"Britannia Racing Valkyrie III and Ailsa"  by Steven DewsUnlucky challenger of America's Cup 1895

Valkyrie III was not owned exclusively by Lord Dunraven, as was Valkyrie II but by a syndicate composed of Lord Dunraven, Lord Lonsdale, Lord Wolverton and Capt. Harry McCalmont. She was designed by George L. Watson, professedly for light weather sailing, and was altogether a radical example.

Her construction, like that of Valkyrie II., was composite, steel frames planked with wood, American elm being used below the water-line and teak above. She was built in the yard of D. & W. Henderson & Co., at Partick on the Clyde, near Glasgow, was launched May 27th, and received her first trial under sail June 18th.

She was found to be trimmed by the head, and deficient in stability, not having enough ballast. It was necessary to add some twelve tons of lead to her ballast to correct these faults. This and other changes, incidental to finding the boat's true form, took so much time that Valkyrie could be given few trials before leaving her home waters for the trip across the Atlantic.

Valkyrie (III) leading His Majesty's yacht Britannia off Hunter's Quay, during the Clyde Regatta, 1895 Her total record of trials was three open races, in which she met Britannia and Ailsa, and one private race with Ailsa.

June 29, 1895 : In her first race she beat Britannia 1 m. 49 s., but lost on time allowance.

July 3, 1895 : In the second she was beaten, in a strong wind, 3 m. 8 s. elapsed, and 7 m. 10 s. corrected time, by Britannia. Both were fifty miles.

July 6, 1895 : The Queen's Cup- After receiving more lead she beat Britannia in forty miles 18 m. 26 s., and Ailsa 19 m. 47 s.
In her race with Ailsa she won with ease. She was, unquestionably, England's speediest boat, and in turning to windward in light airs and smooth sea was as fast as any yacht afloat, Defender excepted.

The 19th-century yacht photography of John S. Johnston of New York CityShe was manned by an able crew of Wivenhoe men, whose training in boat sailing sprung from the Essex coast fisheries. Her captain, William Cranfield, and his assistant, Edward Sycamore, were both Wivenhoe men.

Leaving the Clyde July 27th, Valkyrie III made the voyage across the Atlantic under sail, in twenty-two days ten hours, arriving at New York August 18th. She was rigged for the voyage like a North Sea ketch, with reduced mainmast and a good-sized jigger set well inboard. Her passage was without incident, and though strong winds were met, she was not strained or otherwise injured.

Less than three weeks remained before the races for rerigging Valkyrie for racing, and giving her trials off Sandy Hook; altogether too limited a period for the purpose.

Valkyrie's few trial spins off the Hook showed her to be a most formidable light-weather boat, and doubters were found in plenty who thought she would take the cup. Faith in Defender was abundant, though everyone who had seen the boats looked for a very close series of spirited races.
That the series proved anything but satisfactory was not the fault of the builders of the boats, for challenger and defender were nearer alike, and more evenly matched, than any vessels that had been raced for the cup.

The races for America's Cup

Rounding the Mark America's Cup 1895 - David Monteiro- from 7 to 12 September 1895, at New York.
- the contest was to be decided by the winning three races out of five.
- the first, third and fifth races to be to windward and leeward, the second and fourth over a triangle, all courses to be thirty miles, and laid to windward when possible.
- the starts to be from Sandy Hook light-vessel.
- starting signals to be given at 11 o'clock, and delayed only in event of changing the starting-point, fog, or agreed postponement; preparatory gun to be fired ten minutes before starting signal, and handicap gun two minutes after
- time limit for races six hours.
- all length over eighty-nine feet load water-line to count double in figuring racing length for time allowance.
- vessels to be allowed time for repairs in case of an accident.
- yachts to be measured with all weights on board to be carried in a race, restrictions as to bulkheads, floors, doors, water-tanks and anchor being waived.

Valkyrie III is confronted to Defender , the defender of the New York Yacht Club.
Three regattas are "raced". Defender beat Valkyrie III, three wins to nil.

- September 7, 1st race, 30 miles, windward-leeward : Defender beat Valkyrie III by 8 mn 49 s corrected time. Claim of Lord Dunraven for modification of the waterline length of Defender. Claim rejected : Defender 1 - Valkyrie 0.
- September 10, 2nd race, 30 miles, triangle : Valkyrie IIIbeat Defender by 47 s corrected time. Claim of Charles Oliver Iselin for denial of priority. Claim accepted : Defender 2 - Valkyrie 0.
- September 12, 3rd race, 30 miles, windward-leeward : Valkyrie III cuts the starting line and leaves. Defender 3 - Valkyrie 0.

A challenge to forget, a real fiasco.

Following this second defeat in America's Cup, Lord Dunraven abandoned yachting.

After the competition, the boat remains inactive several years.

In 1899 Valkyrie III' hull was refaired and repainted to serve as a trial horse for Shamrock, but eventually she did not serve that purpose.

In 1901, Valkyrie III was broken up.