The Canada Cup, August 22 1899 – First Day
The first race for the cup was triangular, and was sailed off Toronto Island on August 22, 1899. There was a strong southwest breeze blowing, with considerable sea and a heavy haze. The Genesee before the race double reefed, but the Beaver was able to carry her whole mainsail and jib. Both yachts crossed the line close together, with the Beaver well in the windward position. Unfortunately, not 30 seconds after the gun fired, the Beaver’s mainsail came down. On examination by the crew it was found that the throat halyard pennant had broken, and as one part of the halyard was forward of the spreader, and the other portion aft of the spreader, in coming down it broke the weather spreader, so that it was found impossible to make a repair, and the Beaver had to return into harbour. The Genesee went on to complete the course, but, owing to the heavy haze and their unfamiliarity with the surroundings, they missed the weather buoy, and after being lost in the haze for several hours returned to harbour, and the race was declared off.
Next day, August 23, the Beaver having been repaired, the race was resailed. The wind being north-west at the time of the start, the first leg was dead down the wind. The Beaver had the start, and with spinnaker set gained slowly for the first mile. The wind then shifted to make a broad reach. The Genesee, quickly shifting to balloon jib, soon romped past to windward, and rounded the first buoy 100 to 150 yards in the lead. The shift in the wind brought the next leg of the course to windward. The breeze at this time was fairly fresh, and the Beaver began at once to cut down her lead, and passed the Genesee after about half an hour’s sail; but the wind gradually grew lighter, and the Genesee again crept up closer and closer, and ultimately repassed the Beaver about half a mile from the weather buoy. The next leg of the course was a broad reach in light weather and a perfectly smooth sea.
On this point of sailing the Genesee increased her lead, and won the first race by 1 minute 22 seconds.
Next day the course was to windward and return. The wind all day was extremely light, never over 5 miles an hour. The first leg of the course was to windward. The Beaver again got the start, and succeeded in holding the Genesee under her lee for a considerable time, but it was not long before she drew clear to leeward, and, though she could not point as high as the Beaver, she outfooted her throughout the whole race, and rounded the weather-mark 1 minute 19 seconds ahead. The wind having held true, the next course was dead before the wind. The Beaver, to everyone’s surprise, began to gain, and cut down the Genesee’s lead inch by inch until she began to blanket her. Off Gibraltar Point they got into a luffing match. It was plainly the Beaver’s intention to luff the Genesee off her course, so as to get between her and the mark; but the Genesee’s skipper was not easily caught napping, and the result of the first luffing match was to leave them still in about the same relative positions, the Beaver a few lengths behind. When nearing the finishing-line, the Beaver again made an attempt to luff the Genesee off, and this time it looked as if the manoeuvre was going to be successful. Both had been coming down before the wind with booms to starboard. The Beaver gybed her boom over to port, thus putting her on the starboard tack, and headed for the lee end of the line. This, if it had not been for the resource of the Genesee’s skipper, would have blanketed and caused the Genesee to gybe close to the line, the intention being that when her way was off, the Beaver would gybe back again, and, as she had never taken her spinnaker in (still having it set to leeward), she would have more way, and, with both spinnaker and mainsail drawing, might have won on the line. But the Genesee’s skipper here exhibited a most resourceful manoeuvre, one that has seldom been witnessed. Seeing his rival’s object, and that he would be forced to gybe, he promptly had the turnbuckles of the main rigging unscrewed. This allowed him to let his main boom go right forward, and at the same time hauling his spinnaker boom aft, a reversal of the ordinary conditions, successfully staved off the Beaver’s manoeuvre, and brought the Genesee over the line with a short lead of 39 seconds.
The next day’s race was triangular, and again the weather was extremely light. The first leg was laid to windward, The Beaver got the start, but was unable long to hold it; but the race was fairly close until within half a mile of the first buoy, when the Genesee ran into a freshening south-west wind, which carried her round the buoy and off on the next course with lots of headway. The new breeze, however, did not reach the Beaver for ten minutes or more, during which time the Genesee had been making short miles of it on a broad reach for the next buoy. From that on it was nothing more than a procession, the result being as follows:
This gave the Genesee three straight races and the cup.
The Genesee, it must be remembered, was sailing under the flag of the Chicago Yacht Club, though she was owned by a company composed of Rochester Yacht Club members, with Mr. Charles Vanvoorhis as president and managing owner. She was sailed by Mr. Charles G. Davis, from a Long Island Sound yacht club, and the Beaver by Mr. Æmilius Jarvis, of Toronto. Judges: for the Chicago Yacht Club, Mr. E. P. Warner; for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Mr. E. H. Ambrose. Referee, Mr. Louis M. Clark, of Boston.
Two years elapsed, when Mr. George H. Gooderham asked the Royal Canadian Yacht Club to challenge the Chicago Yacht Club for a race in 1901 between yachts of the 35-foot class, girth rule. The challenge being accepted, the same course of procedure was again pursued by both clubs with respect to the choice of a representative. The Chicago Yacht Club built the Illinois, designed by Mr. B. B. Crownshields, of Boston, and built by George Lawley Corporation, of South Boston, for Mr. Pynchon; the Yankee, designed by Charles G. Davis; and the Orion, designed and built by McGregor of Milwaukee. For Milwaukee, Jones and Laborde designed and had built in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a shoal-draft centre-board of the type known as ‘side-walks,’ which type had been successfully raced in the interior Wisconsin lakes. She was named Milwaukee. In Detroit, Commodore Shaw gave an order to Hanley, of Quincy Point, to build and design an improved Genesee. She was named Cadillac. Another boat was built in Detroit from a design by Kidd Wyldes, and named the Detroit.
Mr. George H. Gooderham entrusted his design to Charles Sibbick, of Ryde, Isle of Wight, and Captain Andrews, of Oakville, again built the yacht. She was named the Invader. In Hamilton, Mr. J. H. Fearnside built from a novel model furnished by a Newfoundland priest, the Rev. Father O’Brien. She had angular bilges, and was hollow down the centre line of her keel, and was called the Canadian. The Beaver was still to the fore, so these three furnished the Canadians their trial horses. As a result of the Chicago trial races, the Cadillac was chosen for the American defender, and the result of the Toronto trial races was that the Invader was chosen for the Canadian challenger. The races took place off Chicago on August 10, 1901, the yacht taking three out of five races to be declared the winner.
Read on … Canada Cup 1901.