THE THIRD RACE - OCT. 19, 1871 (Hunt's Yachting Magazine)

Category: 1871 : CHALLENGE N°2

00486VVictory of the British Yacht in the Third Race.

Still, though defeated not dejected, Capt Woods and his crew set to work to get the Livonia for the third race which was fixed for the 19th, on the day after the previous match and it was the prevailing idea that either the Dauntless or the Palmer were to be the Livonia's antagonist this time

The day was fine although cool, and there was a fresh breeze blowing from W.S.W. The steamer had hardly reached the fleet of yachts lying off the Quarantine landing when the gig of the Palmer came alongside and her owner stated that she had been so disabled by the blow of the previous day that it was entirely impossible for her to go in the race with the Livonia in case she should be chosen as the contestant. What the exact nature of the injuries were did not transpire. PalmerIt was reported that the bobstay fall her main boom had got unrove, and that the cook's funnel was unshipped, which completely disabled her from racing with the Livonia; so the Seth Low was steamed up alongside of the Dauntless, which lay with her mainsail half hoisted, a slit in it about three feet long alongside of one the seams, with a reef point knotted through it to make it plainly visible, and because of this rent in her canvas, of course she could not race with the Livonia.

So the committee then said, “Well then we’ll send the Columbia again,” and the Seth Low was turned round and steamed towards the Columbia. Ere reaching her, however, Commodore Osgood, her owner came alongside and informed the committee that the Columbia could not possibly go; her captain had injured his hand in the race of the previous day, so that he could not sail her, and to put in a new man unused to the boat would but invite a defeat. Moreover, the clew was torn out of her jib, and the houndband at the head of the foremast had settled some inches, slackening her rigging and rendering it dangerous to carry sail. The unfortunate committee were now in a quandary. The only remaining yacht of the four selected was the Sappho, and she was on the dry dock in New York. Meanwhile the English yacht was at her station alongside of the mark boat, with fore and main sails set and fore gaff-topsail mast-headed, all ready to shoot home, her racing flag flying from the truck, and all things in readiness for a start. 00577SIf they could get no boat to start with her she would sail leisurely over the course and claim one of the series of races. Eight large steamers laden with people were waiting for the race to begin, and the hearts of the committee sank within them as they thought of the universal howl of indignation which would be provoked against them if no race came off, and they one and all resolved never, under any circumstances, would they serve on a regatta committee again. There was no help for it, they must try the Dauntless again.

Again they steamed to the Dauntless, and after a short parley with the commodore it was arranged that she should start, and everyone was jubilant. The committee boat ran alongside of the Livonia and named the Dauntless as her antagonist for the day. Then ensued a weary waiting. The ruptured mainsail was lowered and the work of repair commenced, but whoever was employed on the job was very long in completing it. But at last the anchor of the yacht was hove up and she was taken in tow by the Seth Low to be placed in position. The tide was running flood, and as the yacht lay below the mark-boat it was necessary to turn her around and take her some distance above the line and then again turn her so as to come down in line against the tide. These turnings were effected and the yacht was proceeding nicely to her position, when suddenly as she neared the line the hawser of the steamer was let go, and the yacht was again anchored. Soon after her crew were seen swarming over her side into a small boat, which conveyed them to the Columbia; and soon after Fleet-Captain Schuyler proceeded on board of the Livonia and informed Commodore Ashbury that the steamer, in towing the Dauntless round, had carried away some of her head gear and that in consequence they had decided to substitute the Columbia for the Dauntless. Mr. Ashbury said “very well,” but that he would not consent that they should substitute the Sappho at the last moment, in case she came down, for the Columbia; so amid cheers from the crowds on board of the excursion steamers the anchor of the Columbia was hove up and she was towed to a position in line to windward of the Livonia and anchored. This Mr. Ashbury thought a little too much. It was bad enough that he should be compelled to sail against a yacht that had twice proved herself faster than his own, but to give her the advantage of position he thought unfair, so he sent on board of the committee steamer and demanded that they should toss for choice of position. This was acceded to, and the representative of Mr. Ashbury won. So the Columbia had to be shifted round to leeward of the Livonia.

When the lower sails of the Columbia were set the Livonia set both of her topsails, and at 1h 20m p.m., before the Columbia had got her topsails set, the flags on the steamer were lowered as a signal to prepare for the start.
At 1h 25m the flags again went down, and the whistle blew for the race to begin. The Columbia was in a very unfavorable position, away on the lee quarter of the Livonia, and filled on the wrong tack and had to go about.

00107SThe English yacht, too, in consequence of letting her weather foresheet go too soon was slack in starting. She filled away, however, sooner than the American boat, and gathering way took the lead by a dozen lengths. The wind was fresh from south-west, and the tide at the last of the flood. As the leading yacht shot down through the Narrows she caught the fresh breeze out of the bay before the Columbia caught it, and still further increased her lead. The yachts in company were the Foam, Madgie, Madeline, Resolute, and one or two others. Most of them had their sails reefed, but the Madeline and Resolute carried whole lower sails. At 1h 42m the Columbia had to take in both of her topsails. At 1h 49m the Livonia took in her main-topsail as it would not stand full, and was a back sail most of the time. So the boats went down heading just to windward of buoy No 10, but as the Livonia approached it the strong ebb tide which had now made sagged her so much to leeward that she could not weather it, and at 2h 37m she had to tack. The Columbia also could not weather the buoy, and had to go round on the other tack. The Livonia stood on but for two minutes and then went for the buoy, and the two yachts went round as follows: Livonia 2h 40m Columbia 2h 46m.

The wind was now well on the quarter, and both boats set their staysails and jib-topsails. The Livonia sent her big main-topsail aloft again, and the Columbia set both her jib-headed topsails. Both yachts now went at a tremendous pace.

03822SLAs the English yacht passed out by the Hook she took the ground heavily, but such was the velocity at which she was going that her pace was scarcely retarded by it, and she forced herself over the shoal and into deep water again. On the way out to the light-ship the Columbia gained very slightly. At 3h 17m the Livonia took in her main-gaff topsail, staysail and jib-topsail, and made ready to round the light-ship. The Columbia, too, stripped herself as she approached this point. The only one of the other yachts that came out was the Resolute, which carried her lower sails and kept up well with the Livonia, sailing much better than she has heretofore been given credit for. The following is the time of passing the light-ship: Livonia 3h 0m 30s Columbia 3h 25m 45s.

After passing the Columbia had to take in both of her topsails. The yachts could just lay their courses, and the Livonia had all the wind she wanted, at times burying her lee rail and taking great quantities of water on her deck, which her high bulwarks prevented her from getting rid of readily. At 4h 8m she passed the buoy on the point of the Hook, the Columbia passing at 4h 14m. The tide was now running out very strong, and retarded the progress of the yachts very much, but at length they went round Buoy No 10, returning as follows: Livonia 4h 25m 55s Columbia 4h 31m 30m.

Then the flying kites were again piled on the staggering vessels, and they went off for the home stake boat at a pace that left the excursion steamers far behind, but at 4h 35m the steering gear of the Columbia gave way, and she came flying up in the wind and there laid till the wheel could be unshipped and a tiller adjusted. Then she was kept off again, but the delay was fatal to whatever slight chance she might have had to win the race, for in the time while she lay helpless, the Livonia had put such a gap between the two vessels that the race was hers to a certainty. Again the Columbia with her imperfect steering gear and without her flying jib, came to, and the mainsail had to come down by the run to pay her off. From this point she carried only the sails on the foremast, and the interest of the race was over. The Livonia finding that she had the race certain, wisely took in her lighter sails rather than run the risk of accident, and was soon under the Staten Island bluffs. These were crowded with people who could hardly believe their eyes when they saw her coming in ahead and realized the fact that their favorite was beaten.

The result was as under :

The Livonia won by 19m 33s as counted for allowances, and well did the Livonia deserve the race, for right well was she sailed and right well did she bear herself from first to last throughout the contest. This gives the Livonia one race, and her owner claims the previous on the ground that the Columbia rounded the mark boat the wrong way.
Fresh hopes were now raised in the hearts of the Livonia's crew and they began to imagine that the tide which had hitherto set so perseveringly against them for so many weary weeks, was about to flow in their favour, and they no longer despaired of success but looked forward with confidence to the fourth of the series of matches which was fixed for the 21st.


THE INTERNATIONAL YACHT RACES - Hunt's Yachting Magazine Dec. 1871 - Google Livres

THE QUEEN'S CUP. - Victory of the British Yacht Livonia in the Third Race. The Columbia Her Antagonist A Bad Start for the Latter Some of Her Rigging Gives Way. - Article -