The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 7 Jul 1909

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p.1 Working On Canal - in Trent system at Hastings.

Steampipe Burst - as two steam yachts raced, pipe on one burst, engineer and fireman scalded on boat owned by George Boldt (of famous Castle near Alexandria Bay).

Hosts of Friends - Veteran Navigator Dead at Cape Vincent - July 5th - funeral of Martin Nilan held today at St. Vincent de Paul's church; 72 years of age;

"The deceased had been one of the most prominent navigators of the great lakes. He was for years a captain of one of the best steamboats of the old Anchor line, of the upper lakes, and later was commodore of the Northern Transportation company's fleet.

Commodore Nilan was the organizer of the Shipmaster's Association, of the upper lakes, and always prominent in the conventions and deliberations."



The Thermit Process Is Being Used.

The thermit process is being used to weld a new shoe on the big grain carrier Haddington, of Toronto, which has been in the government dry dock since June 28th. This steamer broke its shoe and lost its rudder in the rapids, en route to Montreal. A broken shoe generally means a month or more out of commission, but the thermit process of welding, discovered about five years ago, has been a great boon to vessels. A new rudder and portion of the broken shoe were made by the Polson Shipbuilding company, of Toronto, and arrived here yesterday. A representative of the Goldsmith company, of New York, came to Kingston yesterday afternoon to weld the new shoe, and it is expected that the Haddington will be out of the dock Thursday afternoon. The work of welding was begun this morning. The metal is brought to the highest possible degree of heat, 3,000 degrees, and the pieces are knit together as strongly as if there had never been a break. The thermit process is exemplified at Queen's School of Mines. Only this week experiments were made up there with pieces of steel.

Marine Notes.

The tug Emerson arrived from Montreal with two light barges.

The steambarge John Randall passed on her way to Smith's Falls with coal.

The steambarge Cardinal arrived in port, and will go on the government dry dock.

The steambarge Kenirving arrived from Rideau canal ports, and cleared for Oswego.

The schooner Acacia cleared for Oswego, and the steambarge Sowards cleared for Charlotte.

The steamer Cardinal, of the Cardinal Starch factory, is awaiting entry to the government dry dock, to receive a new wheel. She is in command of Charles Staley, of this city.

The schooner Ford River, loading feldspar at Richardsons', will clear for Charlotte, tomorrow night. The vessel has been held back owing to a delay in the bringing of the feldspar from the mines.


It was no mistake of Henry Cunningham that the yacht Kathleen, after rounding the home buoy, on Saturday, did not immediately come about and cross the finish line. As the Kathleen commenced to round the buoy at the close of that sensational run home with the Crescent, of Watertown, Mr. Cunningham gave the order to his crew to haul in the sails. When he put the tiller down hard, the Kathleen did not respond but ran along the line with the jib full and the mainsail shaking. The fact of the matter was that the main sheet man had fainted, and was lying on the deck when the order to haul in was given. Skipper Cunningham had to round up the Kathleen with the rudder, and got her over the line just in the nick of time.

(includes picture of Henry Cunningham)

Mr. Cunningham has been an amateur yachtsman for nearly half a century, but he says in all that time has never known of such a sensational finish as that between the Crescent and Kathleen on Saturday. The first yacht he ever sailed was about the size of the Kathleen, and she capsized and sank out in the harbor during a squall, and those aboard had to swim to shore. Later he built and sailed a boat against the noted Kingston yachtsman, Alexander Phillips, and finished second in the race. Another boat he built and sailed was the Zitella, owned by the late Police Magistrate Strange. The Garfield and the Emma were two of the old boats he handled.

After nearly a half century of yacht sailing, Mr. Cunningham seems to be at his best. He admits that the Whirl, of Toronto, is a faster boat than the Kathleen, and yet he beat the Whirl twice with the Aemilius Jarvis as his opponent helmsman. Of the three boats Mr. Cunningham candidly rates the Whirl as best. The Kathleen is a better boat than the Crescent, he says.

The race against the Crescent last Saturday ranks as the greatest Mr. Cunningham ever sailed, and he has sailed a good many in his long yachting career.

Chiriya Beat Whirl

Last summer the Chiriya, of Kingston, defeated the Whirl, of Toronto, three times, once on the cruise to Kingston, and again in two races in Chaumont Bay. The Whirl, however, has been newly rigged this season and is in better condition than a year ago.

Though the Whirl was welcomed in the George Cup contest, the Kingston and Watertown clubs were not anxious that the Toronto boat should win the cup. It's not an easy matter for these two small clubs to take a fleet so far as Toronto. If the George cup ever gets to Toronto it might remain there a long time.

Toronto Globe - It is interesting to note that the Whirl of the R.C.Y.C. won the final race at Kingston on Saturday, this being the first of the series that she did win. Mr. Jarvis of Toronto sailed her, so one might expect something of her. Mr. Jarvis would sail a soup plate with a match for a mast if there was any element of sport in it.



[C.H.J. Snider, Toronto Telegram]

An old, old racing maxim says: "Always keep between your opponent and the buoy." That is why the leading boat seldom tacks before her pursuer, and seldom lets him split tacks with her.

Skipper Cunningham, of Kathleen, followed out the good old rule. He got up to the point where, by tacking ship, he could have fetched the finish buoy. But there in his lee wake threshed the grim black Crescent, with never a sign of tacking; so he drove on, on, past the point where he was nearest the finish line.

Suddenly Crescent's tiller went hard over and she came prancing up into the wind and filled off on the port tack. Kathleen promptly followed, and then the ruse was apparent. She was pointing away to windward of the mark, and the flying Yankee, that had been astern, was now abeam of her, and tearing home with started sheets.

On they came, with boiling wakes and hulls staggering under the press of canvas. Now they were abreast, now Kathleen got a puff that buried her to the cockpit coamings, and she clawed to windward against her helm, then Crescent shot six feet ahead.

Kathleen's situation was desperate. She was to windward, on Crescent's port beam. If she could only make up those six feet, she would have an overlap, then she could bear away and force Crescent to give room, but if she had no overlap, if she lacked it by only an inch, Crescent could go where she pleased.

The situation was peculiar; to cross the finish line, between the buoy and the Kingston Yacht Club, the yachts had to pass the buoy twice, really. That meant they would go tearing past it on the port tack, sweep around into the wind, and cross the line on the starboard tack.

Judge Reeves, Crescent's skipper, would have liked to play a second game. This was to stand in so far that both boats would have to gybe over and run for the buoy; this would give him the over lap instead of Kathleen, and he would force Kathleen out of the way, but the obstacle to the scheme was the fact that the finish line was not one in deep open water, but between the buoy and the club house, so that it was impossible to get past the windward end of it.

The judge hung on till the last minute, and then shot away for the buoy, but Kathleen's skipper was wide awake and went boiling after him in a furious puff.

Five feet, four feet, three, two, one, the lead diminished.

"An overlap, by the Great Hook Black!" yelled excited watchers on the dock, as Kathleen's horn poked up on Crescent's weather quarter.

"He's got him nailed; he's got him nailed!"

Kathleen nosed in and forced Crescent to make a wide turn at the outside of the buoy. The white Canadian shot past it first.

"Kathleen! Kathleen! Good old Henry Cunningham! The cup's safe! Hurroo!" yelled the irrepressibles.

"Not yet! She's got to come in stays to cross the line. Oh, Henry, hurry, for heaven's sake, hurry!"

But Kathleen came head reaching in the wind's eye, sails slatting and banging in a flurry from the club building, seemingly careless whether she ever got across the line.

Every arm in the balconies and on the pier waved frantically from left to right, as though that would swing her over, and indeed, many thought her skipper had made a mistake and forgotten to cross.

Crescent, despite her wider turn, swung round like a top, and went spearing at the line with her bow sprit.

And just then Kathleen's jib filled, and swung her head around.

"Bang! Bang!" went the cannon.

"Kathleen, twelve-fifty ten! Crescent, twelve-fifty eleven!" called the imperturbable Capt. Lesslie, of Kingston, judge and time keeper.

"Kathleen wins! Safe after all!" the word went around. As she ranged up to the dock, one of her crew, a sunburnt lad, stepped ashore, and fainted.

p.8 The Engine Was Released - traction engine went through Cataraqui Bridge - cables from tug Frontenac used to raise it.

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7 Jul 1909
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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), 7 Jul 1909