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AMERICA'S CUP HALL OF FAME > INDUCTEES > Charlie Barr, 1993 Inductee

Charlie Barr

Charlie Barr built a reputation as a winning skipper both in England and the United States. In 1899 he was selected as captain of the Cup defender COLUMBIA, which defeated Sir Thomas Lipton's SHAMROCK in three straight races. He sailed COLUMBIA so well in the 1901 Cup trials that she was given the nod over the new CONSTITUTION, a much faster boat. COLUMBIA'S series against SHAMROCK II was the closest sailed for the Cup up to that time. COLUMBIA won the first race by 1 minute, 20 seconds, then took the second by more than three minutes. SHAMROCK II crossed the line two seconds ahead of COLUMBIA in the third race but had to allow the defender 43 seconds on handicap and lost the race by 41 seconds.

Captain Barr skippered RELIANCE in the 1903 Cup series against SHAMROCK III. RELIANCE defeated SHAMROCK III in three straight races, with Captain Barr handling the 144 FT yacht like she was a small boat. In 1904, he raced the steel Herreshoff schooner INGOMAR in England and Germany, winning 19 of 22 races. The following year, he sailed the great three-masted schooner ATLANTIC from Sandy Hook to the Lizard in England in 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute, 19 seconds, a sailing record that stood for 75 years. Captain Barr had a reputation for driving himself as hard as he did the yachts that came under his command. He died of a heart attack in England at the age of 46. His sailing career is best summarized by W.P. Stephens in the following quote:

"He knew the rules and his rights under them, and he claimed all that was coming to him - and sometimes a little more. Handling COLUMBIA in her second season as a man would a bicycle, turning her as on a pivot, he took chances with her that would have been dangerous in the extreme for the average good skipper. He knew every one of his opponents as well as he knew his yacht. Such a combination aboard a tried yacht was hard to beat."

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