The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Oct. 1, 1852

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The Patriot of Wednesday furnishes a "full and particular account" of the sailing and rowing matches of the first day of the Regatta, and tells us the result of the four-oared match on the second day, but of the Yacht Club sailing match of Saturday we have not yet had the slightest information through the Toronto papers. Will the Patriot take the hint? We quote from our contemporary the annexed racy description of several of the Regatta Clubs.

The Sailing Match (first day)

The forenoon, bright and fresh, with a fine breeze from the South East, promised all that could be wished for a sailing match, gaff top-sails before the wind, and the chance of a reef close hauled. A little before noon the boats began to assemble, among them the seaman's eye would at once have singled out two or three rakish looking crafts from Kingston - these were the largest boats, with the exception of the Jenny Lind of Toronto station; and it was clear that with them our small Toronto harbor craft could have no chance, particularly in a stiff breeze, and a Lake cruise. Among these Kingstonians there was one, the Prima Donna, a wicked looking affair, which we believe has hitherto beat all competitors - and would prove a fast thing on any waters. The course was in straight lines from buoy to buoy between fourteen and fifteen miles, and was well selected to try the quality of the craft, particularly the larger ones. The starting point was opposite Maitland's wharf, from thence down the harbor, out round the outer spit buoy - round a boat moored off the Lighthouse on Gibraltar Point, (so called we suppose in consequence of its being a particularly low flat sand) - then to the eastward on the open lake, to a buoy outside Privat's Peninsula Hotel, and home, up the border to Privat's, and thence to the Commodore's buoy off Maitland's.

With the wind at E.S.E. or thereaway the course gave two stretches before the wind - two wind abeam, and two dead beats, beside the short run to the winning buoy from Privat's - nothing could be better. By noon ten boats having been brought to their respective moorings according to number, in a line stretching well across the harbor, the first signal gun was fired - which to the uninitiated seemed to attract no attention - so quiet and still were they all - but in a few minutes all burst into life as it were - up went head sails - moorings were cast off - round went the craft before the wind, some quicker, some clumsier than others. The first round was our new acquaintance the Prima Donna - Miss Lind was the last - all drawing together in the smallest possible space as they neared the harbor's mouth. This was really a beautiful sight - everything but a Dutch East India-man, a fat old woman and a drunken Yankee can sail before the wind - and our three exceptions (we wonder how they come to be jumbled together in our imagination) can't sail at all - a drunken Irishman - we wish there were fewer of them, can sail anyway - a drunken - poh! 'tis not a chapter on the Maine liquor law we want to write - we'll leave that to Malcolm Cameron of the Agricultural Bureau, who knows as much about agriculture as our old Tom Cat, and is neither half so useful nor half so ornamental. This animal - Malcolm, not our Tom, good honest mouser, said he had come up to "Exhibit the Agricultural Bureau" - and we are informed a precious exhibition he made of it. But again we are steering wide - 'tis not of Cameron we intend writing - but the Boats. There they go, as beautiful a sight, to our eyes the most so, as this harbor has ever seen, dancing away merrily and cheerily down for the harbor's mouth, little and big, all going for a sail on the open, blue, clear waters of our Ontario; that they'll enjoy whoever wins the prize. Down they go, the Prima Donna in her proper place leading, but the Swedish Nightingale, having at last got before it, and sporting her gaff topsail, gradually crept up and before reaching the Queen's wharf had passed her competitor, rounding the buoy in beautiful style, to make up for her start we suppose, at 12 20' 35"; the Prima Donna 35 seconds after her, not rounding so smartly as the other to be even with her sister songstress we suppose. Next came the Challenge at 12 21' 55". The Inconstant (Kingston) with two reefs in her mainsail came round in 3 seconds after, and all the others crowding round so close and quick as to baffle all attempt at noting the exact time. On they went with a stiff breeze abeam, for the lighthouse, the Jenny Lind and Prima Donna leading, and hauling round the buoy, the latter at 12 36' 10"; the Jenny ten seconds afterwards; the Challenge at 12 37' 40", and one of the small Toronto boats, we could not make out which, at 12 38' 40". From this point it was impossible for our eye to follow them as they dashed away into the open Lake. We have not heard how they rounded the turning buoy off Privat's, but in the open waters some mishaps appear to have occurred. The Jenny Lind, carrying away her bobstay, thereby disabling her bowsprit, gave up and returned. The Emerald was dismasted, and was towed in by Albacore.

The beat to windward from the light-house outside tried the merits of the boats, and there they rapidly separated, the Prima Donna and the Challenge distancing the others - on the return there was a beautiful race between these old rivals - the smaller boat, the Prima Donna, being the fastest by the wind, the larger sloop Challenge (late Jeannette) the fastest off it. We believe the Prima Donna led Privat's - certainly the other closely followed, and headed her, probably near the light-house, both boats coming beautifully together along the bar to the buoys at the entrance of the harbor off Queen's Wharf - which the Challenge rounded at 2 25' 30", and the Prima Donna at 1 10 after. The next boats were the Inconstant, which rounded the same buoy at 2 42' 10", and the Undine at 2 46' 10", and others - no where.

From the entrance up the harbor to the buoy inside Privat's, the race between the two leading boats, so beautifully matched, was most interesting to those who watched. Both hauled their wind round the first buoy beautifully, and with smooth water and sufficient stiff whole-sail breeze, beat through the narrow channel of the entrance; here the peculiar qualities of the lesser boat became evident and began to tell; in coming round from one tack to the other, the Prima Donna held her way in stays and forged ahead more than the other. This, in the short stretches at the entrance, brought her rapidly up with her competitor, and before they reached the head of the harbor she had recovered the lead, rounding the buoy within Privat's at 3 5' 30", and the winning buoy at 3 16' 15"; the Challenge rounding Privat's buoy at 3 5' 55', and last one at 3 17' 20". The Inconstant came in at 3 37' 50", and the Undine soon after, but of the time we took no note. It will be seen from this statement that the two first boats sailed the course in a few minutes above three hours, and when it is remembered that of the fifteen miles of distance on straight lines, the two longest reaches involved a zig-zag course, beating dead to windward, their speed must be considered as very great. The distance actually sailed could not have been under thirty miles.

We are rejoiced to find that the thoroughly British and right manly amusement of boating and yachting is coming every day more into fashion among us. Our young men can find no recreation so wholesome to mind and body. The athletic exercise of the oar, the hardy work of the sailing vessel, combining sufficient of danger and science to exercise both mind and soul - the fresh air - and above all, the social nature of the thing, where the high qualities of courage, coolness, promptness and reliance one upon another, are necessarily constantly called forth, cannot but afford advantages, as an amusement or recreation, in comparison with which most others become absolutely trifling.

The following is a list of the boats entered for the sailing match, with the time of each according to the Judges' list:

Jenny Lind, 10 tons, J. Cruikshank, time --; Prima Donna, 9 tons, Richard Osborne, time 3h. 14m. 10s.; Challenge, 12 tons, Edward Hawke, time 3h. 14m. 37s.; Catharine Hayes, 6 tons, Alexander Phillips, time 3h. 30m. 45s.; Albacore, 7 1/4 tons, E. Stowe, time --; Saucy Jack, 7 tons, H. Copeland, time 3h. 50m. 3s.; Undine, 6 1/4 tons, J. Arnold, time 3h. 40m.; Gazelle, F.B. Hayes, time --; Storm Queen, 4 tons, Edward Blake, time--.

The Rowing Matches

The competition for the prizes in the Rowing Matches was this year unusally spirited - some of the boats entered were very good, and the pulling fair, though by no means unexceptionable.

Three boats were brought from Kingston by Mr. Gildersleeve, one of which, the Venus de Medicis, a four-oared gig, was an uncommonly fast and well built boat, and was pulled by an excellent crew from Kingston, one of whom, Mr. Medley of Kingston, pulled no less than three Matches on Friday - the first for the championship, in one of Mr. Gildersleeve's boats; then in the four-oared match, and lastly in the two oared. In the first, which was a very good race, he was successful, beating R. Renardson, hitherto the acknowledged champion of the bay, and Wm. Iredale, another excellent oarsman.

In the four oared match, Mr. Gildersleeve's boat, though unquestionably the best, came in last, being unable to make out the position of one of the buoys. The Telegraph, a new boat built by Mr. Miller of this city, came in first, but she did not go round all the buoys, and thereby lost the prize, which was awarded to the H. Grist, entered by Mr. Tinning. The latter was very well pulled, and went round the course in capital style. The Telegraph being ruled out, the Mayflower, a new boat built by R. Renardson, ranked second, though some distance astern of the winning boat.

The two oared match, also, was a very good one. One of the crew of Mr. Gildersleeve's boat, who had already pulled two matches, gave out near the end of the course, and the other three boats came in at some distance apart, the Drake entered by R. Renardson, being the successful one.

For the fisherman's race there were only two entries, the Fisher and the Swan. Both these boats were pulled with pairs of sculls; the former, rowing four pair, easily winning over her larger competitor, pulled by six pair of sculls.

This match concluded the first day's races. On Saturday a purse of £10 was given by Mr. Street, M.P.P., President of the Agricultural Association, to be competed for by four-oared boats on condition that, should only three boats start the sum was to be reduced to £7 10s. After a good deal of delay, only three boats started, of which two went round the course. These were the Telegraph and the Venus de Medicisa, the winner of the previous day not appearing at all. The Kingston men fully regained their reputation, beating their opponents by a very short distance, though one of their rowlocks gave way at the commencement of the race.

The stroke, throughout all the matches, with a very few exceptions, appeared to us much too short for first rate pulling - certainly for ordinary purposes. The short, quick stroke, performed entirely by the arms, is by no means so graceful a motion, nor one that can be so long kept up as the longer and steadier one, and it is only in the lightest boats that it can be made use of at all.

A barge belonging, we believe, to Messrs. H. & S. Jones, and having on board about 4,000 bushels of wheat, went ashore on Point Frederick, on Saturday night last, and has not yet been got off. As she soon filled with water after going ashore, her cargo was materially damaged, but was, we understand, covered by insurance.


The withdrawal of the Tug-boats from the St. Lawrence would seem to have been the sole work of Mr. Young, the late Chief Commissioner of Public Works, for immediately upon that gentleman's retirement from office, government seems to have determined upon again employing tugs upon the river. The Quebec Gazette of Monday contains a notice, signed by the new Commissioner, Chabot, that tenders will be received "for the tugging of all vessels for which such services shall be demanded, between Kingston and Montreal, or any of the intermediate ports." These tenders are to be sent in before the 15th day of November next. The nature of the service required will be gathered from the following, which we quote here for the benefit of such of our readers as may be interested in the matter, not having the good fortune to be to be among the recipients of Executive advertising patronage: -

1st. That as many Tow-Boats are to be employed on the service, as may be found necessary from time to time, to perform the work so effectually, as to ensure the vessels being forwarded without a detention of more than TWELVE HOURS on any part of the route.

2nd. That the Tow-Boats employed between Dickinson's Landing and Prescott, shall be of not less than SIXTY horse power - and those on the remainder of the route of not less than FORTY-FIVE horse power; but without reference to these stated powers, it is to be understood that vessels drawing not more than NINE FEET water on the downward trip, or EIGHT FEET water on the upward trip, shall be towed at an average speed of not less than five miles per hour.

3rd. That the Tow-Boats shall not be engaged in the towing of rafts.

4th. That the Service of Towing shall commence on the First Day of the Opening of the Navigation in Spring next, and shall be continued until the close of it.

5th. That in the event of any accident occurring to one or more of the Tow-Boats, the Contractors shall have others at command, to be immediately substituted, so that no interuption of the Trade shall take place.

6th. That the rates charged per mile for all towage, upward, shall not exceed those specified in the accompanying schedule, and for Towage, downward, the charges shall not be more than one-third of such rates.

7th. That the rates shall be charged for according to the following distances, viz.: -

From Lachine to lower entrance of the Beauharnois canal, 19 miles

From upper entrance of Beauharnois Canal to Cornwall, 40 miles

From Dickinson's Landing to Prescott, 41 miles

From Prescott to Kingston, 61 miles

When a vessel is taken in tow at any other points than those mentioned in the above table of distances, the towage may be charged for from the commencement of the last station, unless otherwise specially agreed on.

8th. That when the Tow Boats pass through any of the Canals, they, together with the wood for fuel, shall pass free of toll.

9th. A Contract will be entered into for the towage of three years; but the tenders are to state what the bonus demanded for that term will be reduced to, if the period is extended to five or seven years respectively.

10th. The bonus will be paid in three equal instalment; one on the first day of August, one on the first day of October, and one on the fifteenth day of December in each year.

On entering into Contract, solvent and bona fide security will be required for the full and due performance of the Contract, and heavy penalties will be prescribed for any delay that may be caused to vessels, or for any infraction of the conditions of the Contract.

Tenders are desired either for the towage of the whole line from Lachine to Kingston, or for any of the divisions thereof.

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Oct. 1, 1852
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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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Daily News (Kingston, ON), Oct. 1, 1852