Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Rest of That Race: Schooner Days MCCLXXXVIII (1288)
Toronto Telegram (Toronto, ON), 22 Sep 1956
Full Text
Rest of That Race
Schooner Days MCCLXXXVIII (1288)

by C. H. J. Snider

PROCRUSTES who trimmed the customers to bed-size with the hacksaw on heads and feet, practised his absent-minded surgery on "RACING HOME TO DEAD MOTHER" in last week's number.

Readers thus lost the outcome of Capt. Harry Stewart's gallant struggle to reach his mother's bedside, and the equally gallant rescue of him and his crew of cadets of the school-ship Moyana in which he made the attempt.

The rescue was made by the 6,000 ton freighter Clan Mclean, smaller than many of our lakers. She edged alongside in the hurricane and saved every man and boy. This is what old Crusty chopped off:

"The Clan Maclean, battled for fifty miles to Fowey in Cornwall. She hove to a mile outside to wait for the flood tide. Late at night two tugs brought her in. The cadets, fed and warmed and wearing cheerful grins if little else, gave Capt. Stewart there cheers as he hurried off for Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, at the other end of England, He reached here Monday morning.

To find that his mother Mrs. Jessie Stewart aged 82 had died on Saturday, while he was fighting wind and wave to reach her."


"Crusty may have thought right in thinking we had dragged out last July's 830 mile race of twenty training ships of eleven nations too long in the telling, but we are not going to leave it without commenting on the various rigs employed and how they fared in the race.

All the square riggers, the two ships, barque, barquentine and two square topsails schooners were beaten by smaller fore-and after, ketch rigged, like Moyana.

This may have been due to exceptional circumstances including the weather, but circumstances, like every year's weather are usually exceptional. The fact remains--the little fore-and-afters got there first, which is the object of races.

This was an upset to the nautical proverb that those who go down to the sea in ships (square-riggers that is) these see the works of the Lord, while those who go in fore-and afters wish they hadn't.

In general the square rig is better in strong winds, rough water and long runs, but the fastest ocean-passages of all this century have been made under fore-and-aft rig, and by yachts, not clipper ships.


The time of Atlantic three-masted centreboard schooner of plain gaff-and boom fore-and-aft rig for her 3,013 miles from Sandy Hook to the Lizard in the race for the German Emperor's cup in 1905, was 12 days 4 hours and 1 minute over. This has never been equalled, either by the famous Dreadnought or any other clipper. Dreadnought was credited with a crossing from New York to Queenstown, 3018 miles in 1859 in 9 days 17 hours, but the encyclopedia that says that is wrong. The passage took 13 days 8 hours. When the Dreadnought was 9 days and 17 hours "out" from New York her log shows she was nearly 500 miles from Queenstown.

Talking of old timers, the massively built three mated topsail schooner yacht Sunbeam, in which Lord Brassey sailed over 300,000 miles last century, raced Atlantic in 1905, and came in 6th of a fleet of 11 then, She was also in the Torquay to Lisbon race this summer, under the Swedish flag and name, Falken, and came in 4th of the fleet of 20. Wonderful old girl, over 80, if she was built in 1874, What were Britons doing to let her become a Swedish school ship?

In this 1956 race superannuated Sunbeam heat the three-masted schooner Creole. The latter looked very much like the superb Atlantic, but sported the ultra-modern staysail rig, all sails triangles, no gaffs at all. Creole finished 7th.

This gaffless, 3 cornered, leg-o-mutton, jib-headed, Bermudian rig which we called "marconi" because of its tall masts, was favored by many of the ketches in the training ship derby. Moyana, winner over all, had a "marconi" mizzen, but pictures show her cracking on under the rig of her 1899 youth, a long bowsprit and gaff-headed mainsail and clubtopsail, and three headsails, including a grand "reaching foresail" (fore staysail to us) vastly overlapping mainsail.


The Turks of all people had a big 175 ton ketch candidate, their naval training ship Ruyam. Instead of being a caique with high curled ends, bristling with lateen yards and spear-like sprits--or are we thinking of a xebec or settee? -- well, anyway she had a modern marconi rig, no gaffs, short bowsprit, much like HMCS Oriole IV, formerly of RCYC. She came in 3rd. Ruyam is a steel hulled yacht with long sharp overhangs and a leadmine of a keel. She is an ex-American, the J-class racing sloop Thistle.

Snider, C. H. J.
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Item Type
Date of Publication
22 Sep 1956
Language of Item
Geographic Coverage
  • England, United Kingdom
    Latitude: 50.33333 Longitude: -4.63333
Richard Palmer
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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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Rest of That Race: Schooner Days MCCLXXXVIII (1288)