The Canada’s Cup Race commencing August 25, 1896 – First Day
The series was to be the best two out of three races. The first race was to be over a triangular course. It proved a failure, as they could not complete the course in the time limit. As was expected, however, the Canada in the light wind drifted away from her under-canvased rival.
The next day the same course was sailed; both got away on fairly even terms, the Canada, on the starboard tack, forcing Vencedor, which was under her lee and on the port tack, about. The wind was moderate from the north-east, with a slight jump of a sea. The Canada began at once to draw away, and continued to do so during the whole race. The first leg, seven miles, which should have been all windward work, turned after the first half hour to a reach. On the last leg of the course the Canada, which had stood over the westward to meet the first of a shift of wind to the south-west, benefited greatly thereby, and romped home far ahead, winning by 23 minutes 34 seconds.
Next day the wind had shifted to the westward, and was blowing a strong breeze, from 20 to 25 miles an hour, with occasional rain squalls. The course was 5 knots to leeward and return, twice around. This weather was what the Vencedor was wishing for. She led across the way and during the 5 miles to leeward gained all the way. On the beat back on the first round the Canada proved closer winded, but the Vencedor drove through at a higher rate of speed. As on the previous day, it did not prove a dead beat, but only a long leg and a short hitch. When approaching the weather-mark the Vencedor was ahead, but considerably to leeward, and in her anxiety to make sure of her buoy ‘overstood’. The Canada hove round at the same time as the Vencedor, and as she was able to make her buoy, gained considerably by the Vencedor’s error. The next trip to leeward was a broad reach, in which the Vencedor drew away, but she made a wide gybe at the mark, losing at least half a minute thereby; as the wind had still further shifted, it made another broad reach home, the Vencedor still gaining, but she was unable to work off her time allowance by 26 seconds, giving the second and final race and cup to the Canada.
In both of these contests the Vencedor was sailed by Captain J. G. Barbour her sailing-master, who had been mate the previous year on the 90-footer Defender, of America Cup fame. The Canada was sailed in both races by Mr. Æmilius Jarvis, of Toronto. Judges: for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, E. H. Ambrose; for the Lincoln Park Yacht Club, H. C. McLeod. Referee, Oliver E. Cromwell, of New York.
Accompanying the Canada and the Vencedor was a large fleet of both Canadian and American yachts, and, taking advantage of this gathering, a meeting was held at Put-In-Bay, Lake Erie, at which it was decided to form a union comprising the Yachting Associations on the Great Lakes. The sequel to this meeting was a joint meeting at Buffalo of the three associations, the Lake Yacht Racing Association of Lake Ontario, the Inter-Lake Yachting Association of Lake Erie, Detroit River, and Lake St. Clair, and the Lake Michigan Yachting Association of Lake Michigan. This meeting resulted in a committee being formed to draft a constitution, by-laws, and racing rules, the new organization being designated the Yacht Racing Union of the Great Lakes, the rule of measurement adopted being what is known as the girth rule, viz:
L + B + .75 G + .5 square root of sail area divided by 2 = rating.
With the idea of perpetuating an international contest of the character of the race just described, the owners of the yacht Canada deeded the cup that they had won at Toledo to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club as trustees under a deed of gift, which provided for races to be held between yachts belonging to any club affiliated with the Yacht Racing Union of the Great Lakes, and in any of the classes between 30 and 40 feet. The conditions of the deed of gift provided for the selection of the final representative of a challenged or challenging club from a fleet, the idea being that each country should build a number of yachts of similar size, hold trial races, and select the champions, which should meet in a final race for the cup, which the donors had now named the Canada’s Cup; and it is really from this date that the races were for the Canada’s Cup.
In the autumn of 1898 the Chicago Yacht Club challenged the Royal Canadian Yacht Club for a race in 1899 between yachts in the 35-foot class under the girth rule. After the preliminary agreements were completed, both clubs set about building a fleet from which to make a final selection. The Chicago Yacht Club asked all American yacht clubs on the Great Lakes to build for the trial contests, and the Royal Canadian did the same thing with Canadian yacht clubs. In the trial races, which were held off Chicago, the following 30-footers competed: the Genesee, hailing from Rochester Yacht Club, a Hanley designed and built centreboard yacht, the Prairie, designed by W. P. Stevens, Bayonne, N.J., and built at Ogdensburg, N.Y. ; the Josephine , designed by George Webster, of Hamilton, Ontario ; the Bald Eagle, designed by Mr. George Warrington, of Chicago ; the Briar, owned by Mr. Peare, and designed and built by Miller Bros. of Chicago ; and the Veva, designed by A. G. Cuthbert, of Chicago.
The Canadians built the Minota, designed by Mr. H. C. McLeod, general manager of the Bank of Nova Scotia, who about that time had removed from Halifax to Toronto, and the Beaver, designed by Arthur Payne, of Southampton, England. Both of these were built by a syndicate of Royal Canadian members, composed of Messrs. George Gooderham, George H. Gooderham, Hon. George A. Cox, J. H. Plummer, Frank H. Walker, J. W. Flavelle, H. C. McLeod, and Æmilius Jarvis, who was managing owner, and the construction was again entrusted to Captain James Andrews, of Oakville.
Another syndicate of Toronto yachtsmen, headed by Mr. George P. Reid, gave an order for a design to Mr. G. Herrick Duggan, of Montreal, of Seawanhaka Cup fame, who designed a large shoal centre-board boat, which was built by Harry F. Hodson, Toronto.
In Hamilton three more were built: the Hamilton, by a syndicate headed by J. H. Fearnside; the Myrtle, by a syndicate headed by William Burnside; and the Weir, by Mr. Hugh Weir. The designs of all three were from local amateurs.
The result of the trial races in Chicago was that the Genesee was finally chosen as the challenger, the races in Toronto settling on the Beaver. A great deal of indecision, however, was manifested as to this selection, as the Minota had many admirers, and was the faster in light to moderate breezes, but in breezes from 8 to 10 miles an hour and up the Beaver was undoubtedly the faster boat.
Read on … Canada Cup 1899.