Brown, Captain Richard « Old Dick » (1813-1885) USA


03852VDick Brown was a New York and Sandy Hook pilot who sailed the schooner-yacht AMERICA to England in the summer of 1851, and was at her helm when she successfully raced for the trophy that was to become known as the America's Cup.
Pilots from ports like New York and Boston were a special breed. They sailed in small schooners and managed in all weather conditions to shepherd big ships into the harbor.

George Steers, the designer of America, suggested to the New York Yacht Club syndicate that Captain Brown, "an excellent and suitable man," be engaged as skipper. Captain Brown was the owner of the New York pilot boat MARY TAYLOR. The America was designed very closely along the lines of the Mary Taylor. George L. Schuyler, one of the syndicate members, claimed that Brown was "careful, reliable, faithful, one of the best men in his position I ever saw."00509SCaptain Brown directed the logistics of the campaign and undertook the training of the crew. His command of the AMERICA in the race around the Isle of Wight made the difference that won the Cup.

Capt. Brown came of a seafaring family, and was born at Mystic, Conn., in 1813. As a lad he engaged in the cod-fishery oil the coast of New-England. After he grew up he entered the service of the United States Coast Survey and was employed for many years as a buoy-setter on the brig Washington, which tended the Jersey coast from New-York to the Delaware. About the year 1848 he left the Government service and became a Sandy Hook pilot. He had the reputation of being one of the most skillful sailing masters in these waters, and when it was decided to enter the yacht America in the Royal Squadron regatta, sailed at Cowes in August, 1851, the owners engaged him to sail her.

00564SIn 1870, at the request of James Gordon Bennett, he went to England to sail the DAUNTLESS in her race with the Cambria across the ocean. The yachts did not take the same course, and the Cambria arrived here an hour and 43 minutes ahead, but the Dauntless lost two hours by laying-to to try and recover a sailor who was washed overboard.

He also sailed the Dauntless after her arrival here, in the first America’s Cup race which was won by the Magic. Dauntless was second actual time but firth corrected time
Much sought after as a yacht captain, Dick Brown was the helmsman of the yacht DAUNTLESS in the October 24, 1871, 04052Smatch against James Ashbury's challenger LIVONIA for a fifty-guinea Cup. The American yacht wins with ease.

On a still later occasion he again sailed the Dauntless in one of the regattas of the New-York Yacht Club, when his son Charles Brown sailed the Sappho. The Sappho won the race. Charles Brown Jr., who was also a Sandy Hook pilot, died in 1878.

Capt. Brown continued to be an active pilot until the Winter 1884-85. One very cold night in February, while bringing a steamship into port, he had one of his feet frozen. Gangrene supervened and he gradually failed. He died on June 17, 1885, at his residence, No. 89 Adelphi-street, Brooklyn. His wife died some years ago. He leaves two sons and four daughters.

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