Category: THISTLE

The Yacht "Thistle" Taking the Lead - Published in Harper's Weekly, New York.1887

Thistle was the first of George Lennox Watson's four America's Cup challengers, designed by him. He went to the United States the previous year to watch the Cup races sailed by Galatea and Mayflower to understand the sea and wind conditions. He felt that the challenger was under-canvassed.

Thistle was built during 1886-87 winter in the biggest secrecy. It was also the first Cup yacht to be launched with its hull hidden by huge canvas covers to keep it away from prying eyes. The media and the Americans were astonished by this.06590S.jpg It was obvious that the Scottish yachtsmen and particularly James Bell were determined to win! This secrecy, already tried by John Beavor-Webb the previous year when he refused to show Galatea when it was dry-docked in New York, has become a major component of the America's Cup since that time.

Her career up to the time of her sailing for this country eclipsed that of any other British yacht, and was, indeed, remarkable. In her first race, on May 28, 1887, she easily defeated the Irex and Genesta, and in fifteen races, in the following five weeks, she won eleven first and two other prizes, amounting to over $3,000, defeating all of England's crack yachts. Commanded by Capt. John Barr, of Gourock, Scotland, one of the foremost racing yacht captains of Great Britain, the Thistle sailed for America on July 25, the Scotch people confidently believing that she would return with the America's Cup.

The pressure was on the defenders. When Thistle arrived in New York, a local newspaper asked for a diver to sketch the hull of the challenger, but it was a poor drawing. The controversy only increased when after measurement, the LWL of Thistle was longer than previously declared.

America's Cup races

September 27 to 30, 1887, New York
Best two out of three races.
Thistle vs. Volunteer

Alternating Inside & Outside Course as follows: 20 miles to windward off Scotland Lightship and return
Races: two sailed.
Volunteer beat Thistle by two wins to nil!
- September 27, 1st race, 32.6 miles, Inside Course: Volunteer beat Thistle by 19 minutes 23 sec in corrected time.
- September 30, 2nd race, 40 miles, Outside Course: Volunteer beat Thistle by 11 minutes 48 sec in corrected time.

Soon after the races, James Bell tried to sell Thistle for 10 000 pounds sterling, but without success. It sailed to Scotland on October 14th, 1887.

Meteor I in the 1893 Kiel Week races - Wikipedia1888-1890
had a superb racing career in British waters.

was sold to the German emperor, Wilhelm II for 90.000 gold Marks. It was renamed Meteor and became the Kaiser's racing yacht. She was the first yacht registered on the Imperial German Y.C. lists, founded at Kiel in 1891. It regularly raced in Cowes.Comet - Bildarchiv Klaus Kramer

Le Kaiser owned Meteor II and offered his Meteor I ex-Thistle to the German Navy. It was renamed Comet. It was sailed as school yacht.

Comet, ex-Meteor I, ex-Thistle
is broken up…