The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 24 Dec 1896

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The New York World yesterday under the heading "Canada's Challenger" published a lengthy article on Capt. Lee's challenge to the Hudson river ice yacht club, holder of the world's championship pennant, to sail a race for the world's championship on the Hudson river this winter.......

"Kingston, Ontario is all aglow with excitement over the coming race. Capt. Lee's new boat is now on the stocks, and the little ship yard is daily crowded with an admiring crowd of Kingstonians, who lovingly comment on the progress of its construction.

By means of private communication the World is able to announce exclusively that the name of the challenging Canadian ice-boat will be the Torpedo.

As she gradually grows day by day she looks as though she will be a hummer. Every line of her humped back-bone, her arched runner plank and the cramped steering box indicates speed. As she is a boat of the first class her sail area must be over 600 square feet, but the builders are reticent when asked about sail spread. They are probably preparing a surprise, and when the Torpedo is finished her sail area is likely to be the largest known in the history of ice-yachting."

A portrait of Capt. Lee accompanies the article.

Sporting Paragraphs.

Reeve John Fisher, Portsmouth, whose ice yacht Defender, won the magnificent trophy presented last year by commodore H.S. Folger and vice-commodore W.C. Kent, is having constructed another and larger yacht. It is being built on finer lines but will carry a big spread of sail and is looked upon as being much more speedy than the old Defender or anything in the harbor.

Regret is expressed that the members of the Kingston ice yacht club could not see their way clear to accept the offer of Capt. Lee, to pay the expenses of sending the pick of the local fleet with its crew down to New York to meet a craft of the Hudson river ice yacht club in a contest for the world's championship. The offer was a most generous one, as all concerned admit, but the members of the local club should not be charged with timidity in declining the offer. In the first place the local yachtsmen have their season's work cut out for them. They have the Walker challenge cup to defend against all clubs on the St. Lawrence river, Bay of Quinte, and Lake Ontario. Then there are two international trophies to contest for, one here and one at Cape Vincent. There are also two trophies donated by members of the club to be sailed for, besides the usual club pennant races. Considering the shortness of the season these events will give yacht owners here just about all they can attend to. Supposing, for instance, the pick of the local fleet was sent down to New York, and while there an outside club issued a challenge for the Walker trophy and won it, the local club would be debarred from again contesting for the cup during the season. Another matter which must be borne in mind is that the local club is but in its infancy, while the crack New York organization has been formed many years and the boats in the club fleet are not experiments, as are those owned here. A dozen or more of the local craft are new this fall and their merits are unknown. Besides, with one exception, the largest yachts owned here are only of the size of third raters, in point of dimensions and sail area, with those sailed on the Hudson. Over there the yachts are classified into three divisions, the smallest being of the size of those sailed here. Last year everybody looked upon the yacht Defender, owned by reeve John Fisher, Portsmouth, as being a cumberson big thing, but the Hudson River first-class boats are larger again and carry even a larger spread of canvas. All things considered it is, perhaps, just as well the Kingston ice yacht club did not issue a challenge to the Hudson River club, but wisely postponed doing so until next year.

The River Frozen Over - The str. Pierrepont was frozen in at the ferry during last night. She broke loose this morning and managed to run the ferry service, only getting as far as Garden Island, however. Wolfe Islanders were obliged to drive across to Garden Island to catch the ferry boat.

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Date of Publication:
24 Dec 1896
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
Copyright Statement:
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), 24 Dec 1896