The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), Aug. 29, 1882

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p.3 A Healthy Corpse - Mr. Gillespie, lighthouse keeper, foot of Wolfe Island, desires us to state that he is not dead, and the fact of his presence in this office certainly did give the report of his demise a quietus. The petition of a candidate for his position will, therefore, be of no avail. Mr. Gillespie is as well and active as he was 16 years ago.

Showing Up The Defects - of competing trade routes.


The schr. M. O'Gorman is loading ash lumber and ties for Oswego.

The steam barge Nile and barge Bedford from Ottawa, with lath and ties, have reached the city.

The schr. Oliver Mitchell, from Chicago, with 21,075 bushels of wheat has arrived at the M.T. Co.'s dock.

The harbour had a very dull appearance today. Men lounge around, finding their occupation gone. Few vessels are now being chartered for this port.

We have often heard captains of vessels declare that the sailors "eat up their freight," but we have now to record the first instance in which a Captain did this thing. The other day Capt. Malone, of the schr. M. O'Gorman, brought several barrels of pears to Rees Bros. His freight for doing this consisted of a bushel of pears, which he ate on the way across the lake. He don't growl about the matter either.

Our Position Endorsed - The Belleville Intelligencer stands by the statements of the Whig anent the Oswego Regatta fraud. It says: If no luffing had been done, and the yacht Gracie kept on her course without jockeying being resorted to, no collision would have transpired. How the judges decided that the yacht Garfield was in error it is impossible to say, but they did so, and ruled her out of the race. One thing, however, looked suspicious. If the yacht Garfield had not been ruled out the yacht Ella (the only real American bottom) would not have had a position. She got last as it is. When a protest was mentioned to a judge he replied that there would be no use in entering it, as it would not be entertained.

The Gracie, it must be remembered, is a Belleville yacht.


This evening the Belleville Ontario publishes the following account of the regatta which occurred there yesterday. The seventh annual regatta of the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club took place on Massassaga Bay yesterday afternoon and was a flattering success, although the result was perhaps not as satisfactory to some of our local yachtsmen as we would like to have seen it. But then it cannot reasonably be expected that the Belleville yachts should win in every contest, inasmuch as the best of the fleet have changed hands and are now owned by foreigners. The yachts which contested in the race yesterday may be called the best now on fresh water, and with a light breeze it is little wonder that the yacht which represented the home club in the first-class race was beaten. The Norah also met with an annoying accident, in having her topmast carried away by a puff of wind in the second round, which no doubt prevented her from securing a place in the race. She had, as already stated, to compete against the fastest yachts on fresh water, which included the Aileen and Cygnet, of Toronto, and General Garfield of Kingston.

Nature Of The Course.

The course is one of the finest in America as the yachts have at all times over 18 feet of water, and spectators can easily see the race from Massassaga Point on it. It lay from a buoy directly off the Point to a buoy off Big Island near Badgley's dock, thence to the third buoy near Salmon Island on the northern shore, and back to the starting point. The first-class yachts had to sail over this course three times and the second class yachts twice.

A Nice Start.

It had been arranged to start the yachts in the first class race at 11 a.m., and those in the second a few minutes later, but as there was scarcely any wind at that hour, it was thought advisable to postpone the start for a short time. It was not long before a breeze sprang up, but it was not such a breeze as yachtsmen fancy for racing, as at times the water would be almost as smooth as glass, and the yachts towards the close of the race moved so slowly that it was feared they would not round the winning buoy within the specified time - seven hours. Of course this was an unfortunate circumstance for the larger boats, but the men used every artifice to make their crafts forge along. At 12:30 the first class yachts were signalled to prepare for starting. The following yachts appeared:

Cygnet, Toronto 35 tons

General Garfield, Kingston 27 tons

Norah, Belleville 55 tons

Aileen, Toronto 35 tons

Lady Agnes, Trenton 35 tons

They all came about presently, and passed the starting buoy in the following order:

h. m. sec.

Cygnet 12 37 28

Garfield 12 38 52

Norah 12 40 35

Aileen 12 42 47

Lady Agnes 12 47 20

Garfield Takes The Lead.

The Garfield at once began to lead, the Cygnet having the windward position, but this was only for a short time. The wind at the time of start was very light from the southeast. After the yachts had sailed a couple of miles they got a fresh breeze from the east, which sent them along nicely towards the Big Island buoy. The yachts carried every inch of canvass, and the sailors made every effort to get the benefit of what little wind there was. The Norah slowly overhauled those in front of her, passed them and finally rounded the buoy first, followed by the Aileen and the Cygnet. In the stretch from the second buoy to the one near Salmon Island, the Norah kept ahead and rounded the latter first the Cygnet being only about forty-five seconds later. The Aileen was a good third, with the Garfield away in the rear. But on the way up the Bay the Norah and Cygnet indulged in a little "jockying" which did not benefit the Belleville yacht. The Cygnet passed the Norah, while the Aileen made about ten minutes in the stretch. They rounded the starting buoy as follows:

hrs. min. sec.

Cygnet 3 09 00

Norah 3 10 15

Aileen 3 10 30

Effect Of A Little Breeze.

The wind here was almost a dead calm, and just after rounding the buoy both the yachts Cygnet and Norah dropped a "block," which perhaps shocked them a little. A few minutes later a breeze came up from the southwest, and as the yacht Garfield came around at about 3:30 o'clock she was just in time to receive the full benefit of it, and at a lively rate came down the bay, while the three leading yachts were sailing pretty much under shelter of the south shore. As the Kingston yacht caught up to the others the interest in the race increased. The wind gradually shifting to westward, and the yacht Aileen making for the Big Island buoy, sailed near the north shore, she lost considerably while the yachts Cygnet, Norah and Garfield, keeping the centre course, materially improved their positions. A puff of wind soon after struck the Norah's gafftopsail and carried it away, a serious handicap throughout the remainder of the race. Prior to the mishap the yachts, as they attempted to make the buoy near Badgley's dock, carried an immense spread of canvass, and, with a fair breeze, were sailing nicely. After rounding the buoy the Cygnet continued to lead to the buoy near Salmon Island, and the Norah held her own. It was then considered almost certain that the Cygnet would get first place, as the light wind seemed to be just what she wanted. Positions were unchanged until the buoy off the Point was passed. The time was then taken:

hrs. min. sec.

Cygnet 3 56 45

Norah 4 ? 30

Aileen 5 01 00

An Unexpected Finish.

The Garfield was away behind the Aileen, but by good judgment Dow Claus turned the buoy in good shape, and by hugging the shore succeeded in passing the Norah and Aileen. The finish was as follows:

Cygnet 6 48 06

Garfield 7 02 28

Aileen 7 08 42

Norah 7 12 34

The Garfield was behind the Cygnet but 14 minutes and ahead of the Aileen 6 minutes. The time of the Kingston boat after 3:30 o'clock was remarkable.

Trim Of The Garfield.

Dr. Curtis who attended the regatta himself, though Dow Claus handled his yacht for him, he says the light wind was discouraging, and in such he did not expect his boat to figure to much advantage. The Garfield was fitted for heavy weather. She had at least two tons of ballast on her more than she should have carried, but the comparative calm was not expected to last long. Then the centre board was jammed and could not for a long time be forced down or pulled up. One thing after another worked against him and success, but towards the end of the race, when there was enough wind to fill the canvass, the Garfield showed how speedily she could plough through the water. "But I am satisfied with the results. I was treated handsomely by the Belleville yachtsmen, was handed my money before I had straightened myself after landing off the boat, and was invited to attend a banquet last night, which I regret, I was obliged to leave before it was over."

Second Class Race.

In the second class race the start was made as follows:

hrs. min. sec.

Gracie 1 43 49

Surprise 46 19

Katie Gray 12 47 52

The Surprise gave up before the close, and the finish was as follows:

hrs. min. sec.

Katie Gray 5 25 04

Gracie 5 28 02

The steamers Swan and Marquis of Lorne were present from Kingston, having many gentlemen aboard.

A Manifest Injustice.

The Garfield is a speedy boat, and deserves to be sailed by a more honorable sailing master, one who will not compel her to put her nose into another boat without cause. [Oswego Morning Express]

It is the first time that an attempt has been made to injure the reputation of Dow Claus, one of the most skillful of Canadian yachtsmen. None but Capt. Cuthbert has sailed in more races, none has been more expert in his management of boats. He usually sails to win, and all who have had the benefit of his services certify to his capability, his carefulness and unimpeachable honesty. It is to be regretted that an accident occurred at Oswego, that the Gracie (we claim wrongly) changed her course, that there was a foul, but every one who knows him well say that such was not due to the incompetency of the man at the Garfield's tiller. We have not had a personal acquaintance with him, but we have seen him figure in a score of regattas - at Belleville, Kingston, Gananoque and Clayton - and always acquit himself most creditably. We hope the Express will modify or withdraw its very unfair statement.

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Date of Original:
Aug. 29, 1882
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Rick Neilson
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), Aug. 29, 1882