The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 26 Aug 1896

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The schr. Annie Falconer is expected over from Charlotte today by Swift & Co.

The schr. Nellie Hunter has 360 tons of coal for R. Crawford. She comes from Oswego.

The schr. Snowbird brought over a cargo of screenings for Richardson & Sons' use at the elevator.

The tug Walker came up light from Ogdensburg and cleared this morning with four barges of grain for Montreal.

The prop. Oregon, with the largest load coming into this port, made a mistake in going down to the M.T. Co.'s dock. She was obliged to turn around again and go up to Portsmouth. Her cargo was for the K. & M. F. Co.

The prop. Inter-Ocean got too close to the shore coming into the M.T. Co.'s docks last night and the consequence was she struck opposite Folger's dock. A floating elevator was taken out and the vessel lightened before she could get into the dock.

When a deputation was at Ottawa recently Mr. Tarte promised that a dredge would be sent to Kingston to do some work in the harbor, and marine men are anxiously waiting for the dredge to put in an appearance. The shoal opposite Folger's dock is a great inconvenience to vessels. Several have gone on there totally. If the channel was only widened a little it would be a great convenience.

The Alexandria Bay steamboat company has given an order to F.C. Kirby, of Detroit, Mich., for a side wheel excursion steamer capable of running twenty miles per hour and carrying 1,500 passengers. She is to be a three-deck steamer, with large dining hall, staterooms, etc. She is to be lighted with electricity and will have a powerful marine searchlight of 50,000 candle power. The company is negotiating for one other screw wheel steamer to put on the Alexandria Bay and Clayton route.


A Thousand Island correspondent writes: "I have lately had a long conversation with Captain Simon G. Johnston, the oldest and most intelligent navigator and boat builder in this section. Our talk ran upon the fine lines of steamers so long in evidence upon the river. The regular mail line running from Charlotte (Rochester) to Ogdensburg, calling at Sodus bay, Oswego, Sackett's Harbor, Clayton, and all the down river ports below Alexandria Bay, was composed of the Cataract, Niagara and Ontario, commanded by Capt. Chiles, J.B. Estes and VanCleve. The express line ran from Ogdensburg to Lewiston and Hamilton, and was composed of the palace steamers Northerner, Bay State and New York, commanded by Captains Ludyard, Throop and Chapman. All their boats were built at Clayton by Menek, Esseltyn & Co., except the Northerner, which was built at Oswego. The fate of these boats is interesting. The New York and Northerner went down the rapids under charter to the government during the last two years of the Civil war. The New York is yet afloat after forty-five years of actual service, and remaining somewhere on the coast of Maine. The Northerner was wrecked off Hatteras, but no lives were lost. The Bay State and Ontario were sold to the Richelieu & Ontario line, and are now running below Montreal. The Cataract was broken up and sent to the "boneyard," while the exact fate of the Niagara is unknown. All the captains named are dead except J.B. Estes.

"Captain Ludyard, on the Bay State, had the honor of carrying Jenny Lind from Hamilton on one of his down trips, and the beautiful singer gave him a valuable diamond ring. All these matters will interest your older readers more than the younger. It is sad to reflect that the steamer enterprise of this great river is now almost wholly in the hands of Canadians, who have shown that they possess great staying power, and they are perhaps honestly entitled to all they have gained. They appear to know how to use printer's ink, now a lost art upon the American side of the river.



The Canada Took The First In The Races.

Toledo, Ohio, Aug. 25th - The wind was south-south-west and promised to freshen on the second leg. The breeze was a fitful one, and could not be depended upon at all. On the last half of the first leg it died out almost altogether. At 11:45 the yachts were a mile from the second stakes with the Canada still opening up water between her and Vencedon. The wind picked up soon and the Vencedor met it by taking in her balloon staysail, which allowed the wind full play into her balloon jib topsail. Then she began to decrease the Canada's lead. The Canada stuck to her spinaker and balloon staysail, which blanketed her baloon jib topsail and it hung up and down on the stays.

The Canada rounded the stake at 11:56:10 with the wind over her port beam. The Vencedor rounded the stake at 11:57:40, setting her balloon staysail. The wind increased as the boats bowled along. On the second leg up to over half the distance the Canada maintained her lead.

On the run down from the second stake Canada drew away steadily from the Vencedor as the wind has again fallen and the yachts in the latter half of the leg did little more than drift. As they neared the third stake the Canada was leading by fully half a mile. She rounded at 12:44:00 and Vencedor nine minutes and twenty seconds later at 12:53:20. The Canada made a long run and a short leg of the third run, while Vencedor held on till 1:15, when she came about on starboard tack. The Vencedor gained an eighth of a mile, doing better windward work. The wind then veered to the southward. It looked as if the race would again be called off, as the wind was fitful and not promising. The big fleet of yachts which left Toledo was scattered all over the lake, sailing aimlessly.

As the boats neared the third stake the Canada was leading by fully a half mile.

Canada won the first race within twelve minutes of the time limit, leading the Vencedor by two miles, or twenty-three minutes.

Sketches of the Boats.

Canada was designed by Fife, the great Scotch builder, and put together at Oakville, expressly for this series of races. Her racing length is about forty-two feet. She had been tried thoroughly against the Zelma, the flagship of the Royal Hamilton yacht club, and the Vredra (Vreda ?), the two best boats in Canada. She met Zelma a number of times under a variety of conditions, and beat her in a majority of their races. Zelma has long been the crack Canadian boat. She was built by Fife to beat anything in her class on the lakes. When the Canadians accepted the challenge for an international yacht race they ordered a boat to beat Zelma, but so highly was this boat thought of that they received the right to race her in case they wished to do so. The conditions of the race gave them until a week before the race to name their boat. When their new boat Canada beat Zelma they were thoroughly satisfied, and felt the Yankees would not be able to send a better boat against them.

Vencedor was designed by Theodore Poekel, and built last winter by the Racine company, to the order of Berriman Bros., of Chicago, especially for a race with the best boat Canada could produce. Poekel, the designer, just from the Herreshoff yards, had every reason to create a yacht of the first class. He had some reputation as chief draughtsman for the Herreshoffs and designer of a number of fast yachts they had turned out. But this reputation was shared with his employers. In his new position he could create a racer which should be all his own idea. He drew much of his inspiration from the lines of Defender and Niagara. Adding some ideas of his own, he had the theory of a craft which he fondly hoped would sail away from anything in its class yet built. The constructor of the boat proceeded under instructions from the designer with the greatest care. Every piece of wood put in her passed first under his scrutiny, and many of the more important pieces were selected after a great expenditure of time by the designer himself. The work on the boat progressed slowly, simply because of the great pains taken in getting out her parts and putting them together. When Vencedor was launched and tried, the creator was satisfied he had turned out the best boat of her class afloat. Vencedor is a modern fin-keel sloop, with a racing measurement of forty-five feet. The original design was for a boat a trifle larger, but the plan was changed to meet the desires of the Canadians, who preferred to build one a little less than forty-five feet.

The first trial given Vencedor in a race was at Milwaukee, where she met Vanenna and Siren, two Chicago boats of the modern racing type. In this regatta Vanenna was awarded the prize. But it was no race. The buoys had drifted, and both Vencedor and Siren missed them in the fog. She was then brought to Chicago, and took part in the Lincoln Park yacht club regatta. In this race she was unfortunately becalmed, and her local rival, Siren, won the pennant by a small margin of time allowance. Although technically beaten twice, once by Vanenna and once by Siren, she sailed away for the Cleveland regatta with the confidence of her friends. At Cleveland she had her best real race, and the way she walked away from the cracks in the regatta gave her friends renewed confidence in her ability to bring back to Chicago the international trophy. Her proper place in that regatta was in the forty-six-foot class, but it was not a part of wisdom for the two international contestants to sail a preliminary race, Canada being also in that class. So Vencedor went up into the higher class, and left Canada to compete with boats of her own sailing length. The result of Vencedor's race was a surprise to her most sanguine friends. She beat her local rival Vanenna and the crack Canadian boat Vreda badly.

Westport, Aug. 25th - .....The government dredge is cleaning out the channel.....

p.4 International Race - Toledo, Aug. 26th - reports leading up to start of yacht race.

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26 Aug 1896
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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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), 26 Aug 1896