Document No 490: The 'Alarm' Winning the Ladies Challenge Cup at Cowes, 14 August 1830

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AUTEUR : JM Gilbert

REF : 0

EDITION : 1851

DATE : 14 Aug 1830



Previously called 'The 193-ton yacht Alarm in a light swell' but now retitled from the related print version (NMM PAD6514). This was one of 24 lithographed by Louis Haghe in 1832 as 'Views of the principal Seats, and Marine and Landscape Scenery in the vicinity of Lymington, Hants…', from pictures by Gilbert, probably watercolours given that there are minor changes in this instance.

The 'Alarm', here shown as a brand-new cutter, was one of the best known early Royal Yacht Squadron vessels. She was built by Thomas Inman at Lymington in 1830 for the famous yachtsman and landowner Joseph Weld (1777–1863) of Lymington and Lulworth Castle, Dorset.

This was her very successful first season in which, cutter-rigged, she won both the Ladies Cup and, on 21st August, the prime trophy of Cowes Week that year – the King's Cup presented by the new king, William IV: the latter is also in the Museum collection (PLT0256). The Ladies Cup commenced the week, on 14th August, pitting 'Alarm' against James Maxse's 164-ton 'Miranda'. The course was about 60 miles from Cowes to the Nab Light, then back to a buoy off Lymington and return to Cowes. Gilbert here shows her passing the stake-boat marking the finish, which fires a gun. 'Miranda' follows at far left, two minutes behind, after being one minute ahead at the Nab turn. Weld retained the Ladies Cup when presented, it being the third successive season he had won it, according to the report in the 'Hampshire Telegraph' of 16th August: this adds that 'the weather was boisterous the whole of the day', as Gilbert shows it.

In 1851, 'Alarm' raced the US schooner yacht 'America' in the challenge-cup event which, when 'America' won, laid the basis of the 'America's Cup' still contested today. Weld then had her lengthened by 20ft and thereafter she was rigged as a schooner and continued racing until 1867. She was broken up in 1889.

The Museum has an oil painting by Nicholas Condy, the younger, depicting a deck scene on the 'Alarm', c.1842–1851 (BHC4178).
This painting is inscribed '“Alarm” 193 tons, built in 1830'.


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