of becoming fresher. The Valkyrie set her staysail about the time the May anchored, and headed for the north of the line, where the Vigilant joined her before the preparatory signal. At 11:12:30 the Vigilant sent up her small jib topsail in stops, but the Valkyrie made no sign of showing hers before the starting signal.

05826SBang! went the gun on the flagship May, and a big red ball was run up on the main topmast stay. It was just 12:15 o'clock, and this was the signal to get ready for the race. In plain language, it meant that the yachts had ten minutes in which to maneuver for position, and that at the end of that time they would be sent off on their thirty miles journey. The Valkyrie was on the port tack at the leeward end of the line, near the flagship May. The Vigilant was on the same tack coming up under the stern of the lightship and heading out to the west. The Valkyrie carried her mainsail, club topsail, jib and fore staysail. The Vigilant had the same sails and had her jib topsail in stops.

The Valkyrie, after getting under the stern of the May, went about and made a wide sweep to the northward and round toward the lightship. The Vigilant went to the southward of the line and then, going about, passed on the starboard tack to the west of the lightship. Both yachts were now drawing toward each other, the Vigilant on the starboard tack and the Valkyrie on the port tack. The Valkyrie weathered the Vigilant, and at once went about, and, coming up on the starboard tack, had the weather position again of the American boat. After standing on this tack for about half a minute, both went about and worked to the west of the lightship, the Valkyrie leading. The Vigilant was about a boat's length astern of the English cutter.
They rounded the lightship, and then coming up crossing the line on the starboard tack, and when well over stood toward the leeward end of the line.

It was now drawing near the time for the starting signal. The Vigilant broke out her jib topsail and held the best position. For once Capt. Cranfield had been out-maneuvered. On they came toward the flagship, and to those who were uninitiated it looked as though the two skippers had miscalculated their time. Suddenly a boom sounded out again from the May. Helms were put hard down, the yachts spun round on their heels and darted over the line, both on the starboard tack. The Vigilant was to windward and she led the English cutter over the line by just two seconds. It was a pretty start. Both boats had been cleverly handled, but the American had the best of it.

The wind this time was blowing heavily from the southwest. It gave promise, too, of holding true throughout the race, and everyone was satisfied that at last there would be a true test of the merits of the two boats. Just as she crossed the line the Valkyrie ran up her jib topsail, and, getting it sheeted home quickly, commenced to draw ahead of the Vigilant, sailing right through the American cutter’s lead. Both yachts were footing fast, and they seemed to be pointing high. The Vigilant was pointing a trifle higher than the Valkyrie, but she was being pinched, and her head sails quivered in the wind.
Slowly but surely the Valkyrie drew ahead. Soon she had opened daylight between the two boats, and then, going on, added first a length and then another and the Englishmen who were watching the race were exuberant. They already saw victory ahead and pictured to themselves the old America's Cup gracing the banquet tables of the Royal Yacht Squadron at its famous castle at Cowes.

The Vigilant was footing fast, but the Valkyrie was footing a little faster. The Vigilant’s sails shook and the jib topsail was backing badly. The Valkyrie’s sails stood out like pine boards, and every inch of canvas was drawing. Both yachts were pointing about the same, but the cutter seemed to be sagging just a little to leeward. It was the same old story of the centreboarder getting a better hold on the win.

In this race there was no necessity to put the crew to the leeward in order to give the yachts a list. Every man was up to windward, lying down flat on the deck. Occasionally one or two would move to trim a sheet or two, but would hurry back again to position, and crouch down under the rail.

The breeze was freshening, but the yachts stood up very stiffly. The Vigilant seemed to be a trifle stiffer than the Englishman. Half an hour after the start the wind canted a little to the southward, hauling, perhaps, half a point. It was still freshening, and tiny flecks of white foam had made their appearance on the crests of the waves. The Valkyrie tore through the water about 300 yards ahead of the Vigilant. She made a small wave just under her bow as she cut the water, but left hardly more than a ripple behind her as she left it. The Vigilant made just a little more fuss in the water, and left a small streak of white foam behind her.

The members of the Larchmont Yacht Club were following the yachts on the tug Atwood. They were well to leeward of the racers, and were doing patrol duty to keep the course clear. Frank Scott was standing in front of the pilot house. He watched the racers intently, and it was plain to see by the expression on his face that he was far from satisfied with the condition of affairs.

Lieut. Henn, who brought his cutter Galatea over here in 1836 to race for the cup, was standing beside the jolly Larchmont yachtsman, and his face was a picture. It was wreathed in smiles, and he seemed to be already counting on victory.

NGHerreshoffS2Just at noon, Nat Herreshoff, who was sailing the Vigilant, gave her more of a full, much to the gratification of those who were watching the contest, and who seemed to think that if she had not been pinched so much she would not have been so far in the rear. The Vigilant seemed to gain on the black boat at once. Inch by inch almost, she seemed to cut down the lead.

The breeze was stronger now than at any time since the start, and the little flecks of white foam that had appeared on the dancing waves had grown into white caps. The yachts were going faster than ever through the water, and already many of the smaller excursion steamers were being left behind.

At 12:05 o'clock the Valkyrie took in her jib topsail. It was evidently thought, on board, that she was not doing so well as she ought to, and possibly her topsail was heading her off some. The distance between the two boats had now been cut down to about 200 yards, and still the Vigilant was gaining. 03302SShe held the Valkyrie safe, for the Englishman could not tack and cross the Vigilant's bow, and if they kept on much longer on this same tack the white cutter would surely weather the black one. At 12:08:45 the Valkyrie went about on the port tack, and stood in toward the Jersey shore. Fifteen seconds later the Vigilant went about.

The two yachts had worked in six points. They were, however, favored considerably by the wind having hauled more to the southward. Valkyrie was on the weather quarter of the Vigilant, but the Vigilant had taken the lead, and as she did so many of the excursionists on the accompanying steamers gave her a cheer. Practically the race was over, for the Valkyrie never regained the lead after this point. The Vigilant slowly forged ahead, and, crossing the Valkyrie’s bow, soon gained the weather position again. She pointed at least a quarter of a point higher into the wind, and she was now footing fast with all her sails drawing well with the exception of her jib topsail.

At 12:17 o'clock the Vigilant took in her jib topsail and seemed to do better at once. Now the Valkyrie seemed to be stiffer than the Vigilant, but this was probably through the Vigilant running into a freshening breeze all the time. The Vigilant worked ahead until she had gained about a. quarter of a mile on the Valkyrie, and then for several minutes the yachts held the same relative positions. Then the scene was changed again, and the Valkyrie began to crawl up on the Vigilant. Her gain was only a small one, though, but while it lasted the hopes of the Englishmen beat high.

It seemed as though the white cutter was playing with the black visitor, for after allowing her to draw near she darted off again and quickly made the gap between the two boats wider than ever. It seemed almost as if she were a thing of life, and had slackened her speed just for a little breathing spell.

The wind had now hauled further to the southward. The stake boat was in sight, and both boats were well to windward of her. It looked as though each could be given a little more sheet and still be able to weather the mark. At 12:42 the Vigilant set her jib topsail again, and at the same time the Valkyrie eased off her jib sheet. Whoever had charge of this sheet eased off too much, and for a while the sail fluttered in the wind, until it was properly sheeted home again.
Just one minute and forty-five seconds after the Vigilant had set her jib topsail the Valkyrie set one a trifle larger than her opponent's. Her main sheet, too was eased off, and she was standing for the mark. The wind, however, was capricious, and suddenly canted back again to the south southwest, heading off the Vigilant and dropping a little lighter.
Again the Valkyrie closed up on the Vigilant, but it was only through luck, and not through any superior sailing or more expert seamanship on the part of those on board the yacht. The wind had headed the Vigilant off. At 12:46:30 the Vigilant took in her jib topsail again. Then a little extra, puff of wind struck her, and she heeled over in the water and darted ahead, again seeming to play with the Valkyrie. Just one minute later the Valkyrie took in her jib topsail. By this time the wind headed her off, and the Vigilant was again running away from her.
At 12:48:45 the Valkyrie went about starboard tack. The Vigilant waited for twenty-five seconds, and then she went about, being well to windward of the black cutter. Again the wind headed the Vigilant off, and for a while the Valkyrie had about a point the better of the wind, and again she crawled up on the white cutter. This time her gain was more noticeable than on any of the other occasions. But it was only play again. The Vigilant seemed to be tantalizing the Valkyrie. She would wait while the black boat closed up the space between them, and then her red and black signal would seem to snap out “Catch me fit you can“ and she would dart off again, leaving the Valkyrie almost as though she was anchored.

The Valkyrie was sailing fast, though. It was only a few of the fastest steamers that could keep up with her. But the Vigilant was sailing faster. She was pointing higher, and in every way, she was doing better than the challenger for the America’s Cup. At 12:58 the Valkyrie went about on the starboard tack. She spun around on her heel like a top, and was less than fifteen seconds in stays. It seemed that her sails had no sooner begun to flutter on one tack than they were full and drawing well on another. The wind was lighter again, but was still breathing along at about a ten-knot rate.

Valkyrie held this tack for four minutes, and then came about again on the port tack, following in the wake of the Vigilant. At 1:04:30 the Vigilant went on the starboard tack, standing for the mark, and at 1:06:35 she rounded. The helm was put up, the main boom eased off to port, and 2 minutes and 5 seconds after she had turned, the big jib topsail was run up, and at 1:10 o'clock was sheeted home. The Valkyrie tacked for the mark at 1:10:20, and rounded at 1:11:17.

The first ten miles of the course, a dead beat to windward, had furnished a surprise for the Englishman. Lord Dunraven claimed that windward work was the strongest point of sailing for the Valkyrie, but in a steady club topsail breeze the Vigilant had beaten her 4 minutes and 45 seconds, the Vigilant having made the beat in 1 hour 41 minutes 35 seconds, while the Valkyrie had taken 1 hour 46 minutes and 20 seconds to go the same distance.
“Now see her cut down that lead," shouted an Englishman. “She can reach like a witch, and she has only to gain three minutes on the next twenty miles to win the race.”

But while all were waiting for the Valkyrie to reach, the Vigilant was tearing through the water as though she had a steam engine pushing her ahead. In fact, she went faster than many of the steamers, and lots of them, realizing that they would be unable to see the next turn and then be home at the finish, were cutting across lots.

The Valkyrie had some trouble in setting her jib topsail, and it was not until 1:14:20 that it was hoisted up, and was sheeted home at 1:18:30. Then the forestaysail was taken in, and ten seconds after sheeting home the jib topsail the balloon staysail was set. She only set her intermediate jib topsail, but the sail began to draw at once, and she started off for a long stern chase after the Vigilant. The wind by this time was blowing hard, and striking the yacht just abaft the beam. The Vigilant was tearing through the water at a great rate. She was carrying a big bone in her teeth, and was leaving a long, white, foamy wake behind her. She was no longer playing with the Englishman. She had finished that at the turning mark.

Now she was running for home as fast as she could go, determined to give the Valkyrie the biggest beating she could. The Vigilant's sheet was trimmed in so that her boom was only about two points off, while the Valkyrie’s boom was wide off. At 1:26:15 the Vigilant took in her big jib topsail. The wind was now fresher than at any time during the race, and way down to the southward it was looking a little angry. If anybody expected that the Valkyrie would gain on the Vigilant in the reach, they were disappointed.

Vigilant opened the gap between them until she was at least a mile ahead of the black boat, and, not satisfied with that, she went on and on increasing it further, until at the mark she must have been at least a mile and a half in the lead.

The May, the flagship, realized as soon as the yachts turned the first mark that it would he impossible for her to go round the course, and time them at each mark, and be in at the finish. She steamed right back to the Sandy Hook Lightship, while the Valiant, Mr. W. K. Vanderbilt's fast steamer, went on to the second turning mark to take the time as the yachts turned.
A great many of the excursion steamers followed the example of the May, and of the tugboats out, there was only one that went all round the course with the yachts. That was the Kate Jones, on board of which were the experts of The New-York Times. KateJones.jpgThe Kate Jones is probably the fastest tugboat at present in New-York Harbor, and she is as steady as a church as she goes through the water. Capt. Henderson, who has charge of her, guaranteed that, if the yachts didn't go faster than fourteen knots, he would keep up with them easily, and if they went faster the Captain smiled as he remarked he thought that he'd be there.

At the second turning point the yachts had to jibe. The Vigilant, just before reaching the mark, broke out her small jib topsail, but before she had got it sheeted home she had to take it in again, because she was right at the stake. She jibed her boom over to starboard at 1:56:55, having made the 10 knots from the first mark in 50 minutes and 20 seconds, which was at the rate of a fraction less than 12 knots an hour. 03769S2.jpgThe Valkyrie was then some distance behind, and was hopelessly out of the race. Nothing but an accident now could help her to win.

At 2:03 o'clock she took in her jib topsail, and at 2:05:52 she jibed, having reached from the first mark in 54 minutes and 32 seconds, or at a rate of a fraction better than 11 knots an hour. Reaching was said to be the Englishman's strong point, at least that's what everyone who saw her race said, and yet the Vigilant, the white boat built at Bristol, about whose performances little had been said, had covered 10 knots at an average speed of 1 knot an hour faster than the Valkyrie.

Now both yachts were heading for home. The wind was two points abaft the beam. At 2:05 o'clock the Vigilant set her small jib topsail, and the Valkyrie set hers as soon as she had turned the mark. The Vigilant only carried hers for ten minutes, and then took it in. The wind was freshening, and was now blowing at least twenty miles an hour. Then in came her forestaysail, and a smaller one was put in its place.

At every puff now the wind seemed to grow stronger, and the Vigilant lay way over under its pressure. Several times she luffed up sharply to meet an extra puff, and it looked as though her club topsail was a little too much for her. Some thought she should have taken it in. now she had the race won, and save all risks of accident, but those on the Vigilant were evidently out to give the Valkyrie a beating, and they were going to show that the white cutter, a centreboarder, could still beat the English keel boats in any kind of weather.

The Valkyrie now had to take in her jib topsail, and she, too, was lying over in the freshening breeze, but she was so far behind that no one took any notice of her. All the steamers were chasing each other to be in at the finish, and to give the American boat a hearty salute.

04195S2.jpg At 2:50:01 the Vigilant shot across the line, and for several minutes the tooting of whistles, firing of guns, and clanging of bells drowned every other sound around the old lightship. The Corsair, Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan's yacht, ran up two big American flags to the peaks of the gaffs, and two others to the mastheads, and so steamed up the bay, leading all the other />
One little boat not bigger than 30 feet had ventured out under a three-reefed mainsail to see the finish, and when the Vigilant sailed over the line she hoisted a great big American flag to her masthead that seemed to be bigger than her mainsail was if she had shaken out the reefs.

04201S.jpg The Valkyrie sailed over the line at 3:02:24, and she, too, was given lots of hearty applause. Her owner, Lord Dunraven, has acted as a thorough sportsman. He had come from England with his yacht, had sailed against the pick of the American boats, and had been beaten. It was only right that he should be cheered, and the tooting of the whistles showed to him that the American public appreciated his pluck. The Vigilant had traveled the last ten miles in 53 minutes and 6 seconds, while the Valkyrie had occupied 56 minutes and 32 seconds, so that the Vigilant on this leg of the course beat the Valkyrie 3 minutes and 26 seconds.

The following table will tell the story of the race at a glance:
Start. Finish. Elapsed
H. M. S. H. M. S. H. M. S. H. M. S.
Vigilant 11 25 00 2 50 01 3 25 01 3 25 01
Valkyrie 11 25 00 3 02 24 3 37 24 3 35 36

The following tables show the elapsed time for each yacht over each leg of the course:
From the start to the first mark:
Start. First Mark. Actual
H. M. S. H. M. S. H. M. S. H. M. S.
Vigilant 11 25 00 1 06 35 1 41 35 0 04 45
Valkyrie 11 25 00 1 11 20 1 46 20 .. .. ..

From the first mark to the second mark:
First Mark. Second Mark. Actual
H. M. S. H. M. S. H. M. S. H. M. S.
Vigilant 1 06 35 1 56 55 0 50 20 0 04 12
Valkyrie 1 11 20 2 05 52 0 54 32 .. .. ..

From the second mark to the finish:
Second Mark. Finish. Actual
H. M. S. H. M. S. H. M. S. H. M. S.
Vigilant 1 56 55 2 50 01 0 53 06 0 03 26
Valkyrie 2 05 52 3 02 24 0 56 32 .. .. ..

The Vigilant won the race by 10 minutes and 35 seconds, corrected time. She finished 12 minutes 23 seconds ahead of the Valkyrie, but had to allow the English boat 1 minute 48 seconds. The Vigilant won over every leg of the course.

01459S.jpg When the steam of the whistles and the smoke of the guns had cleared the fleet and was sailing, commingled like a fog bank, for Rockaway, the Vigilant, with her nose in the wind and her head sails shaking, had come to a halt north of the lightship for the purpose of lowering her club. Steam yachts, side-wheelers, and tugs crowded around her. Hats and handkerchiefs were waived, and round after round of applause rent the air.

Those on the Vigilant were kept busy returning the congratulatory salutations. The crew, meanwhile, rapidly stripped her of sails, and the Commander, as usual, resplendent with bunting, was alongside to give her a tow. The line was made fast and she started for the Hook before the Valkyrie finished.

Afterward, as the steamers passed her, one by one, or in detachments, they tooted vigorously, and it must have kept the firemen of the Commander hard at work to make steam enough for the continuous acknowledgements.

Luckenback.jpgThe Valkyrie dropped her club and her staysail after finishing, but held on her way homeward, under jib and mainsail, and was some distance toward the Swash Channel when the New-York Yacht Club's tug L. Luchenbach ran alongside and offered her a tow. She declined the tow, however, and the Luchenbach followed respectfully on her lee quarter. It was a wonderful sight presented by the lower bay, with the long line of steam and sailing craft, almost continuous from the lightship to the Narrows. There were some outgoing ships in tow and several coastwise steamers to give greater variety to the spectacle.

Yampa.jpgAmong the outgoing steamers were the Algonquin of the Charleston Line and the Tallehassee of the Savannah Line, both of which saluted the victorious Vigilant. The little cutter Oweenie and the old schooner Dauntless came up under sail and gave spirited exhibitions of speed, while the schooner Yampa, with, ex-Secretary of the Navy William C. Whitney on the quarter-deck, came up under tow, and kept most of the time on the port side of the Vigilant.

It was about 6:30 when the Vigilant reached her anchorage, off the Atlantic Yacht Clubhouse, at Bay Ridge, and more than half an hour later when the Valkyrie ran up alongside her, with her crew lined up along the port rail to give the usual cheer which the plucky Briton always accords to the winner. Then the Vigilant’s men, who had lined up the meanwhile, returned the compliment, and the beaten boat went on to her anchorage, near at hand.