The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Daily News (Kingston, ON), Aug. 21, 1876

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p.2 Yachting - The Emma returned from Belleville on Saturday afternoon and the Zitella yesterday morning. The crews state that there was scarcely any wind on Friday when the regatta took place, and that consequently they had not the shadow of a chance. It is proposed to get up a purse and invite the Belleville yachts down on Wednesday to compete for it. The Intelligencer says: "This race disposes of the Zitella as the light weather boat she has been claimed to be. She may do better comparatively in a blow, but that is doubtful. In the Emma, however, the Belleville yachts have a competitor who will prove dangerous in heavy weather, as is a fine powerful boat."

Weller's Bay Range Lights - The Canada Gazette contains a notice from the Department of Marine and Fisheries, dated 25th July, that two lights, erected by the Government of Canada, near the west end of the Quinte Carrying Place, in the county of Prince Edward, and Province of Ontario, to guide vessels through the entrance to Weller's Bay, will be put in operation on the 8th August next. Lat. 44 degs. 2 min. 0 s. N. Long. 77 degs. 40 min. 40 s. W. The lights are fixed Catoptric Lights; the front one red, elevated 29 feet above high water mark, and the back one white, elevated 43 1/2 feet above high water mark. The towers are of open frame work, painted white. The front tower, distant 150 feet from high water mark, is 27 feet high from base to vane; the back tower 480 feet behind the other and in range with the channel, is 37 feet high from base to vane.

Birth On A Propellor - We are informed that a lady gave birth to a fine baby boy on Saturday morning on her way up from Montreal on board the propellor Persia. Mother and child were left at Kingston and are doing well.

Marine Notes

St. Lawrence & Chicago Forwarding Co. - The prop. California lightened 4,036 bush. wheat from Chicago, and proceeded to Montreal. The tug Jessie Hall left with barges Mohawk, 21,500 bush. wheat; James, 12,100 bush. wheat.

Montreal Transportation Co. - schrs. Belle Hartscomb, Chicago, 28,178 bush. oats; Mineral State, Chicago, 17,783 bush. wheat; Houghton, Milwaukee, 19,000 bush. wheat; W.M. Muir, arrived with timber, and the Pamlico was to lighten some deals, prior to proceeding to Liverpool.

At the M.T. Co.'s dock this morning the two elevators were working at one vessel in order to expedite the loading of a barge for a large tow.

James Swift's - Called - strs. Corinthian from Montreal; Corsican from Hamilton; Magnet from Charlotte; Algerian from Montreal; Oswego Belle from Oswego; Kincardine from Belleville; props. Persia and Armenia from Montreal; and Nile from Ogdensburg.

Holcomb & Stewart - Arrived - schrs. Hercules from Toledo, 18,500 bush. corn; Dauntless from Toronto, 9,000 bush. wheat. The tug Wren left with barge Robin, 16,000 bush. wheat, and 60,000 ft. deals; Star No. 2, 11,000 bush. wheat and corn; schr. Middlesex from Cheboygan to Montreal; barge Star from Milford to Montreal; and schr. Sybella from Toronto to Montreal.

The Port Colborne Free Press has a Detroit correspondent who believes that the vessel business is down in the mire, and that ere long the carrying trade of the lakes will be under the control of the railroads and large freight steamers which live on a small subsidy. The Free Press combats the statement, and says that on the 12th inst., 300,000 bush. of grain arrived to be discharged at the elevator of the Welland Railway, and over 600,000 bushels arrived to go through the canal. The Free Press continues: "Of course we do not wish it to be understood that this is an average. It is not an event of frequent occurrences to have a fleet of sixty vessels arriving at this port on one day; but it is an indication that our correspondent at Detroit errs greatly when he says that the railroads can or will control the entire freight business of the West. Our correspondents at other points are inclined to a more hopeful view of the case, and, although they do not expect that freights will ever reach as high as they did in '71, '72 and the spring of '73, they believe that the present depression in marine business will soon blow over, and that vessels will be able to obtain freights at remunerative rates."

At Toledo vessels are in demand at 4 cents, corn to Kingston; 4 1/2 cents corn to Oswego, or 4 1/4 cents to 4 1/2 cents, wheat to the same points.

Milwaukee freights rule about the same as at Chicago - or perhaps a shade firmer, as the supply is not as large.

At Kincardine and Goderich seventy cents, American currency, is offered to Chicago on salt, vessel to trim and unload. No American vessel can be found to accept this rate, and Canadian vessels are very chary about chartering for Milwaukee or Chicago, preferring to take chances on Toledo or Cleveland freights through the canal.

Port Colborne, Aug. 19th - Up - schrs. Florida of Oswego, Oswego, Chicago, salt; W. Kellar, Oswego, Chicago, light; J.C. Woodruff, Clayton, Port Colborne, light; Monticello, Ogdensburg, Chicago, light; W.B. Phelps, Oswego, Detroit, light.

Down - props. City of Montreal, Toledo, Montreal, corn; Armenia, do., do., do.; Dominion, do., do., do.; Ocean, do., do., do.; Lowell, do., Ogdensburg, gen. cargo; City of Toledo, Chicago, do., do.; steambarge Clinton, Duluth, Kingston, wheat; barge Grimsby, do., do., do.; schrs. Almeda, Cleveland, Toronto, coal; Erie Stewart, do., Welland, coal; Florida, Black River, Brockville, coal.

In harbour - schrs. Russian, W. Kellar, N.B. Phelps, Monticello, Jane C. Woodruff.

p.3 The Queen's Cup Race

The defeat of the Countess of Dufferin about which so much has been said and written during the past few weeks has fallen upon us after a great deal of confidence had been expressed in her ability to win the much coveted cup. Her complete failure for it has been nothing more nor less than this, leads us to "go to the bottom" of the causes which have brought about this high sounding and humiliating fiasco. In the prosecution of our inquiries we have been able to ascertain all the facts about the building of the Countess, and we propose plainly to lay them before the public - in order that we may correct the impression which has gone forth - that she was in any sense, a representative Canadian yacht. The originator of the plan, of building a yacht by subscription is a well known and capable yachsman of Toronto, who more than two years ago perfected and had printed an "announcement" wherein there was set forth with great detail his plan for building a "representative Canadian yacht" to compete for the famous "Queen's Cup." Owing to various causes the enterprise was not carried out. The hard times, and the lack of esprit de corps in certain quarters, led to its abandonment, after all preliminary details had been fully and wisely provided for. Acting upon this hint, Capt. A. Cuthbert, of Cobourg, early this year conclued to try his hand at building a yacht to compete for the "America's Cup." He made a model, laid the keel of his yacht, and got her well in frame, and then called in Major Gifford, Vice-Commodore of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club to aid him in furnishing money to complete her. This the generous Major consented to do, and the yacht was pushed forward to completion. The reader must bear in mind that no yachtsman was consulted as to the strong or weak points of the model; this was made by Captain Cuthbert, and adapted without any consultation with the recognized yachtsmen of the Dominion. The Major's great anxiety was to have people furnish him money to built the yacht after Capt. Cuthbert's model. To this close corporation arrangement the best yachtsmen very naturally objected, and the result was that the Countess of Dufferin represented no one but Capt. Cuthbert and his fidus achates Major Gifford, instead of consulting such yachtsmen as Davis, of Windsor; Powers, of Kingston; Stinson of Hamilton; Heasley of Toronto, and many other skillful yachtsmen in Ontario, Captain Cuthbert was content to "go it alone," and the result has been what every intelligent yachtsman in the Dominion predicted it would be, a perfect failure. The above facts prove, then, that to Cobourg, and Cobourg alone, are we indebted for this fiasco - this so-called representative Canadian yacht. It does not represent our best yachting talent, and the Countess of Dufferin is in no fair sense the representative of our national skill, as a fleet yacht. Major Gifford has, beyond question, "paid dear for his whistle" in this instance, and he will return to the balmy air of Cobourg considerably invigorated, if not elated, by his yachting experience. The advice tendered him before he embarked in the enterprise, by more than one good yachtsman, will doubtless recur to him forcibly. After an immense amount of tall talk, the Countess managed to make a good showing in the rear of every race she sailed, and some one on board was to blame for always doing the right thing too late to make a decent appearance in her several contests. In her first race she had no proper filling topsails, and her new main topmast staysail was taken down and reset the third time before it was properly set. This, of course, did not make her lose the race, but it did give the onlookers the impression that Canadian yachtsmen were poor hands at sailing a sharp race. And in the Queen's cup race, first day, it appears that the "Americans" set their sails "as if by magic" while those on board the Countess went up "slowly," as the result "confusion." This farce has now been played out, and the yachtsmen of the Dominion have been placed in a false position by those who in no way represented the yachtsmen of this country. They represented only Cobourg and themselves. And in giving out that they were a representative Canadian yacht, a gross injustice was done to the really skillful yachtsmen of Canada. Major Gifford was fully informed of this before he "put his shoulder to the wheel" - and yet he saw fit to go on - and the result has been so humiliating that we hope that even he is now satisfied that his course was an ill-advised and unfortunate one.

What we desire to state, and state plainly, is that the Countess is in no sense a Canadian representative yacht in the wide sense of the term. She was built after Captain Cuthbert's model, and without consultation with any representative Canadian yachtsmen. She went to New York totally unprepared for such a great contest. Captain Cuthbert and Major Gifford had evidently the requisite skill to properly fit and trim her, and the showing she made in all her races, judged by the rigid standard of a close contest, was simply a poor one. She was a rough incomplete and ill-fitted yacht when she left our waters, and has been the laughing stock of the New Yorkers. Her canvass was not only insufficient, but deficient in almost every particular. After arriving in New York the yacht had to be re-plained, her sails all altered or new ones made, and, in fact, an entire overhauling made; whereas, had she been properly fitted out at first - as several Canadian yachtsmen could have fitted her - no such humiliating changes need have been made. New York is only a few hours ride from Canada, and it would have been an easy task to know, from observation, just what sails could have been carried in a race for the coveted "cup," and to have carefully found out all the strong points of the New York yachts. But all this was neglected, and the result has been a great deal of cheap praise of our so called representative yacht, and a round beating in all the races she has sailed. Now that this race is over, and that Cobourg has been beaten, we trust that the original plan of building a truly representative Canadian yacht will be carried out, to contest for this trophy. There can be no doubt of our ability to build and equip a yacht that will, in all respects, be a credit to the Dominion. And, too, we believe one can be built that will beat the fleet in New York.

The patronizing tone of the New York Press over the Countess of Dufferin is enough to "rile" a true yachtsman's blood, and we are greatly mistaken if a movement is not early set on foot to build a representative Canadian yacht, to show our good "American cousins" that when our yachtsmen unite in building a yacht, the result will be radically different from what it has been in this instance. We shall soon publish the "announcement" to which we have referred as a basis, or a careful suggestion as to the best plan by which to proceed in getting up a really worthy yacht, as we have proposed, and we trust it will lead to good result. [Telegram]

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Aug. 21, 1876
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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), Aug. 21, 1876