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GENESTA - America's Cup Challenger 1885

Built by D. & W. Henderson on the Clyde in 1884 for Sir Richard Sutton, to the design of John Beavor-Webb, Genesta was constructed of teak and elm planking on a steel frame.

Under the command of Captain John Carter Genesta crossed the Atlantic to race for the America’s Cup in 1885. She was unsuccessful in this endeavour but won two major trophies during her stay.

In 1887 she won the first round Britain race, organised to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. Skippered by Capt. Carter with George Pudney of Wivenhoe as mate Genesta covered the 1,590-mile (2,560 km) course from Southend Pier to Dover in 12 days, 16 hours, and 59 minutes.

Later converted to a yawl Genesta was broken up in 1900.

Mercantile Navy List 1890

Genesta - New York 1885

THE TIMES - Thursday 25 September 1884 - “THE LATE RACING SEASON.... The Genesta has proved herself to be the best of the new vessels, and can boast of 17 victories, only seven of which, however, are first prizes. She is a composite cutter of 80 tons, built from a design by Mr. Beavor Webb, and her load-water length is 81ft, and beam 15ft, while by way of ballast she has a lead keel of upwards of 60 tons. She was built for Sir Richard Sutton, who entered her in 33 matches, and she was sailed by George (sic) Carter, of Wivenhoe. The Genesta is rather under-sparred - a most uncommon occurrence in these days - but she will be given more wings before another season comes round, and may, perhaps, be slightly improved otherwise.”


THE TIMES - Wednesday 17 June 1885 - “YACHTING - The cutter yacht Genesta left the Clyde last evening for New-York in order to compete there for the Queen’s Cup, which was won by the America.”

THE SUN (New York) - Sunday 28 June, 1885 - “The Genesta was built by Messrs. Henderson Bros., at Partick-on-the-Clyde. She is 90 feet over all, 81 feet on the water line, 15 feet beam, 11¼ feet depth of hold, and 13½ feet draught. Although originally she had only sixty tons of lead outside, she now carries seventy tons of lead on her keel. She has also been recently coppered and fitted with new and heavier spars. Keelson stringers, frames, and strengthening plates are all of steel, while the planking is teak and elm. [The above mentioned website states she had oak planking]

With great accomodations beneath, the cutter’s fittings are plain but substantial. The deck fittings present several novelties. The bowsprit comes over the steamhead in the centre of the yacht, with more than the usual difficulties in reefing it. To obviate this difficulty, one of the checks of the steel bits is hinged. This device permits of the bowsprit heel being swung round clear of the scuttle and the capstan, and run aft alongside the mast. The fore scuttle, oval in form, is a steel tube, round which the wire-fall of the bobstay tackle is coiled in easier turns than it would be belayed in the ordinary way. Just before the mast is a second scuttle, which accommodates the steward, and also the crew, on racing days. Behind the mast is a third scuttle, down which canvas can be lowered into the sailroom under the cabin sole.

The Genesta will be without any provisions for screening the weather spray, besides a racing cabin. The Genesta has a fine saloon fitted up lightly and elegantly, a ladies’ cabin aft, and spacious accomodations for the crew, steward, and captain. The whole length of the yacht has been utilized, and the space obtained is remarkable. The Genesta is to be in charge of C. Carter (sic), who is well known on the Clyde as a clever yacht sailor. She is owned by Sir Richard Hutton (sic).”


THE TIMES - Tuesday 14 July 1885 - “THE YACHT GENESTA.- a Reuter telegram from New York, dated July 13, says that the Hamburg-American steamer Lessing reports having passed the yacht Genesta on the 11th inst. in latitude 40 N., longitude 59 W.; all well.”


THE NEW YORK TIMES - Thursday 16 July 1885 - “Pilot E.M. Williams, of pilot boat No.14, who brought in a steamship yesterday, reports that his boat spoke to the English cutter yacht Genesta on Monday about 320 miles east of Sandy Hook. Pilot William Barry boarded the Genesta, and found that her crew of 19 men were all well. Pilot Williams thinks the Genesta will arrive here to-morrow or Saturday.”


THE SUN (New York) - Friday 17 July, 1885 - “THE GENESTA IN THE BAY - ARRIVAL OF THE ENGLISH YACHT TO WIN BACK THE AMERICA CUP - She Makes the Passage in Twenty-Two Days - Two Days Better than the Cambria’s Time - She Looks Like a Hard Boat to Beat - Before very many persons had read in the morning papers yesterday the announcement that the English cutter yacht Genesta, which is going to try to win back the America Cup, had been boarded 320 miles east of Sandy Hook on Monday by the pilot boat E.M. Williams, the lookout at Sandy Hook had seen a lug sail on a mast that seemed to rise out of the water near where the sun rose some time later, and reported it as the Genesta. At 6 o’clock a signal on the yacht brought a waiting tug, then the sails very quickly disappeared, and at 7:20 the Genesta passed Quarantine and dropped her anchor about half a mile off the basin at Tompkinsville. Near her lay the American cutter Ileen, which very soon sent out a small boat carrying sailors who had friends on the Genesta. The Genesta’s crew went to work at once to get things shipshape and jonnick for port. The sails were unbent and stowed in their lockers, the spars were placed in shocks on deck, the running rigging was hauled taut, and the falls coiled down neatly and hung on their pins. Then the decks were scrubbed down and the men piped to breakfast.

Visitors who came out in small boats from Staten Island saw a typical long, rakish, black craft of the pirate noveliate, but she was scarcely low enough in the water to answer the complete description of a piratical craft of the Spanish main. Her mast was short and stumpy, but it was simply a jury mast put in to bring her over. The racing spars are coming on the Furnessia. Every one noticed the great length of the overhang, and the peculiar sweep of the lines forward, which throw her nose higher out of the water than any other cutter seen in these waters. The cutwater is perfectly straight; if it were slightly curved at the bow it would look like that of a Yankee pilot boat. Above the water line there are no hollows or wave lines. In a curved line across the little flat oval stern, which is suggestive of the model of a duck, is the name of the boat in little gilded Gothic letters. A fat, round-sterned cedar dingy floated under the lee quarter, and a short ladder reached from the water to the rail on either side. From davits just abaft the mast were two quarter boats.

The deck of the Genesta is arched slightly. All the trunks and hatchways on deck are very low down, so that if a sea should board her there would be very little to stay its progress. Most of the low bulwarks are devoted to scuppers to let the water off the deck. Sailors noticed that every frame on both sides had a stout wooden cleat on of some kind, so that lines could be made fast almost anywhere. The throat halliards of the mainsail were of tarred hemp. The heel of the jib boom is stopped in heavy wrought iron jaws a foot or more above the deck, and the spar projects horizontally over the water. From a slender little topmast put up for ornament a black and red pennant was floating, while a very large British ensign drooped above the taffrail. The boat was built and finished, like the Priscilla, simply for racing, and is therefore very plain and substantial in the cabin as well as on deck. The quarters for the officers and the owner are limited, although there is head room for the tallest man. The forecastle, however, is unusually roomy. There isn’t a yacht of American build to be compared with it. The men sleep in iron bunks that trice up against the skin of the vessel in the daytime, and in hammocks swung from the iron beams overhead. The galley stands in the after part of the forecastle. Taken as a whole, this narrow black hulk is not attractive to the eye. The Genesta looks like a pumpkin seed split in two end ways and floated on edge, but she impressed those who saw her with an uncomfortable feeling that she would prove to be a boat of wonderful speed.

Half a mile or more below the Genesta was the sloop Priscilla, the boat which New York will put in the race against the Genesta. A landsman looking at the two boats would see very little difference between them. Both carry single masts, both are long, and both are black. The stern of the cutter overhangs the water a long way, and there the difference ends to a landsman’s eye. The real difference between the two boats is in the form of the hulls. If the two could be sawed across the middle, the sawed-out line of the Genesta would look something like a condensed Gothic V, while the outline of the Priscilla’s section would look like an extended Gothic U. To keep the narrow hull of the Genesta right side up, the builder has bolted 70 tons of lead just under the point of the V, that is, along the keel. The cutter depends on the lead to keep from going on her beam ends; the sloop depends on its width of beam. As the sloops sink but a short distance in the water, they would easily drift before the wind when trying to beat up against it if they were not provided with a thin triangular framework of plank or iron sheets, called a centreboard, that is lowered down into the water through a slot in the keel. The flat side of the centreboard keeps the sloop from drifting, but it is so thin that it in no way prevents her progress forward. Sloops carry comparatively little ballast.

“We had a very pleasant passage over, First Officer Forstate (sic) of the Genesta said. “We were becalmed for a day after leaving Queenstown. Then we got a full sail breeze from the northeast, and didn’t run it out for five days. We made 1,100 miles in that time. After that we had one or two little blows, not worth mentioning. On the 8th we had a capful of wind, and had to lay to for one day, reefed down. The Genesta was a much better sea boat than we expected. She never shipped a sea. Of course it was wet on deck from the spray, but we had no trouble with her at all. We found that she could run before the gale beautifully. That astonished us all. It won’t be so fine going back in the fall, I’m thinking. We saw a number of steamers and other vessels, but no ice. We were not troubled with fog. We had a little once or twice, but we ran it out with a fair wind. You could scarcely imagine a less eventful voyage. We sailed out of Queenstown at 8 0’clock, twenty-two days ago, and we arrived in at about 6 o’clock this morning, making, with due allowance for difference of time, about twenty-two days’ run. The Cambria made it in twenty-four. We feel proud of our run, of course.

The Genesta carries sixteen men in the forecastle. They are all sturdy Englishmen, and are a good-looking set, although they were not dressed in uniform. If the Genesta wins it will be a victory for British seamen; if the Priscilla wins it will be a victory for Swedes.

The Genesta was built at Partick-on-the-Clyde by the Henderson Brothers in May, 1884, and was designed by Mr. Beavor Webb for her present owner, Sir Richard Sutton of the Royal Yacht Squadron. She has a steel frame, with elm and teak planking. Her Thames measurement is 81 tons, she is 90 feet long over all, 81 feet on the water line, 15 feet extreme beam, 11 feet 6 inches depth of hold, and draw- 19 feet  6 inches of water. She sailed her first race on May 31, 1884, with a whole sail breeze from Southend to Harwich, and came in winner. On two succeeding days she raced over the same course. On the third day there was a  fresh easterly wind and a nasty jump of a sea, and in the thrash to windward the Vanduara pitched the bowsprit out of her. The Marjorie, too, made dirty weather of it, while to the admiration of all the Genesta, notwithstanding her taut rig, went along quite easily. When the weather mark was reached, and sheets were eased, the new cutter had a commanding lead of the lot, and it was the general expression of those who saw this thrash that it was the boat for the America’s Cup. In the first seven races she entered she captured prizes. During the season of 1884 she started in thirty-four contests, and came out winner in seven and second in ten of those events. To beat the cutter that has made this record the American sloops will have to bump themselves.

At a meeting held yesterday the New York Yacht Club decided that the trial contests to determine which yacht shall compete with the Genesta should not take place until after the annual cruise of the club. In compliance with a request from the club the Treasury Department has decided to admit duty free the racing spars of the Genesta.”

ALSO - “ON BOARD THE GENESTA. Capt. Carter’s Opinion of Her Modestly Expressed - Many Visitors. The English cutter yacht Genesta swung easily at her anchor off Tompkinsville, Staten Island, all day yesterday. Her English sailors were astir at the very peep of day. At noon Capt. Carter had every inch of deck cleared, and then everybody who wanted to inspect the racer was welcomed on board. Row boats kept bobbing out from shore, loaded with men and women. Captain Carter must have described  the cutter a hundred times, and was still busy doing it when a reporter found his way on board at sunset. The sailors, clad in white duck suits, lounged about in the bow.

“Ever since I have been in command of the Genesta,” said the Captain, “she has been kept busy racing. I know what she can do, but as I am entirely ignorant of your vessels here I am not able to make any comparison. I know I have a good boat under me, but I am not sanguine of beating you.”

The overhanging stern of the Ileen rose and fell just ahead of the Genesta.

“I saw the plans of that boat before a stroke of work was done on her,” said Capt. Carter, “She is like the Genesta and is a flyer, I have no doubt. Over there is what I should call a beauty when her sails are set and she is throwing the water back on a stern breeze.”

The Captain pointed to the Montauk that lay a short distance outside of the Genesta.

The racing spars of the Genesta are expected in a few days, and until they come to take the place of the stubby mast that now mars her beauty nobody can mistake her. Her black hull is pointed out by everybody within sight.”


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 17 July 1885 - Article probably written by the same person as the Sun article of the 17th. Additional details follow... “ARRIVAL OF THE GENESTA - SHE CROSSES THE ATLANTIC IN TWENTY-TWO DAYS - HOW THE ENGLISH RACER LOOKS AND HER PREVIOUS BRILLIANT RECORD.... After making the fastest passage on record for a sailing yacht across the Atlantic the English cutter Genesta dropped anchor off Tompkinsville , Staten Island, early yesterday morning.... When merchant steamships and sailing vessels with flags of foreign nations, and Coney Island excursion boats with the American flag, began to move round the Bay, the Genesta dropped the bold British ensign over her stern, and ran the curious dark blue and red flag of the Royal Harwich yacht squadron to her masthead. Capt. Carter went ashore to telegraph news of the yacht’s arrival to England, and the crew - she carries 20 men all told - began to clean ship in preparation for visitors. Lots of them looked at her during the afternoon. William R. Travers’s yacht Fanny fired a welcoming gun.... The Genesta did not cross the ocean with the large graceful spars that she will use when she competes for the America Cup. They are too large for safety at sea. Her racing rigging was shipped in the hold of the Anchor Line steamer Furnessia, and Collector Hedden sent word to the New-York Yacht Club yesterday that he had been instructed by the Secretary of the Treasury to admit them free of duty.... The cabins are plainly fitted up in pine and walnut, and are simply furnished. There is no carpet in the main cabin, and nothing but a neat straw matting in the ladies’ cabin. Everything is so thoroughly English. The English cook made a big English boiled pudding for dinner the first day he spent off American shores. The crew were beefy and ruddy. They wore no uniform, and looked rather shabby in comparison with the English sailors on board the Ileen, another yacht modelled by the same man that modelled the Genesta, which was anchored close alongside. The tars on the Ileen rowed over to the new arrival when the day’s work was done, spent an hour or so in conviviality, and asked for “news from ‘ome.” No one on board the Genesta could say when she would be put in racing trim until information was received from Sir Richard Sutton, her owner, or from T. Beavor Webb, her designer, who are on their way across the Atlantic.”


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 31 July 1885 - “THE GENESTA UNDER SAIL. The English cutter yacht Genesta got under sail for a short run down the Bay yesterday afternoon. She carried her mainsail, two jibs, and a gaff topsail. The wind was moderate and the tide was half ebb. She appeared to be a fast sailer and worked quickly in stays.”


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 1 August 1885 - “THE GENESTA - The Genesta has gone to Boston to try her speed against the Eastern yachts before competing for the Queen’s Cup, and the result of her first race in American waters will be eagerly awaited.

As Americans we all want the cup kept in this country, and, with all respect for the Genesta and her gallant owner, we want to see her beaten. At the same time, if she should be beaten by a sloop - and we have no cutter to match her - the result will undoubtedly be to revive the waning prestige of the sloop and the centreboard. This is a result greatly to be deprecated. Although on a given occasion a sloop may prove to be faster than a cutter, the fact will remain that the sloop-rig is rather the worst in the world, and that the flat skimming dish centreboard model is not to be compared for seaworthiness or for weatherly qualities with the cutter.

It is therefore possible that whatever may be the result of the Genesta’s race for the cyp it will not be without its pleasant features. If we keep the cup we shall be happy, and if we lose it we can say that the triumph of the cutter cause is some consolation for the loss of the cup. In any event we are to have a fair, manly contest, and the Genesta, unlike the Cambria and the Livonia, will have no grounds for protesting against the alleged unfairness of New-York yachtsmen.”

Also - “THE NEW-YORK YACHT CLUB - THE FLEET ARE ALL SAFE IN NEW-LONDON, CONN., July 31. - The New-York Yacht Club fleet arrived here in detachments during last night and this morning.... The Genesta is expected to join the fleet at Newport on Monday in time to take part in the race for the Goelet cups, which will be sailed for  on that day. On her arrival the royal club signal will be hoisted at the foremast of the flagship and will be saluted by a gun from each yacht in the fleet. According to the present programme the fleet will go from Newport to New-Bedford and a race will be sailed off the latter port.”

NYT - 6 August 1885a.jpg
NYT - 6 August 1885b.jpg

Above - NewYork Times 6 August 1885, below New York Times 27 August 1885


NYT - 27 August 1885a.jpg
NYT - 27 August 1885b.jpg

THE NEW YORK TIMES - 28 August 1885 - “TESTING THE GENESTA - SHE SAILS OVER A PART OF THE YACHT CLUB COURSE - The English cutter Genesta sailed over a part of the New-York Yacht Club course yesterday. She left her anchorage off Tompkinsville about noon under plain sail and with her inseparable little boat in tow. The wind was north-west at the time, and there was a good whole-sail breeze. The tide was at the first of the ebb. The Genesta reached down the West Bank to Buoy No.10 on the Southwest Spit, and then freed her sheets and ran south of Buoy No.8½ and north of Buoy No.5 on the point of the Hook. Instead, however, of going over the rest of the course to the Sandy Hook Lightship she turned her prow down the beach. After sailing about outside for a while she put about and made for home.

As she was coming up the Lower Bay above the Hospital Islands she met the sloops Mischief, Sagitta, and Gracie and the schooner Republic. The Gracie put about some distance astern of the Genesta and followed her up to Tompkinsville, holding her own very well with the big cutter. The Republic, however, put about on the cutter’s lee quarter and gave her a brush. For some distance they ran along side by side, and then the Republic attempted to luff across the cutter’s bows, but the latter luffed up herself and finally out manoeuvred the schooner. The Republic then veered away and sailed over to the Bay Ridge side of the Narrows. The wind was very light at the time. The Gracie was under mainsail, working topsail, staysail and jib, and the Genesta carried the same sails, with the addition of a big topsail. Still the Gracie did not drop further astern than when she put about, and at the lower entrance to the Narrows appeared to be gaining. About this time, however, the Genesta took in her topsail and shortened her head sails, when of course the Gracie ran up on her rapidly. The Genesta dropped anchor off Tompkinsville at 5:50.

 Mr. J. Beavor Webb said that no attempt was made to speed the Genesta. The object of her trip was to try her sails, particularly the set of her jib topsail, to improve which was the purpose of cutting down her topmast. Only two feet six inches was cut off instead of three feet. The Genesta’s topmast, he said, is a new one and considerably longer than any she has used before. Even after the shortening, it is somewhat longer than the one she used last year. The effect of the shortening was to materially improve the set of the jib topsail. The Genesta, he added, is not in condition to go fast now, as she has not been dry docked since her arrival in this country, and there is in consequence about six inches of sea weed upon her bottom. She will be dry docked and put in racing condition during the latter part of the coming week. She has not engaged a pilot for the races, having been tendered the services of the Bedouin’s pilot.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES - 2 September 1885 - “PASSED BY THE PRISCILLA - THE GENESTA TAKES A TURN IN THE LOWER BAY - THE SKIPPER DECLINES TO TRY CONCLUSIONS WITH THE PRISCILLA - THE PURITAN TRYING HER SAILS - The Priscilla had a slight brush with the Genesta in the Lower bay yesterday afternoon, and got the better of the cutter, so that the skipper of the latter luffed her up in the wind and held her so until the sloop had run away. The two boats were carrying the same sails at the time except that the Genesta had a sprit topsail set, while the Priscilla had a working topsail, a somewhat smaller sail. The breeze was moderate at the time and the boats were sailing free.

The Genesta left her anchorage off Tompkinsville, Staten Island, about 11 o’clock in the morning and beat down the Narrows against a light southwest breeze. She went outside the Hook and came back in the afternoon. The Puritan and Priscilla left their anchorages off Stapleton about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, the Puritan being the first to leave.... As the two yachts entered the Lower Bay the Genesta was seen making her way into the point of the Hook before the southeast breeze with her spinnaker set. As she rounded Buoy No.10 on the Southwest Spit the cutter took in her spinnaker and hauled up on the wind. When the American boats got down off Roamer Shoals they luffed up and the Priscilla’s passengers were transferred in a small boat to the Puritan. The latter then continued on her way down to the Southwest Spit, while the skipper of the Priscilla held her in the wind to await the coming of the Genesta, with which he had determined to have a brush.

As the cutter came up with her the Priscilla was veered away and allowed to run. The Genesta was skipping through the water, although the wind was light. The two yachts ran along side by side for some distance, the Priscilla to the windward. Then the Priscilla, having gathered full way, began to draw ahead. Skipper Carter, of the Genesta, did not like this, and he veered away, but Skipper Gibson, of the Priscilla, changed his course also to keep with her. Skipper Carter luffed his boat up and brought her to a standstill, with her headsails shaking. At this manifestation of an indisposition to try conclusions the Priscilla was headed up the bay.

 Capt. Carter said, after he had cast anchor off Tompkinsville, that he objected to a race with the Priscilla, because if his boat had been beaten it would have a demoralizing effect on his crew, and they would not, therefore, have been capable of doing their best work in the races. The Genesta went out, he said, particularly to try the set and working of her sprit topsail and to obtain familiarity with the course inside the Hook. The Genesta will go on the dry dock at Erie Basin at 10 o’clock this morning. Capt. Carter added that it is not necessary to dock a yacht in England, as the great rise and fall of the tide there enables them to run on the beach and be scrubbed off as the tide falls.”


THE TIMES - Tuesday 8 September 1885 - “THE AMERICA CUP - Philadelphia, Sept. 7.- Both the competing yachts having made changes in their sail area they have been remeasured. They are now nearly equal in sailing length.

The Genesta’s official measurements are :- Length over all, 95 4-19ft.; water-line, 86 4-10ft.; beam, 15ft.; draught, 13½ft.; mast, from deck to hounds, 52ft.; topmast, fid to sheave, 44½ft.; boom, 70ft.; gaff, 44ft.; bowsprit, outboard, 36 6-10ft.; spinnaker boom, 64ft.

The Puritan’s measurements are :- Length over all, 93ft.; water-line, 80ft.; beam, 22ft. 7in.; draught, 8ft. 5in.; mast, from deck to hounds, 60ft.; topmast, 44ft.; boom, 76ft.; gaff, 47ft.; bowsprit, outboard, 38ft.; spinnaker boom, 62ft.

The measurer took the following estimate of sailing length :-

Genesta - topmast, head to deck, 97 2-10ft.; end of boom to tip of bowsprit, 140 5-10ft.; gaff. 46ft.; water-line, 81 6-10ft.

Puritan - topmast, head to deck, 102 1-10ft.; boom to bowsprit, 144 6-10ft.; gaff, 47ft.; water-line 82 1-10ft.

The Puritan allows the Genesta 31 sec. time over the courses to be sailed. The Genesta’s crew for the race includes the following :- Captain, John Carter; pilot, Joseph Nelson; mate, William Forsgate, and 16 men. The Puritan’s crew consists of :- Captain, Aubrey Crocker; pilot, Joseph Ellsworth; mate, A. Howard; second mate, Martin; and 22 men. Several amateur yachtsmen sailed on each yacht.

Both went down to the Horse Shoe, inside Sandy Hook, yesterday afternoon. About 60 yachts were at the same time gathering there, the anchorage presenting a brilliant scene. During the evening fireworks were sent up from several yachts.

New York, Sept. 7.- The international race for the America Cup has produced much excitement in New York Harbour. Early this morning a large fleet of steamboats and tugs loaded with passengers started down the bay, while many thousands of persons lined every point of vantage near Sandy Hook. Both shores along the Narrows were black with people. All the shipping in the port made a liberal display of bunting.

To-day’s race was 20 miles to windward, and the return from the Scotland lightship off Sandy Hook. The winner, to make the race valid, must cover the course in seven hours.

The weather was hazy in the morning, with a light easterly wind. At 10 o’clock it calmed, and the sea was as smooth as glass. The bay was covered with yachts of all kinds, steamers, and tugs, all making for a position to the north-east of the Scotland lightship.

About 10 o’clock the Puritan, in tow of a tug, passed Sandy Hook. She had on board Mr. Edward Burgess, her designer, with several others, including Mr. Edward Paddelford, representing the Genesta.

Five minutes later the Genesta left her anchorage in the Horseshoe under sail. There were on board of her Sir Richard Sutton, Sir Vere Levinge, and Messrs. J. Beavor Webb, Lapthorne, and William Krebs, the last representing the Puritan.

The Genesta was off Sandy Hook at about 10.40 a.m., but made such little progress that she was also taken in tow. The wind was then light from the north.

At 11 o’clock the ocean to the north-east of the lightship was almost covered with all kinds of craft. The weather was hazy. The yachts were prepared for the race.

Then came a long interval of waiting, the yachts and the judges’ boat being grouped near the lightship. The wind was so faint that it seemed as if the race might have to be abandoned. After 1 o’clock, however, the wind veered to south-south-east, increasing in force, and the race was ordered.

A preparatory signal was given by a long blast on the steam whistle of the judges’ boat at about 1.30 p.m., the starting signal being given five minutes later. This caused intense excitement. The crowds rushed to the sides of the excursion steamers, causing them to careen over until the bulwarks often touched the water. The wind was light from the south-east, moving barely five miles an hour.

The Puritan crossed the line at 1.35p.m., and the Genesta at 1h. 36min. 10sec. There was loud cheering with blowing of whistles on the start being made.

The movement of the yachts was very slow. Both stood on an easterly course. At 2.30p.m. they were standing to the eastward, near the lightship, the Puritan being to windward nearly half a mile ahead. At 3.10p.m. they still stood to the east, the Puritan being half a mile ahead to windward.

The betting favoured the Puritan.

The Puritan has gradually gained on the Genesta.

At 4.15p.m. both yachts went about, standing east-south-east, the Puritan being a mile ahead of the Genesta.

The wind is slightly stronger, but doubts are expressed whether the course will be sailed over in the allotted time.

Later - At 5.15p.m. the yachts again tacked, the Puritan being about 4½ minutes ahead of her rival. They had then sailed about 15 miles on the course, the Puritan appearing to be about two miles to windward of the Genesta.

The wind at sunset in New York was south-south-east and light.

The citizens are crowding round the newspaper bulletin boards in order to obtain the latest news.

Reuter’s Telegram - New York, Sept. 7, 9p.m.- To-day’s race having proved a failure, it will be sailed again to-morrow.”


Another attempt at sailing the first race ended before it began.


THE TIMES - Thursday 10 September 1885 - “THE AMERICA CUP - Philadelphia, Sept. 9.- The first yacht race will, if the Genesta’s repairs can be completed in time, be sailed on Friday next.

Every one blames the Puritan for causing the disaster by resorting to a movement which is a trick if unsuccessful, but good seamanship if successful. The New York Yacht Club rules governing the matter take effect when the preparatory signal is given. The following is Rule 14, governing crossing :-

“The yacht on the port tack must invariably give way to those on the starboard tack. In all cases where doubt of the possibility of a yacht on the port tack weathering one on the starboard tack shall exist, the yacht on the port tack shall give way.”

Rule 24, imposing a penalty, says :-

“Any yacht disobeying or infringing any of these rules - which shall apply to all yachts, whether sailing in the race or not - shall be disqualified from receiving any prize which she would otherwise have won if racing, and her owner in either case shall be liable for all damages arising.”

The preparatory signal was given at 11.30 a.m. The Genesta to leeward and the Puritan to windward stood down towards the starting-line on the port tack, both near together. When within a short distance of the Scotland Lightship, the master of the Genesta, seeing that she could not cross on the port tack, came about on the starboard tack. The master of the Puritan, instead of tacking, then tried to cross the Genesta’s bows with the intention of coming about on the Genesta’s weather bow. The yachts were so close together that a collision seemed inevitable. If the Genesta had held on her course she would have gone clean through the Puritan. She was forthwith put hard off, answering to her helm beautifully; but the change was of no use, and her bowsprit ran through the back of the Puritan’s mainsail. A crash followed.

The judges immediately decided that the Puritan was in fault. She came up to the judges’ boat. Mr. J. Malcolm Forbes, one of her owners, shouted “We want instructions. Shall we go over the course?” Judge Tams replied emphatically, “No.” The judges’ boat then steamed up to the Genesta, and Mr. Tams said, “We are sorry for the accident. The Puritan is ruled out. If you will go over the course the race is yours.” Mr. Roosevelt Schuyler called back, “Will you give us time to rig a spinnaker boom for bowsprit?” Mr. Tams replied, “Yes.” Then Sir Richard Sutton shouted, “No, no, we don’t want that sort of thing; you know we don’t want a walk over; we want a race.”

Returning to Staten Island, the Puritan’s owners consulted with the judges, the result being that Mr. Forbes wrote a letter which he sent on board the Genesta to Sir R. Sutton, saying that he regretted the accident, and offered to pay the damage; that the distance which the Puritan was from Genesta had been miscalculated, the Puritan’s master thinking that there was room to cross her bows.

The judges’ action meets with universal approval.

America wants a race, without “Yankee tricks.”

All our yachtsmen loudly praise Sir R. Sutton’s manliness in refusing to “walk over.” He has refused to be “interviewed” on the subject.

Captain Carter, who held the Genesta’s tiller at the time says :-

“I wonder the Puritan did not run under our stern instead of crossing our bows. If she had run under our stern and come about on the starboard tack she would have had an excellent position to windward of us, and could have crossed the line so.

“The Puritan’s skipper evidently intended to cross our bows, and then come about on our weather bow -  a very neat thing, if he could have done it; but as it was the plan could not have been carried out, even if the Puritan had successfully crossed our bows, for she would then have been too near the lightship. I kept the Genesta off, but could not prevent the accident.

“When the man at the wheel on the Puritan saw our big bowsprit shooting over him he dropped the spokes like hot pennies and ran forward. I think he did quite right; it was a narrow escape. I am glad it was not more serious. I hope we shall have a good race in a few days.”

Mr. Roosevelt Schuyler, who was on the Genesta, says :-

“We put the Genesta hard off as soon as we could. If we had held our course, as we had a right to do, under all racing rules and all rules of the road at sea, we should have cut the Puritan in two. The skipper of the Puritan took greater risks than he had any right to do in attempting to cross our bows in the manner he did. Even if he had succeeded in doing it, he would have been too near the lightship to come about on our weather bow and cross the line. He should have come about when we did, or have run under our stern.”

Mr. Burgess, who was sailing the Puritan, says :-

“I am very sorry that the accident happened. I thought we had room enough to cross the Genesta’s bows. It would have been impossible for us to cross the line on the tack we were on, as Captain Carter must have seen. Of course, the Genesta had the right of way; but I think, if she had kept off more, the collision would have been averted. The damage to our sail could have been repaired in a few hours.”

Mr. Forbes, who was also on the Puritan, says :-

“I deeply regret the accident. We entirely miscalculated our distance. We thought that we could cross the Genesta’s bows. As the preparatory whistle had been blown the yachts were amenable to the rules, and the Committee were acting under the rules in offering the race to Sir Richard Sutton. Sir Richard’s action in refusing to take the race on a walk-over was very generous and sportsmanlike. It is just what I should have expected of him.”

The Genesta’s bowsprit was broken off near the stem, where it was 18in. in diameter. One of her iron plates, to which the bobstays were attached, was also carried away. She is repairing to-day.

Little betting is going on, but large odds are offered on the Puritan because of her favourable showing under Monday’s light winds.”

Capt. John Carter and the crew of Genesta 1885

Capt. John Carter - Skipper of Genesta, Thalia and Britannia

Genesta at Erie Basin

New York Times - 11 September 1885

New York Times - 13 September 1885

NYT 13 Sept 1885a.jpg
NYT 13 Sept 1885b.jpg

NEW YORK TRIBUNE - Tuesday 15 September 1885 - “THE PURITAN WINS EASILY. SIXTEEN MINUTES AHEAD OF HER RIVAL. The English yacht found her superior yesterday in the beautiful Puritan of Boston. After four ineffectual attempts to sail a race for the America’s Cup the two yachts yesterday accomplished it and the American boat won. The Puritan led from the start and beat the English boat over sixteen minutes. The wind was light most of the time, but outside the Hook there was a fair sailing breeze. Never before in any waters probably was there such a fleet at a yacht race to see the contest. The race ended in a perfect din of cheers and salutes from fort and fleet. The Genesta cheered the Puritan and the Puritan cheered the Genesta, and there were good will and kindly feelings on both sides. Of the thousands who cheered the Puritan yesterday few doubt that she will beat [Genesta] in the next race of the series as she has the first. The second race, over the outside course, will be sailed to-morrow instead of to-day. The Genesta cracked her masthead cap in the race of yesterday, and this caused the postponement....

[Crowds estimated at 10,000 on the Fort Hamilton side, 30,000 at Fort Wadsworth and at least sightseers 20,000 on the water]

.... When the first whistle blew the yachts were playing around between Bay Ridge and Stapleton. They promptly began to work for position. The Puritan got to windward and crept down slowly and cautiously with the Genesta on her starboard side. When the whistle to start blew both boats tacked, filled and walked up to the line. In the above cut, the Puritan course is indicated by the lighter line, and the Genesta by the darker. Having got across, they sailed abreast, the Genesta tacking at 10.27.30, and the Puritan immediately after. They stood over for Clifton, the Puritan running closer to the wind than her rival. At 10.46.07 the Yankee boat tacked, and thirteen seconds later the Genesta followed (at b and H). The leg was a long one, reaching to a point at C below Dix Island. The Puritan drew away from the cutter gradually and tacked at e at 12.05. The Genesta tacked twelve minutes after. From then till she rounded the buoys the Puritan made extremely short tacks, going about at d at 12.19, at e at 12.32.16, at f at 12.40.45, at g at 12.53, at h at 1.02.30, at k at 1.06.30, at l at 1.16. She then took a port tack to M, passing the buoys No. 10 and No. 8½. After tacking at C the Genesta followed an entirely different route, she made longer stretches than the Puritan, going about at D at 12.31.40, at E at 12.49, at F at 1.05, from which point she rounded the buoys. At the point M the Genesta drew into the Puritan’s wake, or so nearly there that a distinguishing line cannot be shown on this chart. There was then four minutes and ten seconds difference in their time. Their course to and around the Sandy Hook Lightship, which the Yankee boat rounded at 2.14.51; and the Genesta at 2.19.16, was almost identical, and thence back there was but a slight difference till they tacked from P to Q. The Genesta stood in toward the Hook much further than the sloop. After rounding the buoys till the finish was made their course was so nearly a common one that the difference cannot be shown.

.... The time of the race was as follows:-

Puritan - Start 10h.32m.00s. Finish 4h.38m.05. Elapsed Time 6h.6m.5s. Corrected Time 6h.6m.5s.

Genesta - Start 10h.32m.00s. Finish 4h.54.52. Elapsed Time 6h.22m.52. Corrected Time 6h.22.24.

Thus the Puritan beat the Genesta on actual time 16 minutes and 47 seconds, and on corrected time 16 minutes and 19 seconds.

.... As the Genesta came alongside the judges’ boat Sir Richard Sutton shouted ; “Tow us close to the Puritan.” She was towed close to the Puritan and as she went by Sir Richard gave the signal and his British tars waved their red-tipped caps and gave three sturdy cheers for the Yankee boat. “Three cheers for the Genesta.” shouted Mr. Forbes in return, and then loud and long the Puritan’s people cheered the English yacht, her owner and her crew. As the Genesta was being towed by Fort Wadsworth a salute was fired in her honor from the casemated fort at the waters’ edge. When the Genesta had dropped her anchor off Tompkinsville Sir Richard Sutton called out to Mr. Tams; “I am very sorry, but we have cracked our yoke and cannot race to-morrow. It would not be safe to race until we get it repaired and we don’t want to take any risks.” So it was announced that the outside race would be sailed on Wednesday. The “yoke,” as it is sometimes called, is otherwise known in America as the mast-head cap and is the iron work at the head of the lower mast through which the topmast is stepped.... The people on the Genesta and on the Puritan all complained last night about the way in which the excursion steamers and tugs crowded around them. The steamers generally kept  to leeward, but not far enough to prevent their swash from interfering with the racers.


THE TIMES - Wednesday 16 September 1885 - “THE AMERICA CUP. Philadelphia, Sept.15. According to the corrected score, the Puritan sailed over the course yesterday in 6h. 6min. 5sec., and the Genesta in 6h. 22min. 24sec., the Puritan winning by 16min. 19sec.

Those on board of both yachts complained of the way in which the excursion steamers and tugs crowded them, interfering with the wind and also causing a “swash.” When the Genesta had passed the judges’ boat she was taken in tow. Sir Richard Sutton shouted to the tug, “Take us alongside the Puritan.” When she approached, all hands on board of her crowded the rail, and Sir R. Sutton cried, “Now, men, give them a British hurrah.” Three sturdy British cheers were forthwith given for the Yankee sloop, whose crew responded with repeated cheers for the English yacht, her owner, and her crew.

After the Puritan reached her anchorage at Stapleton, Staten Island, a tug bearing the members of the New York Produce Exchange went alongside and threw on board a pan of baked beans - typical of the origin of the Puritans of Boston.

The Genesta was towed through the Narrows, receiving a salute from the guns of Fort Wadsworth while passing.

The second race is postponed till to-morrow, the Genesta having cracked a yoke. Her masthead, moreover, needs repair.

Captain Carter, when asked about the race, replied:- “We have nothing to say. Those who saw it know as much about it as we do. The wind came in puffs and was very uneven inside the lower bay. It was better outside. I could not tell where we made the fastest speed, or if we should have done better had the course been out at sea, with the breeze stronger. The steamboats took the wind at times, and were somewhat in the way.”

The general opinion in New York is that the Puritan developed better points than her rival, and that she has the best chance of winning the next race.”

Genesta in the cup races



THE NEW YORK TIMES - 17 September 1885 -  “THE RECORD OF THE RACE - SKIPPER CARTER SHOWS THE YANKEE HOW TO HANDLE A BOAT. There was hardly any swell upon the ocean yesterday morning, but its surface was crisp with the ruffles of a fresh northwest wind when the judges’ boat arrived at the Scotland Lightship. The racers, with enormous club topsails set over their expansive mainsails, were shooting about with plain headsails ready for the start. The signal calling the boats to the line was sounded at 10:45 o’clock. The tug Scandinavian was dispatched immediately to log off the course, and the Luckenbach was anchored north of the lightship. The usual manoeuvring  for place resulted in the Genesta’s taking position north of the Luckenbach, while the Puritan was a little further off to the northwest. Such were their relative positions when the preparatory signal was given at 11 o’clock. The Puritan ran up her biggest balloon jib topsail in stops, while the Genesta set a small jib topsail. Both had their booms on the port side and their spinnaker poles lowered on the starboard side.

The wind, being west-northwest, was coming from the land; hence it was impossible to start the race to the windward, and the race was consequently laid 20 miles to the leeward, in the direction of east-southeast. As the yachts were to run before the wind they prepared to crowd on all their light canvas. The starting signal was given at 11:05, and the yachts were then coming to the line, the Genesta with the wind abeam of her starboard hand, the Puritan with the wind on her starboard quarter. The Englishman had timed his approach to the line very accurately and 16 seconds after the signal was given the Genesta veered away and slipped over the line, the time being 11:05:16. She set her enormous spinnaker without stops, and was just 31 seconds doing it.

Dr. Woodbury, who was on board the Luckenbach to represent the cutter, was delighted her getting over the line first, and he exclaimed with an outburst of rapturous exultation “That’s one time he got ahead of him!” But the truth of the matter was that the Yankee skipper had a little scheme of his own and purposely let the Englishman have the lead. He crossed the line at 11:06:01, just 45 seconds behind. He had his spinnaker up in stops in a jiffy and immediately broke it out, but he was not so quick about it as his adversary.

The tug Scandinavian, which had gone ahead to log off the course, was then an exclamation point with a tuft of cottony steam above it on the eastern horizon. The Puritan narrowly escaped a disastrous mishap at the very outset. Before her spinnaker was properly sheeted home the bellying sail caught a flaw and buckled up the stout pole like a slender slip of gutta percha until it seemed to be impossible to prevent its snapping in twain. But they are quick workers aboard the Yankee sloop, and they were up and doing time to save the pole. And it became evident what the Yankee skipper had in mind when her let the Englishman take the lead. He had chosen his position a trifle to the leeward of the cutter, and they had not run a mile and a half before he luffed across the latter, thus completely blanketing him. The Englishman had nothing to do but to pay off to the leeward and let the Yankee run by him, for he could not get wind enough to out-luff the latter. So the Yankee took the lead and secured the 45 seconds’ start of the Genesta as an offset to her time allowance.

At this time the Puritan was sailing much better than the Genesta. She stood up stiff as a church, with her sails drawing like a team of elephants. The Genesta, on the other hand, was rolling badly and constantly spilling the wind out of her mainsail and club topsail. At the same time she was going steadily to leeward, while the Puritan was steering straight after the exclamation point that stood for the logging tug.

All this time the Luckenbach was behind the yachts, puffing and blowing and churning frantically in her efforts to catch up. The Sandy Hook Lightship was already astern and the dome of the great hotel at Rockaway was just discernible upon the dip of the horizon to the northeast. The yachts were flying through the water at the rate of 10 miles an hour, but as the Luckenbach was making over 13 miles she overhauled them surely, if slowly.

During this time it was an exceedingly difficult matter for those on board the Luckenbach to determine which yacht was ahead. The partisans of each thought as their hopes inclined them, and the two sets of eyes gazing at the same objects saw very different things. To one set of eyes it was plain that the Genesta was ahead, while the other set saw equally plainly that the Puritan was leading. The controversy waxed hotter and hotter, until at last at 11:45 the Luckenbach got abreast of the Genesta to the leeward, and it then became manifest even to her stoutest champions that the Puritan was ahead of her. The Puritan’s lead was not very great - not more than a quarter of a mile - but it was enough to show that she was going through the water faster and enough to give promise of a decisive lead at the turning point.

The Puritan had taken in her balloon jib topsail, as it was of no use, and it only served to interfere with the drawing of her spinnaker. The Genesta still held on to her little jib topsail, and as it just covered the gap between the top of the spinnaker and the club topsail, it was a neat device of Skipper Carter to catch the wind spilled out of the bigger sail. It had hardly been remarked and commented on when, as if dissatisfied with it, the skipper took it in. At 11:58:45 the Genesta’s spinnaker suddenly fell flat against her head sails, and exclamations burst forth from many persons on the Luckenbach, who thought she had carried away something. But nothing was wrong about the cutter. The Englishman, being a man of resources, was simply trying one of the many little expedients he had learned in the course of his long and varied racing career, for snatching victory from defeat. He was merely taking in his spinnaker for the purpose of jibing his mainsail to starboard and resetting the auxiliary sail to port. He saw that by so doing he could make both sails draw better, and therein lay his only chance of reaching the outer mark before the Yankee. The cutter’s spinnaker pole is several feet longer than her mainmast, and consequently cannot be swung under the guys of her head sails. In order therefore to shift it from starboard to port it had to be unfastened at the foot and lifted bodily foot foremost over to the port side. All this had to be done before the mainsail could be jibed, yet so handy were the English sailors that at 12:02:30, less than four minutes after the spinnaker was taken in, the mainsail was jibed, and in three minutes fifteen seconds more the spinnaker was reset on the port side and was pulling like a locomotive.

Up to this time all had gone merrily for the American sloop. But now a change began to come over the complexion of the race. The time was 12:06, an hour had elapsed since the start, and the racers had gone over half of the outward course. So far the gain was altogether with the Puritan. But it speedily became apparent that the Genesta’s sails were drawing better than the Puritan’s. and that she was rapidly coming up on the sloop. The friends of the sloop wondered why her skipper could not see the improvement the shifting of sails had made in the cutter’s pace and avail himself of the example she set. The tug Scandinavian having logged off the course had anchored the buoy and come to a standstill, and was rising rapidly to the proportions of a respectable vessel. Yet the cutter, which had been astern three-fourths of the run was now showing her nose to the front as if she meant to round the mark ahead after all.

The wind had for some time been freshening, but its growing strength was imperceptible, owing to the furious pace at which the tug was flying before it. The thirteenth hour was drawing to a close, and the sky to the west and northwest was darkening as if a squall were in the air. The smaller steamboats and the sailing vessels that had been following the racers observed the signs in the heavens and turned their prows homeward, but the racers flew onward. It was not theirs to mind the gathering storm. The Genesta’s skipper, however, had been keeping his weather eye about him, and at 12:50 o’clock he took down his big club topsail, and a few minutes afterward sent up a smaller sprit topsail. The Puritan quickly followed the Genesta’s example, taking in her club, but she did not set another topsail. As the minutes sped without another topsail going up on the American sloop her crew were accused of tardiness, but it eventually dawned on observers that her skipper did not intend to set a topsail.

The Genesta was already ahead of the Puritan when the latter’s topsail came down. Deprived of this aid the Puritan fell rapidly behind, and when her skipper capped the climax by taking in his spinnaker nearly a mile away from the turning point, she was handicapped in a way that made her friends sick at heart. It was the first time in all her races that she had been poorly handled, and it seemed particularly unfortunate, not to say exasperating, to have the blunder come in a critical race. Up to this point in the race, with the exception of the clever manoeuvre executed at the start, all the management had been with the cutter, and all the sailing with the sloop. Still the sloop men did not despair, for those of them who had seen her sail in a breeze of wind and a sea felt a serene assurance that in the windward work the cutter would be no match for her.

The Genesta rounded the outer mark at 1:05:30, made a neat turn, hauled close on the wind, and went off west by south half south, with the wind on her starboard hand. There was an outburst of applause by steam and a gun or two as the cutter went round, but there was an evident want of enthusiasm about it. The Puritan rounded the mark at 1:07:36, 2 minutes and 6 seconds behind the Genesta, which had beaten her 1 minute 21 seconds on the run out. She did not make as neat a turn as the cutter, but she soon showed her neatness in a far more serviceable manner.

Now the steamers and tugs turned their noses into the wind, and it was suddenly discovered by the spectators that there was a breeze upon the ocean. The sea was not rough as yet, but there were plenty of whitecaps and indications already of a rising chop. Once on the wind the sloop immediately began to outfoot as well as to outpoint the cutter, and in a little while, besides eating out to the windward, had materially narrowed the gap. When she went about on the port tack at 1:24 and was followed 30 seconds later by the Genesta, she was still behind, but not half so much so as when she rounded the buoy. At 1:26 she housed her topmast, and at 1:35 the Genesta taking in her sprit topsail gave rise to the conjecture that she was also about to house hers. But she wasn’t. Instead of a sprit she set a working topsail and held on to it thereafter, as if her skipper believed that in it lay his only hope of success.

The wind, freshening every moment, was blowing a gale before 2 o’clock, and the cutter was having all the wind and weather her advocates have been so heartily praying for. The wind strengthened until it was blowing 37 miles an hour. It lashed the ocean into a fury of foam and fairly lifted great sheets of spray clean off the waves and carried them hundreds of feet. Every tug was wallowing frightfully in the choppy sea, enveloped in spray and encircled by rainbows. The Luckenbach was pitching furiously, shipping tons of water, and occasionally sending a stray hogsheadful clear across her deckhouse to deluge the unfortunate reporters, who, debarred from the pilot house by the committee and locked out of the cabin, were forced to take refuge under the lee side of the house.

This was cutter weather with a vengeance, yet the sloop was working to the windward of her, walking away from her in a truly wonderful manner. In fact, besides running fully a mile ahead, she had nearly winded her on the same tack, as she did the Priscilla in the windward race off Sandy Hook several weeks ago. She was already well forward of the cutter’s lee bow, and would soon have been on her weather bow, if the tack had lasted much longer, but the wind had hauled to northwest by north, and, both boats being well in toward the Long Island shore, the cutter’s skipper discovered that he could lay his course for the lightship, and at 2:16 went about on the starboard tack and stood for that mark. The Puritan was fully a mile further northward, yet she held on to the port tack two minutes longer, and lost all of that time as well as the distance between herself and the cutter. The yachts were then far to the east of Long Beach, yet they held on this tack clear to the lightship.

The Puritan gradually freed her sheets and ran down on a line converging with that followed by the cutter. She was heading into the seas, and she cleft them and leaped over them and sent sheets of foam on either side and showers of spray flying down the wind, but she did not bury half as badly as the cutter, which laid over on her port side until there was water several feet deep in her lee waist. It was a magnificent exhibition of sailing for fully 15 miles on one reach, and all that time the sloop was steadily overreaching the cutter. The Luckenbach had difficulty in keeping ahead of the Genesta, and the big steamer Columbia was unable to keep up with the Puritan. The Puritan overhauled the Luckenbach almost as fast as she overhauled the cutter. At last, head on the Sandy Hook Lightship and the Scotland, she ran down on the cutter and passed her to windward. The cutter made a futile attempt to luff for the purpose of keeping her from passing, but the sloop sped by her like the wind and finished fully a third of a mile ahead. The Luckenbach had not come to a stand abreast of the lightship more than two minutes when the Puritan crossed the line. It is no exaggeration to say that the Puritan beat the cutter three times in the race, and actually therefore sailed all around her. She finished at 4:09:15, 1 minute 24 seconds ahead of the Genesta, which finished at 4:10:39. She beat her 3 minutes 30 seconds in the windward work, 2 minutes 9 seconds over the course, and 1 minute 38 seconds on corrected time.

The official record of the race is as follows:

Puritan - Start 11h.06m.01s; Finish 4h.09m.15s; Actual Time 5h.03m.14s; Corrected Time 5h.03m.14s.

Genesta - Start 11h.05m.16s; Finish 4h.10m.30s; Actual Time 5h.05m.23s; Corrected Time 5h.04m.52s.”

[Forgetting to remind us that Genesta had beaten Puritan by 1 minute and 21 seconds on the outward leg.]

THE NEW YORK TIMES - 18 September 1885 - “THE CRACK YANKEE SLOOP TO BE SOLD NEXT WEDNESDAY AT AUCTION - Capt. Carter Thinks Privately that She is a Terror - Yachts to meet the Genesta To-day” - [Puritan was to be sold to pay back the consortium of investors who had her built for the purpose of defending the America’s Cup].... "Capt. Carter, of the Genesta, expressed himself as satisfied with the race. He was beaten fairly, and he thought he had been treated very nicely, for when his boat crossed the line at the finish she was cheered quite as heartily as the Puritan. The reason he held on to his topsail was that he knew he could carry it and he believed it helped him. The breeze was a good one, but he thought if the seas had been heavier he would have done better with the Puritan. He regretted that the Puritan was not entered for to-day’s race. In England if a boat were to make two lucky hits she would not be retired for the season without giving the other boat a chance for revenge. The Genesta, he said, was not a racing machine, but was habitable in racing condition just as well as out of it. It is said that in a confidential talk with a brother shipper Capt. Carter expressed the opinion that the Puritan was a terror.

Sir Richard Sutton and Sir William Levinge spent most of the day in this city, and were at the Union and New-York Yacht Clubs for a time. They did not seem to take the defeat of the Genesta much to heart. The subject was generally avoided by the New-Yorkers they came in contact with.... The race to-day will be over a triangular course 40 miles long, laid outside of Sandy Hook. The start will be from the Scotland Lightship, as near 10:30 a.m. as possible, and the first leg of the course will be either east by north or southeast by ¼ south, according to the wind. In the first case the second leg will be southwest by west ⅝ west and the third leg northwest ¼ west. In the second case the second leg will be northeast by east ⅝ east, and the third leg west by south. Following are the entries for the race. All but the Bedouin are expected to start. The sloops Athlon and Daphne and the cutters Clara and Isis have arranged a sweepstake between themselves:


New York Times 19 September 1885

Commodores Cup - NYT 19 Sept 1885
Commodores Cup - NYT 19 Sept 1885
Commodores Cup - NYT 19 Sept 1885

THE NEW YORK TIMES - 21 September 1885 - “THE DAUNTLESS MAY WIN - THE SCHOONER’S OWNER PRAYING FOR A GALE TO AID HIM - THE RACE FOR THE BRENTON’S REEF CUP TO BE BEGUN TO-DAY WITH ONLY TWO CONTESTANTS - The race for the Brenton’s Reef Challenge Cup will be started this afternoon at 4 o’clock from the Sandy Hook Lightship. The course is to and around the Brenton’s Reef  Lightship off the entrance to Newport Harbor and back to the Sandy Hook Lightship, a distance of about 300 miles. The cup, which is worth $2,500, was offered by Commodore James Gordon Bennett, in 1872, as a challenge cup to be sailed for by yachts of all nations. By the deed of gift the winner, at the expiration of 30 days after the race in which it is won, must accept any challenge and hold himself ready to sail within 15 days or forfeit the cup to the challenger; but if he should win it in two successive races in the same season he will not be liable to challenge until the beginning of the yachting season of the succeeding year. In case the cup is won by a foreign yacht the holder is liable to challenge during the succeeding yachting season for an ocean race from the Needles, Isle of Wight, to a point off the Harbor of Cherbourg and return. The races must be sailed, without time allowance, under the rules of the New-York Yacht Club, and in case the yacht winning it is sold out of the club to which it belonged at the time of winning, the cup must be returned to the New-York Yacht Club.... For the race to-day the only yachts entered up to last night were the cutter Genesta, Sir Richard Sutton, and the schooner Dauntless, Caldwell H. Colt, but it is to be hoped that, out of courtesy to Sir Richard Sutton, one or two more yachts will be in the start. Both the Genesta and Dauntless lay off Tompkinsville yesterday afternoon and were all ready for the race. The Signal Service reports a cyclone in the Gulf, with the disturbance threatening the Atlantic coast, so the race may be sailed in a gale, in which case the Dauntless may worry the cutter. A number of persons went out in small boats to get a near look at the Genesta, and several excursion parties on tugs ran alongside her and cheered her lustily. The Puritan lay off Stapleton, and was as much an attraction to sightseers as ever.”


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 22 September 1885 - “THE ENGLISHMEN AHEAD - Making Things Lively for the All New-York Eleven - They Score 111, with Five Wickets Down, to the Home Team’s 66 - The cool breeze which swept across New-York Bay yesterday caused a smaller attendance on the Staten Island Cricket Ground to witness the match between the visiting English team and the “All New-York” eleven than when the Englishmen played their first match on the same ground earlier in the month. Still the gathering was quite large, nearly all the well-known cricketers from the surrounding cities putting in an appearance. The terraces were well patronized by the Ladies’ Outdoor Amusement Club and their friends, lunch baskets with the usual accompaniments showing that they had come to stay.... During the early part of the game Sir Richard Sutton, Sir W. Levinge, Mr. Beavor-Webb, and Dr. Woodbury came ashore from the Genesta and watched the play with great interest....”

THE NEW YORK TIMES - 22 September 1885

THE NEW YORK TIMES - 23 September 1885 - “THE GREAT YACHT RACE - THE GENESTA LEADING THE DAUNTLESS BY FIFTEEN MILES - NEWPORT, R.I., Sept. 22.- The Genesta rounded Brenton’s Reef Lightship at 9:33 p.m. The wind was fresh from the north-northeast and a short chopping sea was running. She carried a mainsail, topsail, and three jibs, and reported the Dauntless as 15 miles astern.

NEWPORT, Sept. 23.- At 12:30 a.m. the Dauntless had not rounded the lightship. The breeze is moderating at this hour and hauling round to the northwest.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES - 24 September 1885 - “COMING BACK IN A STORM. THE GENESTA HAS A ROUGH EXPERIENCE. SEVERAL OF HER CREW INJURED AND ONE NEARLY WASHED OVERBOARD - THE DAUNTLESS MANY MILES BEHIND. The fourth race for the Brenton’s Reef Challenge Cup, instead of starting at 4 o’clock on Monday afternoon last, the appointed time, would not have been started much before midnight if the Press steam yacht Ocean King had not picked up the Genesta in the Swash Channel and towed her out to the Sandy Hook Lightship. The Regatta Committee’s boat, Luckenbach, had taken the Dauntless in tow and left the Genesta to sail out, but the wind soon fell so flat that the cutter, having to stem a strong flood tide, would in all probability not have been able to get outside of the Hook. As it was the start was an hour late, and then the wind was so light that both yachts had great difficulty to cross the line. The Genesta, after casting off her tow, stood to the eastward of the lightship and had a good deal of trouble to get back above the line. When she first tried to go about, after the preparatory signal had been given at 4:50, she had so little way on that she missed stays, and it was not until about 10 minutes later, when she caught a light sheet of air, that she gathered way enough to go about. She finally succeeded in getting close up to the southward of the Luckenbach, which was stationed about southeast from the lightship, and then veered around under the stern of the tug and went over the line at 5:12:35. The Dauntless, after drifting for a time helplessly to the westward of the line, managed to veer around and point her nose toward it. She crossed at 5:22:55.

At that time the sun was sinking behind a heavy bank of cloud. Immediately about the sun the cloud was convoluted, twisted, and suffused with a dull red, while further to the South it was a featureless mass of dull blue black. It was, indeed, a stormy sunset, and it gave every promise that the Signal Service prediction of a cyclone disturbance, extending from the Gulf up the Atlantic coast, would be speedily fulfilled. Still, yachtsmen who sail ocean races are not to be daunted by weather signs or prognostications; and even if they were, it was then too late to turn back, for their yachts were upon the open sea and their time had been officially taken. The wind, such as it was, was south at the start, but it soon died out, and then made a feeble attempt to start up again from south-west by south.

The Genesta meanwhile had run away from the Dauntless, which scarcely moved in the languid breeze, and by 6 o’clock was fully two miles ahead. About this time the bark Conte Arturo L, of Trieste, which had been towed to sea in the morning by the Ocean King, lay in position to blanket the Dauntless. The Genesta had passed her to the windward, but it was plainly impossible for the schooner to do likewise, and the skipper of the bark gallantly put up his helm and bore away to the leeward of the yacht. It took the old bark 10 minutes to get out of the yacht’s way, but she managed it. At 6:30 the Dauntless, catching a light breeze, began to overhaul the cutter, and by 7:15 was within half a mile of her. That, however, was nearer than she ever got to the cutter again. At 9 o’clock a light breeze sprang up from the south-east, and the Genesta, catching it first, ran away from the schooner. During the succeeding 20 hours the yachts encountered a most variable and baffling wind. It was generally light and from the southeast, but it repeatedly shifted three or four points to the eastward, and then back again, alternately heading the yachts off and enabling them to lay their course. The Ocean King, following close to the Genesta, left the Dauntless hull down before midnight, but at daylight on Tuesday morning she was discovered almost abeam of the cutter two or three miles in shore.

The Genesta, frequently forced to beat by the shifting wind, made her way slowly up the Long Island coast. At 12:20 on Tuesday morning she had Fire Island Light abeam, but did not get abreast of Shinnecock, 35 miles further eastward, until 8:55. It was 5 p.m. before she reached Montauk Point. From that time out, however, she made better time, and covered the 35 miles between Montauk and Brenton’s Reef in a trifle over four hours and a half. She rounded Brenton’s Reef Lightship at 9:38:50, and freeing her sheets to a fresh northeast wind, started on her homeward run like a scared duck.

The weather, which had been cloudy and threatening all during Tuesday morning, began to make up for mischief early in the afternoon. It began to rain shortly after 1 o’clock, and by 5 o’clock rain was falling heavily. The wind freshened steadily also as the afternoon waned, and by the time the Genesta rounded Brenton’s Reef Lightship a strong northeaster was blowing. At this time, too, Capt. Cantain, of the yacht Ocean King, made the unpleasant discovery that the clouds were scurrying across the sky from northwest to southeast, while the wind on the surface of the ocean was blowing from the northeast. This, taken with the fact that the barometer had been steadily falling during the afternoon and evening until it had reached the alarmingly low figure of 29.25, was accepted as an especially evil omen. Capt. Cantain had all of his awnings taken in and everything movable snugly housed, but the Englishman held on to his big sprit topsail and his jib topsail as if there was nothing like mischief in the air. He went flying on his way home, passing Point Judith at 10:15 and Block Island at 10:55. At 11:22, about four miles westward of the northwest light on Block Island, he passed the Dauntless going east. Nothing had been seen of her since noon, and as she had no main topsail set it was taken for granted that some accident had happened to her. She vanished like a shadow, and the Genesta sped on her way to the open sea. At 11:30 the wind fell flat, and for about 15 minutes there was almost a dead calm. Then the wind came out of the northwest, and by midnight a gale was howling over the ocean. Under its pressure the tremendous topsail of the Genesta heeled her over until at times her sails seemed to lie down flat upon the waves. Still the Englishman held on to his topsail, and at 12:25 yesterday morning had Montauk light abeam on her starboard hand. But by this time the wind had gathered too much strength even for a cutterman, and Capt. Carter attempted to shorten sail somewhat. He started with his jib topsail, but no sooner were the halyards let go than the sail was hurled into the water and torn into shreds. The fragments were caught up by the bobstay and the port guy of the bowsprit and brought home as fluttering rags. Notwithstanding that experience Capt. Carter held on to his topsail until 3:55. All this time he had been standing out to sea on the starboard tack. At 4:10 he went about on the port tack and stood in shore, and at the same time housed his topmast. At 5:30 the gale had increased so much in strength that he put a reef in his mainsail. At 6:19 there was so much sea running and the Genesta was plunging so heavily that Capt. Carter partly housed his bowsprit and set a smaller jib. At 6:50, about half way between Montauk Point and Shinnecock, he went about on the starboard tack within half a mile of the breakers and laid his course along the beach. There was less chop to the sea in there, but tremendous rollers went tumbling after each other toward the shore, where they broke in great clouds of spray, so that the coast seemed to be enveloped in a thick fog bank. The little cutter bobbed up and down on these huge waves like a cork, at times plunging head foremost until her bowsprit disappeared clear up to the catheads, at times lying over on her port side until her mainsail lapped the sea 15 feet above the boom, at times shipping a sea that swept her decks from stem to stern, to the imminent peril of every man on deck.

About noon one of these seas tumbled over her weather bow and swept two men from their feet in her lee waist. One of the men was thrown violently upon the deck, where he lay stunned, while the other was swept half overboard and hung across the rail with his legs dangling in the sea. Fortunately, however, two of his shipmates grabbed him in the nick of time and dragged him back to the deck. This incident occurred off Fire Island. At 12:25 a second reef was put in her mainsail, and at 2:30 the third and last reef was taken in. It was all an exceedingly difficult and dangerous job, reeling in that heavy sea, it being necessary to send two men along the main sheet out to the end of the boom, which would frequently fly up into the air with a jerk sufficient to throw them 50 feet away, and at other times dip alarmingly near to the crests of the waves. At the same time it was necessary for a number of men to be in the lee waist, incurring the peril of being swept overboard by the violent seas that were consistently sweeping her deck. At this time the wind was blowing from 45 to 60 miles an hour.

After the last reef was put in her mainsail, the Genesta’s staysail, which had been previously reefed, was taken in, and then she made much better weather, as well as better time, and by 4:45 she was off the big hotel at Rockaway. Then she bore broad off and ran down to the Sandy Hook Lightship, which was about five miles south of the course she had laid. She luffed around the lightship and finished her perilous race at 5:19:40. Her official time was 48:19:40, and her actual time, having been handicapped 12 minutes 35 seconds at the start, was 48:07:05. This is the slowest time that has ever been made over the course, the previous records being 32 hours, 39 hours, and 43 hours, the first made by the schooner Idler and the other two by the schooner Rambler. The Dauntless was reported off Fire Island about the time the Genesta was finishing. She was about 33 miles behind.

After the Genesta passed the lightship she signalled the Ocean King for a tow just as that vessel, which had stopped a short distance north of the lightship to pick up a drifting rowboat, was about to run down and offer to tow her up to Staten Island. The sea was so rough that it was very difficult to get a tow line aboard the yacht, the danger of the two vessels coming violently together being very great. After repeated efforts, however, the line was finally got aboard, and the yacht was towed up to Tompkinsville. On the way up, while trying to get in her jib, a man was struck on the head by a block and painfully cut, though not seriously injured. The man previously stunned was revived in the Genesta’s cabin. Her list of casualties included one man whose ankle was broken, the same who was nearly washed overboard, one man injured internally, and one man with a broken finger. Sir Richard Sutton and his guests escaped injury. The Genesta also parted the port side stay of her bowsprit and was therefore unlucky in saving that stick.

The boat picked up by the Ocean King may be claimed by its owner of the police at Atlantic Dock, Brooklyn.”


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 27 September 1885 - “Sir Richard Sutton, the owner of the English cutter Genesta, sailed for England at 6 o’clock yesterday morning on the Cunard steamship Etruria. Owing to the early hour at which the vessel left, few persons went down to the steamer to bid farewell to the returning yachtsman.”


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 29 September 1885 - “WINNING A THIRD VICTORY - THE GENESTA’S EASY VICTORY OVER THE DAUNTLESS - THE RACE TO CAPE MAY AND BACK PRACTICALLY LITTLE MORE THAN A WALKOVER FOR THE ENGLISH CUTTER - The race for the Cape May Challenge Cup between the Genesta and the schooner Dauntless, which was finished yesterday morning by the return of the Genesta, was in reality little more than a walkover for the Genesta, as she held the lead from start to finish, and came in many hours ahead. The yachts had an excellent start on Saturday afternoon. The starting signal was given at 3:57, and the Genesta, crossing 15 seconds later, was handicapped by so many seconds, while the Dauntless started 1 minute and 5 seconds behind the Genesta and was handicapped 1 minute and 20 seconds. Between two yachts at all equally matched this difference of time in starting would, in so long a race, 246 miles, have amounted to nothing at all. But the Dauntless requires half a gale of wind to drive her through the water at her best, while the Genesta attains her highest speed in moderate or fresh breezes. In this race the Genesta had every advantage; the winds were moderate throughout and the sea exceptionally smooth.

At the start the tide was at the first of the flood, and there was a moderate wind from the south-southeast. Both yachts crossed the line on the starboard tack, the Genesta having a lead of about a quarter of a mile, which she increased to fully a mile and a half before she went about. Soon after the racers crossed the line the wind hauled to the south and freshened materially, so that whatever they gained by going through the water faster was more than counterbalanced by their having to beat down the Jersey coast. The Dauntless held the windward position at the start, and for a time seemed to point very well with the Genesta, but at the end of an hour and a half she had sagged to the leeward, besides being badly outfooted by the cutter, and she went about at 5:28 to try her luck on another tack. She was then carrying, in addition to her ordinary sails, a club topsail, maintopmast staysail, and balloon jib topsail. Soon after going about she took in her balloon jib topsail and set a small jib topsail. The Genesta carried a sprit topsail, plain head sails, and a little jib topsail. She held on the starboard tack 11 minutes longer than the Dauntless, and finally went about on the latter’s weather quarter nearly hull down. Such were the relative positions they occupied standing down the Jersey beach when darkness shut them out of sight.

 The ocean tug Luckenbach, after convoying the Genesta for a while, went over to bear the Dauntless company, and when this yacht went about off Seabright, at 6:35, she left her again to look for the Genesta. From the time when darkness concealed her the yachtsmen on board the Genesta saw nothing more of the Dauntless until about 5 o’clock on the following afternoon, when they passed her on their return from the Cape May Lightship. However, from the decks of the Luckenbach, which failed to pick up the Genesta immediately, the Dauntless was seen to go about off Long Branch at 7:30 0’clock. At the same time the Genesta was off Ashbury Park. The Genesta, standing alternately in and off shore, beat her way down the coast, and at 9:30 made Barnegat Light south west by south, about 20 miles distant.

The moon, two days on the wane, came up soon after 7 o’clock. As the Genesta was leading, the Luckenbach kept with her. The Dauntless was far astern. If there had been no other sails in the field of vision it might have been possible to distinguish her during the greater part of the night, but there were sails in every direction, and it was like looking for a particular stalk in a cornfield to try and make her out in that shadowy fleet. At 2 A.M. of Sunday the Genesta had made Tucker’s Beach Light, at the entrance of Egg Harbor, and by 4 A.M., when she was abreast of this, Absecom Light was blinking over the waves. When morning dawned there was the same stately procession of sailing and steam craft, and soon after 7 o’clock one of the latter, the City of Atlanta, bound from Charleston to New-York, turned out of her course to avoid going to the windward of the Genesta, whom she saluted as she passed. The cutter’s colors were fixed to her mast and her peak, and she consequently could not answer the salute, so the Luckenbach answered for her.

The Dauntless could not be seen even with a glass, and at 9 o’clock, after the Genesta had passed Absecom, the Luckenbach went back to look for her. The Luckenbach steamed fully five miles, but even then there was no sail in sight that could be made out as hers. By this time the Genesta was dropping down below the southern horizon and the Luckenbach could not venture any further north without running the risk of losing her. When the Genesta was overtaken, the “Northeast End” or upper lightship on the Five Fathom Bank was visible in the southwest. From this lightship to the “Five Fathom” or Cape May Lightship, which is the one the Genesta had to turn, the distance is 11 statute miles. The wind was south and light, and as the Genesta made slow progress the Luckenbach went straight to the lightship and awaited her arrival there. The afternoon was more than half gone when she went round the lightship, which she did at 8:35:23. She came down to it on the starboard tack, luffed around, set her spinnaker, and swept grandly away on the homeward journey.

Both lightships were flying flags and bunting in expectation of the racers, and at the lower was found the sloop Ellwood Becker, in which a party of adventurous Jersey men had come out from Atlantic City, about 30 miles distant. At 5:15 P.M. the Dauntless was sighted in the northeast, above the upper lightship. Half an hour later the Luckenbach, which had been immediately steered for her, came up with her. It was then discovered that her foretopmast had gone by the board. It was in all probability lost by carrying her big balloon jibtopsail without properly staying it, as there had been no wind sufficient to carry anything away. Otherwise she was all right, and after saluting her the Luckenbach steamed away to overtake the Genesta. The Dauntless was then about 14 miles from the lower lightship, and consequently 28 miles behind.

Night set in after a stormy-looking sunset. The wind had fallen, and for an hour and a half, from 6:30 to 8 o’clock, there was an almost dead calm. Then a light wind came out of the west and forced the Genesta to take in her spinnaker and jibe her mainsail from port to starboard. The wind increased steadily and by 10 o’clock was blowing a good whole-sail breeze, before which the cutter was scudding with free sheets. The wind, however, gradually backed to the north and forced her to do a little beating before morning. She was by that time, however, well above Barnegat, and when, after daybreak, a fine breeze came from the north-east, she was able to lay her course for the Sandy Hook Lightship, which she passed at 10:11:55 in the forenoon, thereby finishing the race and winning her third cup. She was at once taken in tow by the Luckenbach and brought up to Staten Island. On the way up she bent a Royal Yacht Squadron signal to her signal halyards over three of her private signals to indicate  that she had won three races, and these she dipped from time to time in answer to salutes. The  steam yachts Nooya and Wanda and the sloop Fanny, lying between Stapleton and Tompkinsville, Staten Island, saluted her with guns as she passed. The Genesta’s time was the slowest ever made over the course in a race for this cup. Her actual time was 42 hours 14 minutes 55 seconds, and her official time was 42 hours 14 minutes 40 seconds.

 Up to a late hour last night the Dauntless had not passed Sandy Hook. A telegram from one of her passengers, sent to a telegraph station by a passing vessel, was received at 10 o’clock, stating that she was becalmed about 30 miles outside the Hook. In that case she will probably be towed up to Tompkinsville this morning.”

The Brenton's Reef and Cape May Challenge cups won by Genesta


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 4 October 1885 - “THE GENESTA GOING HOME. TO SAIL ON TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY - The English cutter yacht Genesta was towed to Poillon’s shipyard, in Brooklyn, on Friday, and the racing spars were taken out of her. The spars with which she crossed the ocean will be put in, and the yacht will probably sail for England on Tuesday or Wednesday. She will be taken back by the same crew which brought her from England and has been on her during the recent races.


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 9 October 1885 - “THE GENESTA HOMEWARD BOUND. THREE OF HER CREW DESERT, FEARING THE PERILS OF THE SEA. The Genesta tried hard to sail yesterday morning and failed, owing to circumstances over which presumably she had no control. Jonas Bicheno, the steward;  Norman Fisher, the carpenter, and Harry Bown, an able seaman, declined to confide their persons to the Genesta for a transatlantic crossing. They demanded the ‘praise and conduct’  money which they considered their due, and Capt. Carter refusing to hand it over, they left the cutter and started for New-York. Bown went at once to the office of the British Consul, where he inquired if he could be arrested for leaving the Genesta. He was informed that he could not be arrested, and then asked what could be done to recover money which he claimed was his due. He was told that no answer could be given to this question unless the articles of agreement were shown.

“The three men shall be arrested as soon as they reach England,” said Capt. Carter, as he superintended the arrangements for the departure of the cutter. “They have the clothes belonging to the ship, and on that ground they shall be arrested under the laws of England. The ‘praise and conduct’ money which they claim is never given to men until after the vessel starts. Their wages have been regularly forwarded to their wives in England according to arrangement. As for their absurd fears of crossing the ocean in the Genesta, why all I can say is that it is safer than many a bigger vessel. I have had dozens of applications for passages.”

Nevertheless, according to the voluble Staten Island dock hands at the landing stage of Tompkinsville, all the men had expressed their dislike of the transatlantic crossing, but - to quote one of the hands - “they dursn’t say their souls was their own.” At 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon the Genesta, with all her sails up, left Tompkinsville. Guns were fired from the Bay Side Hotel, the steam yacht Wanda, and Caldwell H. Colt’s sloop Wizard.”

ALSO - "MARINE INTELLIGENCE, NEW-YORK, Thursday, Oct. 8.- SAILED - Yacht Genesta, for Portsmouth, England.”


THE SUN (NEW YORK) - 9 October 1885 - “GOOD-BYE TO THE GENESTA. One of Her Crew Refuses to Take the Chances of Sailing Back in Her. Mr. Francis Pares Osborn has not bought the Genesta, and that fast cutter is still owned by an Englishman. Despite all the reports, Mr. Osborn never made but one bid for the cutter, $20,000, and Mr. J. Beavor-Webb, as agent for Sir Richard Sutton, never came down a cent from his first price, $30,000. The Genesta weighed anchor yesterday afternoon, and started back to England with the Brenton’s Reef cup and the Cape May cup on board.

For the last few days Captain Carter has been busy getting his boat in order for its long ocean sail.

Capt. Gilchrist, who navigated the cutter to this port, came over about a week ago to sail her home again. Capt. Carter was not pleased with his behaviour, and gave Capt. Gilchrist his walking papers, and then had to look around for some one to take his place. He got Capt. Saunders, a Nova Scotia man, and was just beginning to feel all right, when some of the seamen said they would not return in the Genesta. Capt. Carter refused to pay them if they left the Genesta here, declaring that they had shipped for the voyage “out and back.” One of the men went up to see the British Consul yesterday morning. As he had not seen the shipping papers, the Consul could not say to what the sailor was entitled, but told him that he could not be arrested as a deserter if he should leave the Genesta without the money owing to him. The man seemed to think that America in dry clothes and with no money was preferable to England in wet clothes with money, and told Capt. Carter that he wasn’t “a goin’ to go on the bloomin’ craft.”

“Very well,” said Capt. Carter, “take your uniform off and go ashore.” At first the sailor refused to take his uniform off. “Very well,” said Capt. Carter, with indifference “wear it ashore if you choose. Only, if you do wear it ashore, I’ll have you arrested as a deserter as soon as you get both feet on land.”

Then the sailor man went below and divested himself of his blue Guernsey jacket and his black trousers, and finally he went ashore. All the morning the gig went back and forth to the Tompkinsville landing, taking casks of water out to the yacht. About 2 o’clock sufficient water was in the tanks, and the last preparations were made. The railings which contributed to prevent Mr. Tams and others from sliding overboard when the cutter heeled in the Brenton’s Reef race had been removed, and replaced by boards with holes at irregular intervals to allow the water to run freely from the scuppers. The gig was lashed on deck, and the last trip between the yacht and the shore was made in a shore boat. At 2¾ the sailors began running around on the Genesta’s deck, and in a few minutes they had set the mainsail, the forestaysail, and the jib. By that time the anchor had been weighed, and at 2:50 the Genesta started on her homeward trip.

At the Seawanaka club house two guns were fired and the steam yachts which had any steam up remarked “Toot, toot” encouragingly. The sailing yachts said much the same thing, but through fog horns, and then everybody shouted “Good luck.” By 3 o’clock the Genesta was well down in the Narrows, heading out.

The steward and the carpenter of the Genesta did not sail on her, but will go home by steamer. The racing spars, rolled up in canvas, and the funny little round dory will be sent to Glasgow on the Anchor line steamer Ludgate Hill, which sails next Wednesday.

The Genesta started with a fresh northeast wind. It was rainy and thick off shore. She is bound for Portsmouth direct and then for the Isle of Wight, where she will be laid up.

Lieut. Henn’s challenge for the America’s cup will be considered at the next meeting of the New York Yacht Club, which will beheld on Thursday, the 22nd of this month. Lieut. Henn asks for five races, the winner of three to take the cup. Mr. Minton, Secretary of the Yacht Club, said that the deed of gift of the cup was very elastic, leaving all the details of the races for the cup to the discretion of the club holding it, and that there was nothing in the deed by which the number of races was limited to three.”

[Capt. Lemon Cranfield, of Rowhedge, was skipper of Lieut. Henn’s yacht Galatea at this time. He decided she had no chance of making a successful challenge for the America’s cup and moved on to captain another yacht.]


THE NEW YORK TIMES - 29 October 1885 - “THE GENESTA’S TRIP ACROSS THE ATLANTIC. HER ARRIVAL CAUSES MUCH ENTHUSIASM - LONDON, Oct. 28.- The Genesta, which was defeated in the recent races for the America’s Cup by the Puritan, arrived at Portsmouth at 9 o’clock this morning. She came into port flying three first prize flags won in her contests with American yachts. Great enthusiasm was manifested by the crowds on board the men-of-war and yachts in the harbor, and cheer upon cheer greeted her. It is believed that the time of the Genesta’s trip across the Atlantic, 20 days and 10 hours, beats the best yacht record. The wind during the voyage was north-northeast to west, with occasional strong heavy seas, which greatly retarded her progress. Twice the Genesta was hove to, and the whole trip was made under reefed trysails. The only mishaps were the breaking of the mate’s ankle and a slight disarrangement of the steering gear. The best runs were as follows: On the 12th inst., 238 miles; 13th, 240 miles, and 14th, 200 miles. The crew of the Genesta speak of their treatment in America with enthusiasm. [The Genesta’s time does not break the ocean yacht record as stated in the above dispatch. In the ocean yacht race sailed in December, 1866, the Henrietta crossed the Atlantic in 14 days, 4 hours, and 40 minutes, a record 6 days, 5 hours, and 20 minutes better than that of the Genesta.]”

THE TIMES  - Friday 27 May 1887 - Notes that “John Carter, who had charge of the Genesta in the American matches, will again sail her and have a crew of Essex fishermen”


In 1887, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's accession to the throne, a round-Britain yacht race was organised. The first race of its kind it attracted enormous public attention and brought great prestige to the Colne as Genesta was the winning yacht. 

THE TIMES - 16 June 1887

Genesta - Jubilee Race 16-6-1887 a.jpg

THE TIMES - 17 June 1887

THE TIMES - 20 June 1887

THE TIMES - 18 June 1887

THE TIMES - 27 June 1887

THE TIMES - 25 June 1887

THE TIMES - 28 June 1887

Genesta - Jubilee Race 28-6-1887 a.jpg
Genesta - Jubilee Race 28-6-1887 b.jpg

THE TIMES - 24 January 1893 - “YACHTING - John Carter, of Wivenhoe, who had charge of Sir Richard Sutton’s Genesta when she competed for the America Cup in 1885, and was during the last two seasons on the 40-rater Thalia, has been appointed sailing master of the Prince of Wales’s new cutter Britannia.”

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