The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Sept. 30, 1845

Full Text



Sir, -

Being on board the City of Toronto Steamer, the day of the Kingston Bay Regatta, and having paid particular attention to the Sailing Matches, which was impossible for any one concerned in the Rowing Matches to view, at the same time, as you have only lightly referred to this very interesting portion of the Regatta, in your paper of Friday, I trust that the few following observations may prove to you acceptable.

The morn of the Regatta was ushered in under every appearance of a settled calm, the thronging streets, crowded wharfs, the anxious gaze, and various conjecture all spoke of the bustle and anxiety which prevailed among the Kingstonians.

One Rowing Match took place at the south side of the Cataraqui Bridge, between the Banner (British 12 oared Gig) and the Wave (Yankee 12 oared Gig). This race commenced the sport of the day, but owing to a rather curious whim on the part of the Stewards, this race was contested in a manner that gave anything but satisfaction to the assembled hundreds, who crowded the shore. This Rowing Match, proved effectually the sterling metal of the Long Islanders, who have taken the palm from their adjacent neighbors on the opposite side of Ontario. The boats in starting keeping a-breast for a short time, but long before they passed Kingston, the loud and lusty cheers the crew of the Banner received, proved their superiority over their gallant competitors of the Wave. This race ended at Hatter's Bay, the Gigs flying through the Lake, the Banner shooting by the winning buoy one minute a head of the Wave.

Those on board the Steamers had no opportunity of viewing any of the other Rowing Matches, they being contested for above the Cataraqui Bridge, none of which we understand being of much interest, except the Skiff match, which as a matter of course, was taken by the famed Eccles, the nonpareil Islander.

About an hour before meridian the gentle settled surface of the Lake was rippled by a steady breeze from the S.W., which stiffened to a brisk westerly wind before the start of the Sailing boats. The signal gun from the Mohawk being given, the Sailing Matches commenced with the second class Sail boats, which was between Her Majesty' s gun boat Squaw, belonging to the Mohawk, Lt. Davis, R.N. Skipper. This boat easily took the lead and ultimately the prize from the Sans Souci, Mr. Rutherford, Kingston, and the Pilot, Dr. Anderson, 82d Regt. The course for the sailing boats being round a first Buoy, moored near Garden Island, from thence to another off Simcoe Island, running across below the Snake, to anther at Hatter's Bay, making in all a distance of something about sixteen miles.

The principal race of the day, was between the first class Yacht, Major Denny's Mary Anne: Mr. Oate's Petrel (French Creek): and Mr. Sherwood's Dart (Brockville). In drawing for moorings the Petrel gained the windward of the Dart, and Mary Anne at least three hundred yards. The Mary Anne, being the leeward craft, could barely clear Point Frederick, thus laboring under a particular disadvantage at starting. At the signal the Petrel darts from her mooring like a shot, keeping the wind as did the Dart, the Mary Anne creeping steadily outward till clear of the Point. The craft now commenced to feel the wind, the Petrel owing to her start to windward being the favorite, till the Mary Anne got sea room, when she rapidly crept on the Petrel. A Scow joining in this race rounding the Garden Island buoy, ran direct with the intention of fouling the Mary Anne, which had not the Mary Anne' s skipper observed in time, his craft would without doubt, have been run down, this affair throwing her off her course and on regaining, rounding the Garden Island Buoy, consequently threw her considerably in the wake of the Petrel. Rounding this buoy commenced the beating to windward. On flew the cutter rigged craft under reefed Mainsails. For

No ship that roams the Ocean wide,

No Bark that stems the rushing tide,

The daring Cutter can out vie,

When storms and adverse winds prevail,

Still closer draws her vent'rous sail

In the wind's eye.

The Petrel buoyantly rode the surf, the Mary Anne steadily ploughing the wave and fast making up her loss sustained with the Scow, rounding the Buoy. The Dart running away to windward, had seemingly given up her chance to her rival craft. The course to the west buoy at Simcoe was made by beating in shore, the Petrel rounding it seven minutes a head of the Mary Anne, and the scow by two, the Skippers keeping their craft well in hand working them skilfully. The Petrel keeping her headway of the Mary Anne, while working to windward. The Mary Anne's chance depending on her running free on her homeward tack, but this chance was lost by the Mary Anne. After clearing the Cataraqui buoy, making sail to run before the wind, her foresail yard snapt, went overboard across her bows, carrying one of the crew with it, the delay caused laying too, to pick up the man overboard and a run of four miles with want of foresail, and it dragging overboard athwart her bows, checked her progress, so that it completely ruined her chance of coming up with the Petrel. After making minute calculations, had not the different accidents happened with the Mary Anne, very close indeed would have been the brush, making the winning buoy between these Yachts. The Petrel came in 9? minutes before the Mary Anne.

The race between the undecked sail boats lay between Mr. Innis's Rover's Bride: Mr. Anthony Denny's Shamrock: and the Gypsy, owned by the Sergeants 71st Regiment. The s-tart between these boats was beautiful, the Gypsy running away with it, till when about a mile off the point, her ballast boxes broke, her ballast running fore and aft, to trim which, her skipper shook her in the wind, while the Shamrock and Rover's Bride passed her. The course for this description of boats was round Garden Island; the Rover's Bride seemed to know her course well, for she was the only boat made her way. The Shamrock was lubberly handled, consequently dismasted and rendered useless, the Gypsy went a Gypseying ashore somewhere about the Island, so that the Rover's Bride had it all her own way, and of course took the prize, tho' this could be called anything but a race to try the sailing qualities of boats.

The Royal Mail Toronto Steamer, and the Beaver plied about the Lake during the whole of the Regatta, the former with the Band of the 71st Regt. on board. The Bay was literally crowded with craft of various sizes, rig and description, which gave it an appearance of bustle and splendor, which until very lately has been "like Angel's visits few and far between" in Kingston.

Major Denny and his Officers gave a sumptuous dejeuner a la fourchette, at which a considerable number with sharpened appetites from their aquatic excursion partook of the hospitable board of the gallant 71st. In the evening, likewise, a Regatta Ball was given by the same gentlemen. in the Mess Room. Tete du Pont, invitations having been given to upwards of seventy couples. X

I heard last night, with no little satisfaction, that the Montreal champion had been beaten at the Kingston Regatta, by the redoubted Eccles. Shaw has been the champion of this end of the St. Lawrence, for three or four years, beating every person here and at Quebec, and the Kingstonians should certainly give their champion some more flattering mark of approbation than the mere prize. Get up a testimonial of some kind, by all means, and stick "S" down for his share of the expense.


Singular Phenomenon On Lake Ontario.

On Saturday last a most extraordinary occurrence was noticed in the Lake at this place. Shortly before noon, some gentlemen walking on the wharf, happening to cast their eyes upon the water between the piers, were struck with the very unusual appearance of a strong current or tide, as it were, setting directly out to sea. It seemed if the whole Lake were going bodily away. In a few minutes nearly a third part of the inner harbor, with a corresponding portion of the shore on either side, was left entirely bare, when suddenly the tide turned and came as rapidly back again, filling the harbor, at least two feet higher than it was before. This extraordinary action of the Lake was continued at regular intervals of every eight or ten minutes till after dark - the highest tide noticed being a little before in the evening, when the water rose seven inches higher than it was last spring, and just two feet and an inch above its present level. We understand the same occurrence was noticed at other places on the Lake, and we hear that at Port Hope the effect was so great that the steam boat Princess Royal could not get into the harbor at all, running hard aground when more than her length outside the entrance to the piers. The cause of so extraordinary a phenomenon is at present a matter of various conjecture, but the general opinion seems to be that it could only have been produced by a violent earthquake, in some part of the continent, which we shall probably soon hear of. [Cobourg Star, Sept. 21st]

American Man of War - The U.S. war steamer Jefferson, Capt. Whitcombe, is now lying in Kingston Harbor, having arrived yesterday. The Jefferson is an iron vessel, about 400 tons burden, pierced for 24 guns on a flush deck, but having only two guns mounted. Her steam apparatus does not seem to be of much power, being of the Propeller kind, but she is heavily sparred as a three masted schooner, and is said to sail like a witch. She is certainly a very beautiful craft, and like all Yankee men-of-war, is kept in admirable order. When she cast anchor yesterday, she was visited by Commander Fowell, H.M.S. Mohawk, and the visit was afterwards returned by the American Officer. At present both vessels have the flag of both nations flying at their Fore and Gaff.


At a meeting of the Stewards of the Kingston Bay Regatta - present

Thomas W. Robinson, Esq., President.

David Rutherford, Esq., Treasurer.

Colonel F.A. McKenzie Fraser.

Captain Cummings, 71st Regt.

Angus Cameron, Esq., and

Grant De Longueuil.

The Treasurer was ordered to pay to the several parties who won the prizes they contended for; and also the incidental expenses consequent on laying down moorings, printing, etc.

A vote of censure was passed on the owner of the Scow, who so improperly interfered with the First Class Yacht Race, when no necessity existed for his so doing, and the Stewards will endeavor as far as lies in their power to exclude him from participating in any future Regatta, for his conduct on this occasion.

A vote of thanks was passed in favor of J.H. Greer, Esq., the Agent of the Royal Mail Steamers, Captain Colcleugh, commanding the Princess Royal, Captain Bonter, commanding the Prince Edward, and Captain ___, commanding the Beaver, for their kindness in sending their several Steamboats for the accommodation of the public, and also, for laying down the Moorings for the Sailing Craft.


W.M. STEERS, Secretary.

Kingston, 27th September, 1845.

Notice - Forwarding rates to change on 1st October, signed by McPherson & Crane, Hooker & Holton, H. Jones, Murray & Sanderson, L. Hilliard (Pioneer Steam Boat Company), R. Jones (People's Forwarding Line), and Quebec Forwarding Co. Sept. 23rd, 1845.

Media Type:
Item Type:
Date of Original:
Sept. 30, 1845
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Rick Neilson
Copyright Statement:
Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
WWW address
Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

British Whig (Kingston, ON), Sept. 30, 1845