The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 13 Jan 1896

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The Ice Yacht Races Had To Be Called Off On Saturday.

The first ice yacht race for the silver cup, presented for competition by H.S. Folger and W.C. Kent, and sailed for under the management of the Kingston ice yacht club, came off on Saturday and was a failure, not through any mismanagement or miscalculation on the part of the club, the fault was entirely with the weather; the elements were "agin" the race and it had to be called off. At the appointed hour for the start, there was a large gathering of spectators at the anchorage. The boats showed up well, but all could not make a start, owing to the snow which covered the ice. The light boats were simply "not in it" on this account, and, on the other hand, the heavier boats were out of the race on account of the wind failing to blow. Only a light, keen wind was stirring from the east, just about sufficient to cause a ripple on the water had it been open. This supply would have been sufficient, however, had the ice been clear of snow, but it was not heavy enough to propel the boats through the drifts.

When the starter, J.B. Conway, called time, these boats crossed the line: Jack Frost, J.B. Carruthers; Spectre, Messrs. Gildersleeve; Snowflake, H.S. Folger; Icicle, W.C. Kent; Avalanche, S.C. Calvin; Pastime, F.H. Macnee; Snowbird, owned by H.S. Folger, sailed by Capt. J. Dix; Flash, owned by John Gaskin, jr., sailed by Kenneth Cameron. Many other boats were on hand, but did not make a start for reasons already stated. In striking the course the day previous, it was intended to make it triangular, two miles on each side, but this could not be done as the southern buoy dropped behind Garden Island, which left in line with the buoy to the east. The difficulty was overcome by making this and the eastern "legs" of the course each one and 3/4 miles long, and the "leg" from east to northwest two and 1/2 miles long. Around this course the flyers were supposed to go three times within the limit of one hour and three quarters. The first beat was down the long "leg," almost dead into the wind. Little progress was made by the use of the wind; the sailors having to get out and push their craft until the first buoy was rounded. When once around this mark they had a free sheet and made fairly good time in running before the wind. The next tack they were close hauled and made the home buoy at a good clip, but it was found the first round had consumed nearly the entire time limit, so the race was called off. The first three boats to finish were the Avalanche, Flash and Snow Flake. It is hard to say just how they would have finished had all things been favorable and all the starters remained in the race.

The Avalanche is almost too light a boat for the amount of sail carried. While running close hauled one skate was in the air half the time. A longer cross board would, most likely, remedy the trouble. This yacht is certainly a fast one and will make matters lively for the best of them.

The Icicle, owned by vice-commodore Kent, is a beauty, and won the admiration of the large crowd. Her lines are graceful and her "trimmings" fit her splendidly. Her huge lateen sail is well proportioned, and balanced to perfection. Not a wit less beautiful, but of a different style, is the Snowflake, the property of the commodore. Every care has been excercised in her construction and she really presents a fine appearance. Both boats require a half gale to display their best sailing advantages.

Just as the Snowflake rounded the home buoy on Saturday the gasket, holding in place the pulley with which the throat of the gaff is hoisted into position, broke, and the mainsail went by the board. It was a lucky thing for the commodore he had reached the anchorage when the accident occurred.


Widening Erie Canal - Passage Of Torpedo Boats.

Buffalo, Jan. 13th - scheme discussed to enlarge Erie canal to permit passage of torpedo boats to Lake Ontario via Oswego, and Lake Erie via Buffalo -

...."The protection of lake ports, by torpedo boats, it is pointed out, is cheapest and most effective, and, aside from the strategical features involved in the proposed scheme, it is shown that the widened locks presents a matter of vital importance to the west and northwest in the matter of transportation. The present style of canal boats are ninety-eight feet long, seventeen feet ten inches beam, six feet draft, and carry 8,400 bushels of wheat, whereas, with the widened locks it will be possible to use canal boats 113 feet long, twenty-three feet beam, eight feet three inces draft, carrying 18,750 bushels of wheat. If wheat can be carried as it has this season, for two cents a bushel, from Buffalo to New York, the cost of carriage with the larger vessels will be reduced to one cent a bushel.

Congress will be asked to appropriate at once $2,000,000 to widen the Erie and Oswego canals, and if the money be granted the question of a ship canal will have been well advanced towards settlement, for the present style of lake carrying vessels have a tonnage of about 200,000 bushels of wheat, and this capacity will be possible when the twenty-foot channel is completed down the great lakes. This class of vessels cost from $275,000 to $325,000 each. With widened locks eleven canal barges can be built, at a cost of at most $45,000 for the whole number, that will be capable of taking the entire cargo of the $325,000 vessel. Or, in other words, the barges can be built for one-seventh the same tonnage of lake traffic, will move at the same speed and at less expense. No difficulty is anticipated in getting the necessary $2,000,000 appropriated.

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13 Jan 1896
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
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), 13 Jan 1896