February 4, 2014

The Current: March 2013 – March 2017

February 2014 - November 2010 - All All the text from the newsletters.

February 2014

Attention Classic Yacht Enthusiasts! 
Mark your calendar for our SIXTH Classic Yacht Symposium to be held on May 2, 3 and 4 in Bristol. This Symposium will celebrate the centennial year of three of NGH's iconic designs: the Newport 29, the Buzzards Bay 25 and the classic 12 1/2 as well as presentations on a spectacular twelve meter refit and a chance to view the newly built RELIANCE model project. The RELIANCE project is stunning in its accuracy and scope and showcases the genius of NGH. 
Friday's events include the popular boatyard tour of current restoration projects in Newport and Bristol. We will visit the CORONET project at IYRS, the NY 30 MINX at Baltic Boat Works with Jens Lange and the RELIANCE model project team at #28 Burnside Street.  Each stop on the tour will run approximately one hour and will be followed by a Q&A session. You may then proceed to HMM where you can pick up the CYS 2014 Proceedings Booklet and CD, view the new exhibits on display and enjoy a welcome cocktail reception. Don't forget to view our newest acquisition to the HMM boat collection: a Class B frostbite dinghy, (HMCo. #1264) ANKLE DEEP. She is a gift from the Moody family in Oklahoma and is in pristine condition. 
Saturday morning presentations will begin at 0830 hours at Roger Williams University. Presenters include NGH's grandson, Halsey C. Herreshoff,  who will provide an introduction to the Centennial classes, Ed McClave and Andy Giblin of MP&G will speak on the origins of the sleek Buzzards Bay 25 class, Chris Wick, COURAGEOUS crew member in 1974, will report on the Newport 29 which will be in the water at HMM, Steve Nagy will address the evolution of the 12 1/2, Erick Singleman will discuss traditional boat building and restoration in the modern era and the Cooper/Suitor team will recount the history of the 12 1/2 class at the Quissett Yacht Club in Falmouth, MA.  CYS veteran, Adam Langerman, N.A. and Jamestown resident, Steve Frary, will present on yet another Herreshoff design, ARION. ARION was designed by Halsey's father, Sidney DeWolf Herreshoff. The 42' ARION yawl/ketch was game-changing in design and material and well ahead of its time. Are you a twelve meter fan? Then you won't want to miss David Pedrick, N.A. and Allan Savolainen's presentation on the spectacular refit of the twelve meter, BLUE MARLIN currently underway at Red Sky Boatyard in Finland. We are hopeful that BLUE MARLIN's owner, Henrik Andersin, will be on hand to field questions and share his experiences. Sandy Lee will give a presentation on the RELIANCE model project. Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.
After Saturday's presentations at RWU, you are invited back to HMM for a celebration of HMCo.'s centennial designs. Champagne and birthday cake will be served. Saturday evening dinner will be on your own.
On Sunday morning, Halsey Herreshoff and Curator Emeritus, John Palmieri will conduct HMM Model Room tours and Sandy Lee and his team will offer RELIANCE model project tours as well.
The Herreshoff Marine Museum is mindful of our CYS audience and its quest for greater knowledge and depth regarding classic yacht traditions. We are in a unique position to share that knowledge with you. We strive to place that quest within a meaningful context and format at our symposia. We welcome your feedback and comments.
We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at CYS 2014. Please join us for a delightful and fun weekend in May. Keep in mind that seating is limited. Please register online at www.herreshoff.org.
Jan Davison
CYS 2014

The Second Annual Frost Biter's Bash was a Huge Success!
We want to thank all the sponsors, donors, committee members, and ticket-buyers for making this winter fund-raising event a fabulous evening. We are also thankful that the weather, which threatened to snow us out, ultimately relented and provided a nice winter scene with no new snow. The Museum was transformed into a magic venue with food stations supplied by local restaurants and caterers, bars, special lighting, games and music. Nearly 50 people, including volunteers and sponsors, worked tirelessly without compensation to help ensure that the party would be a success. The 200 people in attendance had a most enjoyable evening and at the same time provided essential support to the Museum.The 2nd annual Frost Biter's Bash at the Herreshoff Marine Museum was a huge success! Check out some photos of the Bash taken by Molly Lo. 

Winter Lecture Series Continues on February 27
Dyer Jones: America's Cup Now and Then 
Dyer Jones is currently the Chairman of the Selection Committee of the America's Cup Hall of Fame at the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI.   Dyer started his career with the America's Cup in 1967 working for the Columbia syndicate where he spent the summer hauling sails up and down the dock.  He was the Regatta Director for the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Series in 2000 and 2003 in Auckland, NZ, and Regatta Director for the 32nd America's Cup in 2007 in Valencia, Spain.  He has worked for the past 40 years at The Anchorage, Inc. in Warren, RI, which builds Dyer Boats (he is named for the firm's founder, his grandfather, William Dyer).  Dyer is a former Commodore of the New York Yacht Club and served as its Race Committee Chairman during the memorable 1983 America's Cup.   He is also the co-author with Luigi Lang of an authoritative history of the 12 Metre Class.

Curator’s Log
CYS 2014- Origins of the Buzzards Bay 25 and the H12½; Correcting the Record
This Log corrects the misinformation about the development of the Buzzards Bay 25 and the Buzzards Bay Boys Boat (H12½) presented in the December 2013 Curator’s Log, CYS 2014- Celebrating Herreshoff Centennials That Almost Did Not Happen

Unfortunately in my enthusiasm to relate the interesting story of Nat Herreshoff’s (NGH) creation of this year’s CYS Herreshoff Centennial Yachts I was wrong about the BB25 and H12½ and thankfully quickly heard about it from Maynard Bray and Claas van der Linde. The errors include incorrectly reporting the timing and origins of the designs of the two boats, not recognizing there were two Emmons (H. Nelson and Robert W.), not delving into the NGH/Emmons correspondence, and missing facts about the possible design heritage of the H12½. So with much help from Maynard and Claas plus a closer look at Nat Herreshoff’s correspondence, let me correct the record. 

Origin of the Buzzards Bay 25
The first incorrect fact on timing and origins of the designs was this- Robert Emmons first visited Bristol to discuss his idea for the H12½ class in March 1914. Actually NGH’s diary for March 26, 1914 identifies the visitor as “Nelson Emmons” (Robert and he shared the same grandfather and both were very active at the Beverly Yacht Cub.) The visit is just two days before the contract for the first four Buzzards Bay 25 boats and positively concerned that class, not the H12½. This view is born out by the following exchange of letters and subsequent deliveries:(I)

•    Oct. 29, 1913 H. Nelson Emmons wrote NGH a three page letter about the plans of “the gentlemen who sail boats at Marblehead” to have designed “an ideal boat for pleasure sailing and racing” about the size of NGH’s 1901 21-foot WL ARETHUSA (HMCo 574).   Marblehead envisioned a boat of about 20 ft 6 in. WL, 35 ft. OA, 7 ft. 6 in. B, 5 ft. D, carrying 550 sq. ft. sail (550 is the sail rating of the BB25) on a displacement of 6000 lbs. Nelson thought the overhangs to be to extreme; for a new class he wanted a “good sensible boat… not costing over $2,000… that could sail well at Marblehead, Buzzards Bay, Long Island Sound and elsewhere” to permit interclub racing. He sought Nat’s advice; “You have such an infinitely greater knowledge of the designing of boats than anyone else, and also making rules for their design and construction, that we prefer to ask your advice on the question of a new class for Buzzards Bay before doing anything.”

•    Nat’s response on Nov. 2nd was very direct, “I don’t want to criticize the North Shore people but I cannot imagine any one preferring a boat such as you describe…excepting it is for racing under waterline measurements. It is strange they cannot realize how much better in every way a boat with more waterline and shorter over all is- better sea boat in rough time, always pleasant to sail, easier handled, less cost, stronger and consequently longer lived.” 

•    He went on to describe his ideal boat and the basis for it, “My ideal boat for Buzzards Bay must comply with about the requirements I found in my winters at Bermuda and which I made a special study… strong wind at times with rough sea, many days with light airs and smooth water- capable of passing over many shoal places… The boat I built (ALERION III)…  which proved a great success is perhaps somewhat smaller than you would prefer for the Bay.”  He roughed out the type he would like to build when he had the time, a little smaller than the eventual BB25, but with the same, “High freeboard, good flare forward and sufficient forefoot to insure going into a sea without pounding… with (a) small cabin…for 2,,, (and) not very expensive”. 

•    Nelson’s next letter of March 24, 1914 set up a meeting for two days later that resulted in the contract for the BB25. He discloses that while Nat wintered in Bermuda he had corresponded with Nat’s son, L. Francis, about the design and apprises Nat of his difficulty “owing to hard times” of getting promises for the first five boats, emphasizing the importance to some of not exceeding a price of $2000. (II)  He asks for 5 to 7 boats to be built in three months time; “before July 1st at the latest… Our first race is the 17th of June and we would like to have them by that date but we suppose that us asking a little too much”.

•    The record of delivery dates is incomplete, but we do know from NGH’s diary that the first BB25, MINK (733), was trialed on June 14 and the third boat (736) was delivered on June 27. They were all priced at Emmons maximum of $2000. 

Origin of the Buzzards Bay Boys Boat (H12½)
At this writing some avenues of research remain to be completed and will be reported in the March Log.  It is clear however, that a second error in the December Log was the following- Emmons impatient with the lack of progress of a design for the Buzzards Bay Boys Boat visited in August, September and finally got Nat’s attention in a phone call on October 9. 

Robert W. Emmons, widely recognized as the “father” of the H12½, managed the America’s Cup syndicate building the defender RESOLUTE at HMCo, with trials starting May 3rd and continuing through the summer. It is not possible to know which project was discussed at each of the many meetings or “calls”. The call in question was actually on October 10th and included George Cormack, Secretary of the New York Yacht Club, so Cup matters were most probably discussed. Any conclusions beyond this must await the March report.

Regardless of the outcome of the origins of the H12½, you won’t go wrong if you mark your calendar to attend the 6th Classic Yacht Symposium the weekend of May 2-4, 2014. You will learn much about the three Herreshoff Centennial classes and the genius and fortitude of the man who created them. 

John Palmieri

 I. Access to NGH’s correspondence and diary courtesy of Halsey C. Herreshoff
II. A search of the on-line L. Francis Herreshoff Correspondence, Collection 138 Mystic Seaport’s Blunt Library found no letters from H. Nelson Emmons.

January 2014

The Frost Biter's Bash is Saturday, February 8th

We are pleased and excited to announce the second annual Frost Biter’s Bash!  Join the party and enjoy full open bars and food tastings from a variety of top local restaurants and vendors.  Dance the night away in the historic Hall of Boats, bid on items in our live and silent auctions, and snap photos with your friends in our photo booth of a night you're sure to remember!  Buy your tickets now!
Following the success of the inaugural Bash comes this year’s event to raise funds for the Herreshoff Marine Museum during the chillier time of the sailing year.  This year's Bash will offer the same fun and festivities as the last, with a few new touches to ensure a truly one-of-a-kind experience.  The Hall of Boats will be transformed into our dance floor, with the DJ sounds of Luke Renchan Entertainment, and ambient lighting by Ormonde Productions.
Food offerings this year will be presented by a collection of local restaurants and vendors who will bring the tastes of New England together at our unique location on Bristol Harbor, complimented with three full open bars serving beverages by New England producers.
For those who’d like to bid on items, with proceeds to support the Museum, both live and silent auctions will be held. Last year, both were hugely successful and this year promises the same.
Mark your calendars for February 8 for The 2014 Frost Biters's Bash.  The event kicks off at 6:30 pm and continues until 11:00pm.  Tickets are $100 for guests and $250 for Patrons.  Those with Patrons tickets are invited to a pre-party with champagne and hors d’oeuvres by Russell Morin Fine Catering, as well as a private viewing of the latest additions to the Museum collection before the doors open. 

-Chris Brito, committee co-chair


Visit the Events Facebook Page

Herreshoff Mentorship - Practice and Progress
Museum Shipwright Keith Brown gives an update on the Middle School Mentorship Program at the Herreshoff Museum's Boat Shop

Since November, I’ve been working with a group of students as part of our Middle School Mentorship Program. The goal of the program has been to teach students the concepts of wooden boat construction and basic hand tool skills, while gaining an attention to detail and an ability to follow a project through to the end. Being close to the halfway point of the program, it’s great to see the transformation these kids have gone through; they seem worlds away from our first meeting in early November. Through the past few months each of the students has gained new skills and learned to solve problems. They’ve asked for help, gotten frustrated, worked through it, and returned for the next class enthusiastic to get to work.
Our curriculum began with basic woodworking skills, using tools such as hand planes, chisels, and saws. As the students have gained proficiency in each of these tools, our projects have become more complex. We have also done a fair amount of work on the sailing school boats, including varnish work, repairs to sole boards and replacing hardware. As of this writing, the students have finished building their own toolboxes, and were able to make wooden turning block tree ornaments in time for Christmas. The next few weeks will bring a half model project, along with a frame replacement and cauking lessons on the sailing school fleet.
My goals for this class have been simple. I hope these students will learn how to use some of the traditional hand tools used in wooden boat construction, and to use them safely. I want them to gain a sense of accomplishment in completing tasks and projects that they may not have thought they were capable of. Finally, I hope they gain some appreciation of the history and craftsmanship that these boats illustrate. 

Harris Gruber Joins Team to Expand Volunteer Program

The Herreshoff Marine Museum has appointed Harris Gruber, a four-year veteran Docent at the Herreshoff Marine Museum as Volunteer Manager, to direct a fresh program of recruiting and training Volunteers for existing and expanded areas of operation at the Museum.

Harris has spent his entire working life in the boat business, in both power and sail, and has a long and diverse sailboat racing and cruising background. After four years in the Navy as a Russian linguist, he ran his own boatyard and managed and owned several yacht brokerage and sales operations, around the country, for over thirty years. Along the way, he became a proficient semi-professional air taxi pilot (with a floatplane rating), then retired to specialize in brightwork as he seasonally traveled the East Coast aboard his boat(s), with long periods in the Florida Keys, Charleston and Annapolis before "swallowing the anchor" and moving ashore about five years ago.

Harris has also been active as a State Advocate for Public Banking in Rhode Island. Presently, he attends to the fleet of small boats at Battleship Cove Community Boating in Fall River, and facilitates a boisterous group of seniors in the delights of Patrick O'Brian's historic novels at Second Half/Lifelong Learning Institute, also in Fall River. He has taken naturally to the Herreshoff history and is anxious to share it more widely with the public.

This year being the Centennials of the Herreshoff 12-1/2, the Buzzards Bay 25 (one of Capt Nat's favorites), the Newport 29, and the 1914/1920 America's Cup Defender RESOLUTE, a celebration of these and the 1859 catboat SPRITE, the oldest boat in our collection, and perhaps the oldest surviving original catboat in America, is being planned for July. The "catboat" is perhaps among the most ubiquitous rigs in the world and its Herreshoff iterations, as cats and cat yawls, had a significant influence on sailboat racing, especially in the late 1800's. An exciting event to celebrate them all, with SPRITE as the centerpiece, is in the works.

A sizable group of new Volunteers will be required to prepare for this and other events this season, including our annual Regatta Weekend late in August. Orientation for all new Volunteers, on-the-job training for a variety of tasks, and training schedules for new Docents are being planned, under Harris' overall direction. Volunteers will get to learn about the history of yachting 100 years ago and will be able to witness  the Herreshoff story come to life with exhibits, displays and boats of the era racing here along the Bristol waterfront.

2014 will be the year of the small Herreshoff yachts; 2015 will be for Capt Nat's large masterpieces. Join us as Volunteers in the preparations; you will experience two of most memorable learning seasons of your life! The benefits are many, the tasks are challenging and enriching; We welcome your participation.

December 2013

Year-End Efforts Enable The Herreshoff Marine Museum to Meet Education Challenge

We are  pleased to announce that the Museum has successfully met the challenge issued by a very generous anonymous donor and earned a $50,000 matching grant.  The challenge was announced last March at the first annual Frost Biter’s Bash:  contributions by individuals to our educational programs this year would be matched up to a total of $50,000.  We were pushed over the top by contributions received on the day of our annual Holiday Party, making our celebration particularly jolly. 

The funds will enable us to better support our educational efforts, such as our well-regarded sailing school, our after-school introduction to wooden boat building for middle school students, development of stronger curricula for our collaboration with Bristol-Warren schools to provide real-life experiences in science, technology, engineering and math subjects, and improving the educational content of our exhibits.  We also hope to expand the Museum's staff in the education area and to offer adult-oriented short courses in boat maintenance and model making.

We are very grateful to all of you who donated to this challenge, as well as to our anonymous donor.

CYS 2014- Celebrating Herreshoff Centennials That Almost Did Not Happen
The Curator’s Log
Next May the 6th Classic Yacht Symposium (May 2-4, 2014) will celebrate the centennial of three of Captain Nat Herreshoff’s best-known designs.

~ Newport 29

~ Buzzards Bay 25

~ Buzzards Bay Boys Boats (H12½) 

100 years ago today, as 1913 was drawing to a close, only the Newport 29 was planned for 1914.  And yet 65-year old Captain Nat, burdened with rheumatism, was dealing with a major error in his calculations for the lead ballast of the new America’s Cup Defender, RESOLUTE (HMCo 725).

The year 1913 had been a very busy one completing delivery of the NY 50s, and starting design and construction of the 115-foot WL schooner KATOURA (HMCo 722), the largest vessel ever built by the company, and followed shortly by RESOLUTE. 1914 was to be equally busy with the launch and delivery of both large vessels followed by a summer of competition to defend the cup. Under these pressures and Captain Nat's deteriorating health (weight loss through the summer leading to bed confinement in November 1914) it is amazing that he was able to create what are considered to be his best cruising and daysailer designs.   
The winter of 1911-1912 was the first time Captain Nat retreated to Bermuda to avoid the cold, damp New England winters and their debilitating effect on his rheumatism.  He was there 18 weeks, from early December 1911 to April 1912. [i]
He repeated his trip to Bermuda in winter 1912-13, taking along his new ALERION (HMCo 718) which he'd designed for Bermudian waters. But because of the following work he did not depart for Bermuda until mid February. The lead keel for the 80-foot WL steel schooner VAGRANT (HMCo 719) was not poured until late November, and he continued to closely monitor its construction through early January, until all frames were up and hull plating started. The first NY50s were launched and trialed in December. ALERION, laid down in mid-October, was finally launched January 23rd - and readied for shipment to Bermuda.  Nat finally extracted himself from Bristol eleven days later.
This time his Bermuda stay was cut to nine weeks. He returned to New York on April 19 where he was immediately immersed in meetings with E. D. Morgan (Cup challenge) and R. E. Tod (new schooner KATOURA). KATOURA’s half model was completed over seven days in April, and construction began on May 12.  VAGRANT was delivered in June. NY 50 class races and the NYYC cruise took up July and August. He began design of the defender, RESOLUTE, in September, carving three half models before she was laid down the 7th of November. After pouring the lead on the 12th of December, he discovered a mistake in his calculations - the keel was much too light. He took the better part of a week to design a fix, where the bronze keel plates were discarded and lead was added to the top of the present casting. The month concluded with the casting of new bronze keel plates that were to be installed early in the new year, and which effectively solved the problem.
If all the above wasn’t enough to occupy the Captain's days and nights, the company signed a contract on November 27, 1913 for the first two Newport 29s. He did not get to work on the design until the last week in January. He planned the new cruiser to be built from the ALERION half model, increased in the ratio of three to four, and with a full keel and sternpost that he added to the model. Finally, with his work done, Nat departed for Bermuda on the 3rd of February 1914; all well and good, but much too late into the depths of winter for his worsening health.
This Bermuda respite was too short- just seven weeks, and certainly one cause, along with his demanding work schedule, for his declining weight during the summer and his physical collapse in November. Nat was back in Bristol on March 23 to oversee the launching of KATOURA (April 2nd), followed by RESOLUTE's launch on the 25th. Trials of both were quickly held and deliveries were made the second week of May. [ii]
This brings us to the second of 2014’s Centennial boats, the Buzzards Bay 25 Class. The contract was signed March 28, 1914. In between the launchings of KATOURA and RESOLUTE, Captain Nat made time to carve the half model and complete his design notes. The 25s were then pushed hard to early completion with the first boat, MINK, launched and trialed on Sunday June 14th, only seven weeks after being set up on the factory floor, and about when Nat, concerned for his health, began to record his loss of weight. 
The third Centennial class boat was  the Buzzards Bay Boys Boats (H12½). Robert Emmons first visited Bristol to discuss his idea for the class in March 1914, just a few days after Nat’s return from Bermuda. Though there is no record, I believe Nat committed to do the design during the visit, but as time went on nothing came of it. Emmons, impatient with the lack of any progress, visited again in August, then again in September, and finally got Nat’s attention in a phone call on October 9th. Nat, now down almost 30 pounds, carved the half model and recorded his design notes on October 27th; the contract was signed three days later. When the first boat was trialed by Sidney Herreshoff in December, Nat was no longer in Bristol; four weeks after completing the design he entered a private sanitarium for bed rest, and would remain there for two months, until his health returned.  
So mark your calendar to attend the 6th Classic Yacht Symposium the weekend of May 2-4, 2014. You will learn much about the three Herreshoff Centennial classes and the genius and fortitude of the man who created them.
John Palmieri

[i] The sources for this paper are the diaries of Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and his Naval Architecture and Engineering Notes. Access courtesy of Halsey C. Herreshoff.
[ii] RESOLUTE worked up for the Cup defense until August when the start of WWI forced its cancellation.  She won the delayed Cup race in 1920.

November 2013

We welcomed visitors from far and wide to our FREE DAY on November 16th.  The Museum has been hosting 2 days of FREE admission every year – one in the spring and one in the fall.  The event was a huge success as we saw more visitors in one day than we have ever had before.  Our crowd of 600+ visitors enjoyed tours with our CEO, Dyer Jones.  Dyer even opened the model room for the lucky guests.  Children’s stations were staffed by Roger Williams’s volunteers and museum volunteers who facilitated a coloring station and knot tying station.  Building 28 was abuzz with visitors enjoying tours by RELIANCE project manager Sandy Lee and chatting with our Shipwright Keith Brown.

Thank you for coming and making this day such a huge success.  We’re looking forward to many more visits and we love sharing our history with our community.  We hope you keep in touch with the many exciting aspects of our Museum.  There are a variety of ways to stay in touch:

Follow The RELIANCE Project blog – stay in touch with the progress of this epic endeavor

Learn about our education programs

Contribute to our education programs  

Follow us on Facebook to see a photo album of the days events.

We hope to see you the next time we do a similar event.  Thank you for your enthusiasm and support!

John Brown Herreshoff: How I See Him
Curator’s Log - November 2013 [JBH - business man and ladies man in 1890 at age 49.]

Today the Herreshoff story is mostly told through the work of Nathanael Greene Herreshoff (1848-1938), the designs he created and the extraordinary record of the boats built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. (HMCo). We extoll Nat’s intellect and work ethic; seldom do we apply like efforts to understand John Brown (JB) Herreshoff (1841-1915). This is unfortunate because without JB there was no HMCo and although Nat certainly would have made his mark as a talented designer it would have been different and in many ways less.
Writing about JB is not easy because we have found little written material that he authored. We do know from records that as long as he was the president of the company it was financially successful. There are also tales of his keen prowess at business and activities that belie his blindness; sail racing with younger brother Nat as his eyes, handling the reins of a carriage or sleigh pulled by spirited trotters, and knowing exactly where he was at any moment to the extent of offering directions advice to a driver or companion. [i]
When I think of JB I am drawn to the following.
JB was primarily a person of “indestructible will and energy”, that is how Nat described him in a 1930 letter when the 1860 catboat SPRITE was donated to the Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. Moreover he had an underlying ‘’courage” that only “haulted him a few months” following the “catastrophy” of losing sight at the age of 14.[ii]
The same theme comes through in JB’s response when interviewed by Orison Swett Marden for the book How They Succeeded in his Bristol office in 1899.[iii]
Marden - "What do you call the prime requisite of success?” 
JB - " I shall have to answer that by a somewhat humorous but very shrewd suggestion of an other, — select a good mother.”  He continued, to improve the rising generation he would appeal first to mothers- “Above all else, show them that reasonable self-denial is a thousandfold better for a boy than to have his every wish gratified. Teach them to encourage industry, economy, concentration of attention and purpose, and indomitable persistence.” 
Marden went on to explore JB’s handicap of blindness.
Marden- "You must have been terribly handicapped by your blindness." 
JB- “It was an obstacle, but I simply would not allow it to discourage me, and did my best, just the same as if I could see. My mother had taught me to think, and so I made thought and memory take the place of eyes. I acquired a habit of mental projection which has allowed me to see models in my mind…and to consider their good and bad points intelligently. Besides, I cultivated my powers of observation to the utmost, in other respects.” 
While JB alludes to boat models in describing his powers of mental projection and observation I am convinced that he meant that to apply to all aspects of business and industry. I see that in his negotiations to dominate the torpedo boat business. In my words, he worked from the confidence of knowing that he was the most perceptive, if not the smartest, man in the room.
JB was also a very proud person in two respects. He wanted to be recognized as the exemplary businessman without any reference to his blindness. This is evident from the cross outs in the newspaper stories that his wife Sadie L. Herreshoff read to him at home. The words about his affliction are crossed out ("John B. Herreshoff, who is blind, superintended the work of the engine", becomes "John B. Herreshoff superintended the work of the engine.")  so she would not accidentally read out loud the reminder of his handicap.[iv]
Secondly his word once given in a business deal was the gold standard, whether a guarantee of performance, price or delivery schedule. He could not abide any stain on this record.  When forced by Nat to abrogate the Russian torpedo boat contract in 1915 he resigned from the company and died shortly thereafter.
John Brown Herreshoff-  indestructible will and energy, courage, superior mental projection and observation, pride in self.
John Palmieri
Curator Emeritus

[i] For tales about JB see the following: various Herreshoff Marine Museum Chronicles available at www.herreshoff.org; Nathanael G. Herreshoff’s Recollections; Their Last Letters 1930- 1938 Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and William Picard Stephens; Captain Nat Wizard of Bristol.
[ii] Nat Herreshoff letter of letter of 9 Oct 1930 to J. A. Humberstone, Edison Inst. of Technology, Dearborn, MI. Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives.
[iii] Marden, Orison Swett, How They Succeeded, Life Stories of Successful Men Told by Themselves. 1901
[iv] Sadie L. Herreshoff March 1875 Newspaper Cuttings Book, in which JB’s wife Sadie Herreshoff, pasted news cuttings ranging from 1870 to 1882. Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives

October 2013
CYS 2014 May 2- 4, 2014
October 2013 Update; Your Opportunity to Participate in the CYS 2014 and Herreshoff Centennial Class Celebration
An international group of talented authors are hard at work preparing papers for CYS 2014 on a range of new and interesting subjects. Meanwhile the Herreshoff Marine Museum/SNAME team is engaged in planning a full range of activities that have come to embody CYS.  Look for more information about CYS 2014 on this site in the coming months.
Today we want to share with you an exciting opportunity to participate in the 2014 Herreshoff Centennial Celebration.  As was done in CYS 2012 we are featuring classic Nat Herreshoff designs that are celebrating 100 years. In 2012 there was just one Herreshoff Centennial Class- ALERION (HMCo 718). This year we have three Herreshoff Centennial Classes, all derived in some way from ALERION.
Newport 29 [Often hailed as Capt. Nat’s best all-around design]

Buzzards Bay 25 [Capt. Nat’s favorite design according to son Sidney]

Buzzards Bay Boys Boats (H12½) [Herreshoff Mfg. Co.’s most popular design] 

There are literally thousands of people who have a connection to these boats including yacht clubs with Centennial Class fleets, owners, former owners, builders, restorers, sailors, and admirers. We are offering all to participate in CYS 2014 by submitting a paper of comments and experiences to be published in the CYS 2014 Proceedings. Don’t miss this opportunity to have your words and images about the Centennial Classes recorded for posterity.  The papers are due by Dec. 31, 2013. Instructions for paper preparation and submission as well as copies of selected CYS 2012 ALERION Centennial Papers are attached for your guidance.

ALERION III as a Reference for SADIE

Observations on CURLEW

Observations on an Alerion

FAIR SADIE, an Owner’s Brief Perspective

Seth Persson’s 1972 ALERION/SADIE

Advertising the Herreshoff Way
Curator’s Log - October 2013

One of the business principles agreed to by the brothers when they established the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. (HMCo) partnership in 1878 was to do no advertising; rather let their products advertise themselves. This was not a new strategy as John Brown Herreshoff (JB) had followed the practice of limiting print advertising to business card text since his boatbuilding beginnings in March 1863.[i] Contrary to what you may think it was definitely not a hands-off approach to marketing, as the brothers aggressively used their products to exhibit the company’s technology to broad audiences.  Here are some early examples of JB’s activities while Nat, designing for JB at night and on weekends, still had a day job at Corliss.[ii]

In August 1871 JB launched the 38-foot open steam yacht ANEMONE (HMCo 4). He quickly attracted attention to her by making several high speed turns about Newport harbor where a reporter in the Providence Evening News Press Boat “boarded her flying” to interview the “obliging and courteous builder, owner and master, Mr. John Brown Herreshoff” who gladly disclosed all the particulars about the vessel. [iii]

In the summer of 1874 JB fitted out the new 48-foot steam yacht VISION (HMCo 14) with the first application of the safety coil boiler invented by his brother James. Billed as “The fastest Steamer of Her Length in the World” VISION was exhibited for two days in September at Rhode Island’s Oakland Beach regatta. Each day with her propeller spinning at 480 rpm, spectators watched in awe as “the little vessel darts through the water like a meteor” over a mile course at 18 mph. Following each day’s run JB and James hosted all interested parties aboard to inspect the new boiler design.[iv] VISION was also made available to officers from the Newport Torpedo Station for trials the results of which convinced the Navy to order its first torpedo boat from Herreshoff (LIGHTNING HMCo 20). 
In August 1875 President U.S. Grant visited General Amos Burnside at his residence in Bristol.  JB placed his just completed 42-foot steam yacht FLECHÉ (HMCo 17) at Burnside’s disposal to shuttle Grant from and to his steamer anchored in the harbor.  “Sundry newspaper men” were also placed “under great obligation to (JB)” for the use of the same steamer to get from Burnside’s residence to the telegraph office to file their stories. [v]
Also in 1875 JB personally delivered three coil boiler equipped steam launches to customers in the south, providing more opportunities to exhibit to customers beyond Bristol.  The 30-foot steam launch GEM (HMCo 15) and the 32-foot SPITFIRE (HMCo 18) were delivered to Savannah, GA plantation owners. While enroute JB docked SPITFIRE at the foot of Wall Street from where he hosted two days of exhibition trips before loading on the steamer for Savannah.[vi]  The 32–foot SPRAY (HMCo 16) was delivered to a customer in Portsmouth, VA for commercial hire for pleasure and fishing parties. On arrival JB arranged for the owner to make SPRAY available after an extended operating period to an examining board from the Portsmouth (Norfolk) Navy Yard to demonstrate “one of the most important advantages claimed for this boiler by its builders …freedom from incrustation when using sea water”.[vii]
When we think of Herreshoff and the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition the image of Nat assembling and operating the large Corliss steam engine that powered the exhibition hall comes to mind.  No thought is given to JB, but he was there SELLING!  JB sailed from Bristol in late August in his new 52-foot steam cabin yacht VIOLA (HMCo 25). He stopped in New York to run trials up the Hudson and delight his guests with speed runs past the Battery. His ultimate goal: gain attention by running “public tests” of the vessel’s steam machinery both tied up and underway in Philadelphia on the Schuylkill near the center of the centennial events. Positive reports in all the major city newspapers evidence his success in this endeavor. [viii]  
John Palmieri

[i] The one exception to this is the advertising of the coil boiler
[ii] This paper is developed from news stories contained in the Sadie L. Herreshoff March 1875 Newspaper Cuttings Book, in which Sadie, daughter of JB Herreshoff, pasted news cuttings ranging from 1870 to 1882. It is part of the Louise DeWolf Collection of the Herreshoff Marine Museum archives.
[iii] Providence Evening News Aug. 24, 1870
[iv] The Fastest Steamer of Her Length in the World to be exhibited Sept. 4 & 5, 1874. Oakland Beach Regatta broadside published in an unidentified newspaper.
[v] Cuttings of incidents connected to Pres. U.S. Grant’s Aug. 1875 visit to Bristol
[vi] New York World, Oct. 1875
[vii] Navy Yard, Norfolk, VA Examining Board Report Jan. 10, 1876 (Unfortunately when sufficient operating hours had elapsed the owners declined to make SPRAY available to the board.)
[viii] New York Herald Aug. 30, 1876. Philadelphia Ledger Sept. 4, 1876. Philadelphia Times Sept. 4 & 6, 1876. Philadelphia Enquirer Sept. 12, 1876.

September 2013

A Tribute to Ted Hood’s Memory
Ted Hood, a great friend to the Museum and its Hall of Fame, was a very special person. His talent and boldness anchored an amazing career of innovation, accomplishment, and competitive sailing success.
I enjoyed knowing Ted for about fifty years, all the way from early visits to Marblehead to buy S boat spinnakers, to many on-the-water competitions and charming discussions, always thought provoking.
When I was Bowman of COLUMBIA in the 1958 America’s Cup season, Rod Stephens and I were amazed by Ted’s innovation of the dip pole gybe on VIM. It took us one day to copy that good idea, thus neutralizing its effect.
Much later, when Ted Hood sailed the COURAGEOUS to victory in the 1974 America’s Cup, I was privileged to serve as his Navigator. Ted was more interested in sails and boat speed than tactics. Observing him in action confirmed my impression of utter skill pushing a good sailboat to victory. Of course, he was a man of few words, but also of constant good ideas. That was no problem for me as my father Sid Herreshoff shared those characteristics.
Ted Hood was one of the very most significant practitioners of cutting edge sailmaking, design, construction and sailing prowess. We shall greatly miss this giant of the sport, who was an inspiration to all in every way.
   Halsey C. Herreshoff

Curator’s Log September 2013
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Thirteen- The 1903 Cup: Winners and Losers[i]

The Cup was over and RELIANCE had beaten SHAMROCK III; three wins without a loss. RELIANCE was the big winner, or was she? This phenomenal racing machine was never to sail again, an unwanted relic made obsolete by acceptance of the new Universal Rule developed by RELIANCE’s own designer Capt. Nat Herreshoff. If not RELIANCE, then who were the winners in 1903?
The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) set out to beat Lipton so decisively that he would go away and not challenge again for a long tme. They did just that. While Sir Thomas continued corresponding with the NYYC about future races he did not actually throw down the gauntlet of a challenge for another ten years.
The triumverate that led RELIANCE -  syndicate manager C. Oliver Iselin, Captain Charlie Barr and designer/builder Nat Herreshoff - shared in the financial and professional laurels of victory.
Iselin had come out of retirement to lead the RELIANCE syndicate, capturing his  fourth Cup.  He is perhaps the only person who could have encouraged a reluctant Nat Herreshoff to take up the challenge to design the new defender.  Iselin had RELIANCE more than ready for the competition: witness the comments of Newberry D. Thorne, who sailed in RELIANCE, “We never thought that SHAMROCK III had a chance in any wind or weather”.
Charlie Barr, besides a substantial salary (upwards of $10,000), received $2,500 in bonuses ($1,000 for being selected to defend the Cup and $1,500 for winning the series). A. Cary Smith (designer of MISCHIEF, the victorious American defender in the fourth America’s Cup race in 1881) noted, “…Barr’s work in the last race was remarkable. It takes skill and nerve to pick up a mark while traveling so fast in the fog”.
As for Capt. Nat, Smith commented to the New York Times, “…The wizard from Bristol has turned out a wonderful boat which has proved herself very fast in all weathers…”. Forgotten was the uncertainty about Nat’s talents following the failure of his 1901 CONSTITUTION to beat COLUMBIA. That “uncertainty” was best expressed in the Scientific American,  “…if CONSTITUTION failed …the fault must surely have been more in herself than in those who had charge of her.”  (Whatever was written we can be sure that Capt. Nat ignored it: "I often see some strange statements made by ordinary reporters on yachting, concerning the products that originated in the Bristol shops, of which I take no notice.”)  
The Herreshoff Manufacturing Co (HMCo) was a winner with their best financial results to date.   A special 1903 end-of-year bonus distributed to the brother partners doubled Nat’s income.  (What Nat did not get was a financial gift from the syndicate as he had following Cup victories in 1893 and 1899).)  No matter the redemption for Capt. Nat and the financial success for the company, the 1903 Cup created strains within the partnership. In the entire Cup press there is nary a mention of senior partner John Brown Herreshoff (JB), HMCo president and treasurer.  Capt. Nat was the star; he conceived the design in respectful cooperation with Iselin, he negotiated with the syndicate, and the price was whatever HMCo asked. Nat devoted as much time as necessary for the new defender to succeed; there was no need for the sharp business mind of JB to negotiate a winning contract, beating out the competition, while assuring a good profit for HMCo. This was unlike, for example, the steam yacht and torpedo boat business where JB led the strategic business planning and was the point man, with many visits for direct negotiations with the customer. The latter was how the partnership was originally constructed, with Nat’s duties restricted to design and building, with little time away from the plant.
The English designers Fife and Watson in addition to  SHAMROCK III’s Captain Wringe were losers, thrown under the bus by Lipton when he opined, after losing the second race, about Britain’s failure to produce an equal to Herreshoff or Barr.  
But what of Lipton: was he the big loser, pouring $600,000 of his own money into the challenge? The answer depends upon whether you think of Lipton as a patriotic losing British yachtsman, or as the “Merchant Prince” intent on selling himself and his businesses to the American public.
The Americans rushed to console and be near Lipton. He was hailed as, “the most prominent and conspicuous individual on the face of the globe… he had elevated the standard of Anglo-Saxon manhood”. He reassured everyone of the friendship between America and the British Empire, “You Americans are hard to beat in any line…I am a disappointed man. Still it is a consolation to know the conquering belong to the same good old race, who are bound to us by the closest of ties. The cup is still in the family and is simply held by a more go ahead branch.”
In the month after the Cup (exccept for the two days following the last race) the New York Times  mentioned Capt. Nat just once and Iselin only a little. Lipton however was news in the Times every single day for almost three weeks: his name was in the paper 43 times. This free publicity earned double digit returns. In 1902 British shareholders of Lipton Ltd. UK had grumbled about the time he devoted to yachting; then business improved, dissatisfaction subsided and his popularity was as great in Britain as in America. In the process he enriched himself as well his UK stockholders.
Lipton had an extra incentive to ingratiate himself to the Americans.  He may have lost his third try to “lift the Cup”, but Thomas J. Lipton Co. of America was under his sole control (not a stock company with shareholders) “every advance in the US market went into his pocket”.
John Palmieri

[i] Sources for this paper are as follows;

1 D’Antonio, Michael, A Full Cup: Sir Thomas Lipton’s Extraordinary Life and His Quest for the America’s Cup. Riverhead Books New York 2010 [Lipton’s coverage in the New    York Times, quotes on his popularity in America and the structure of Lipton’s enterprises.]

2 Nathanael G. Herreshoff Diaries and Cash Account Records (Courtesy of Halsey C. Herreshoff)

3 Nathanael G. Herreshoff and William P. Stephens, Their Last Letters, annotated by John W. Streeter. Herreshoff Marine Museum Bristol RI 1988. [Nat Herreshoff quote regarding writing of reporters is taken from a May 15, 1930 letter to Stephens.]

4 New York Times September 5, 1903 [Quotes on RELIANCE and Barr. Barr’s bonus payments.] (America’s Cup Hall of Fame Archives)

5 Scientific American, February 7, 1903 [Quotes concerning fault for the failure of CONSTITUTION in 1901.] (Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives)

Fall is in the air and our 2013/14 lecture series is on its way! 

We are happy to announce that the series will once again be sponsored by our audience favorites: Points East Magazine, The Boating Magazine for Coastal New England, and Cisco Brewers, Triple Eight Distillery and Nantucket Vineyards.  Points East supports the series with advertising and with input on the series and the speakers themselves.  Read Points East each month for more info on what to expect in the series as well as great stories about our waters, our boats and our people.  Cisco Brewers, Triple Eight Distillery and Nantucket Vineyards have signed on once again to provide beverages to lecture series attendees.  Come to our series at 6pm to grab a drink and chat with our community and remember, drink Cisco!
Our first lecture is on October 17th.  It is our Annual Carlton Pinheiro lecture in honor of our former curator.  We are happy to start the series with Mark Gabrielson, author of Deer Isle’s Undefeated America’s Cup Crews: Humble Heroes From a Downeast Island (The History Press, 2013).  This story is close to home for Herreshoff aficionados and we are excited to hear the stories of these amazing men and their relationship to the Cup.  The book will be for sale the evening of the lecture and it is also available in the Museum Store.  The full synopsis is below.
Museum Lectures are $7 for members and $15 for non members.
Buy a membership HERE

Buy tickets to the lecture HERE

Book Synopsis
The America’s Cup yacht races were, and still are, the most prestigious and expensive international sporting events in the world. With a history extending back over 160 years, the America’s Cup reached its height in the late 1800s - the era of J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Sir Thomas Lipton.
Until that time, American yachts in the competition had been crewed by professional sailors from Europe. But in the winter of 1895, emissaries from the New York Yacht Club traveled more than 450 miles by train and steamboat to remote Deer Isle, Maine to recruit an all-Yankee crew. That small fishing town sent nearly forty of its best sailors to New York to sail Defender, and in a difficult and controversial series they defeated the best Great Britain’s aristocrats could muster.

In 1899, the club again sent word to the island that it needed yet another crew to sail against the first of Sir Thomas Lipton’s Shamrocks, and Deer Isle sent their best men back to New York. Sailing Columbia they once again swept the series.
This is the story of these crews who sailed the big, and for their era, high-tech America’s Cup cutters in the late 1800s. Deer Isle’s Undefeated America’s Cup Crews is based on research at Harvard’s Widener Library, at the Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society, the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine, the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI, Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT and at the New York Yacht Club itself. With exciting narrative, new insights based on previously unpublished archival material, and 70 beautiful photographs, Deer Isle’s Undefeated America’s Cup Crews finally gives the humble heroes from a downeast island the credit they earned so long ago.

August 2013

Three Inducted into America’s Cup Hall of Fame
On the evening of August 5th, three new members of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame were inducted at a special dinner in San Francisco co-hosted by the Herreshoff Marine Museum and Louis Vuitton.  Over 250 guests including members of the Hall of Fame, current team competitors in the America’s Cup, and others from as far away as Australia were present for a black-tie dinner honoring Lucy Jewett, Noel Robins and Grant Simmer. Throughout the evening at the at the magnificent De Young Museum in San Francisco,  the Inductees Lucy Jewett and Grant Simmer spoke with great humor about their decades of experience in America’s Cup, and Mardi Cork and Anna Eshuys spoke with great affection of memories about their late father, Noel Robins.  Each Inductee is a wonderful representative of our sport and the event.

Along with her late husband, George F. “Fritz” Jewett, who is already a member of the Hall of Fame, Lucy has been a key figure within several America’s Cup defender and challenger syndicates.
In 1974, she began her association with the Cup when the Jewetts became the owners of the 12-Metre yacht Intrepid.  Known as “The People’s Boat” through the many small contributions supporting its campaign, Intrepid came within one race of becoming the Defender.  It was only a broken running backstay in the final race of the defender trials against Courageous that ended the campaign.
The Jewetts then backed the winning Dennis Conner-skippered Freedom 12-Metre syndicate in 1980, as well as Conner’s subsequent campaigns in 1983, 1987 and 1988.  Throughout these efforts Lucy was the quiet leader among members of the crew, their families, the team principals, sponsors and supporters.  She returned to the fray again in 2000 with Paul Cayard’s and St Francis Yacht Club’s AmericaOne Challenge.
Currently, she serves on the board of the San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee, the organization responsible for raising the funds to support San Francisco’s hosting of the 34th America’s Cup season.
Her long involvement and her passion for the event and its people have made her an iconic figure in the America’s Cup world where she is incredibly well respected as both an advisor and mentor.
NOEL ROBINS, OAM (AUS) (b 1935 – d 2003)
Robins skippered the 12 Metre Australia in the 1977 America’s Cup Match which was sailed against Ted Turner’s Courageous.  In 1980 he returned with Alan Bond’s challenging team as a coach.

Seven years later, following Bond’s successful 1983 Australia II challenge, when the Royal Perth Yacht Club needed to organize the first ever America’s Cup season outside of the United States, Robins as Executive Director applied masterful management to the project which resulted in the magnificent organization of the 26th America’s Cup in Fremantle, Australia.  That event in 1986-87 is widely credited to this day as probably the greatest season of America’s Cup sport ever.

Robins’ own lifetime sailing achievements at the very highest level were made even more remarkable by the fact that he had to overcome the handicap of becoming a walking quadriplegic following a car accident at the age of just 21.
“Stumbles”, as he was universally known among his fellow sailors, won five Australian National titles in addition to 13 State titles across a variety of classes.  It was his success in the Soling class that drew him to the attention of Alan Bond who made him skipper of Australia.
Robins took the skipper’s role extremely seriously.  Recognizing gaps in the talent pool in Australia necessary to be competitive he selected an American match racing expert, Andy Rose, to be his tactician for the latter stages of the Challenger Selection Series.  Racing against France I, Gretel II and Sverige and eventually beating them, Australia, under Robins’ leadership, became the Challenger for the Match.  But Ted Turner’s Courageous was better prepared and battle ready and defeated the Australians.
When the impossible dream of beating the Defender in a Match became reality for the first time in 1983 Robins, starting with a completely clean sheet, totally restructured the harbor facilities in Fremantle, arranging the various sites for the bases for the 13 challengers and four defense syndicates.  He also incorporated the shore-side event facilities, including the Louis Vuitton International Media Centre, for what proved to be the biggest and one of the best America’s Cup events to date.
Noel’s post America’s Cup sailing career included a win in both the Admiral’s Cup and the Two Ton Cup in 1981.  He was instrumental in the establishment of the Sailability Program for disabled sailors at the Royal Perth YC, and a commissioner of the Swan River Trust.  In 2000 he collected a gold medal at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, an achievement that also secured him the Medal of the Order of Australia.  His life ended prematurely in 2003 in a second motor vehicle accident.
GRANT SIMMER (AUS) (b. 1957)
Simmer has won the America’s Cup three times in a career that spans four decades.  In 1983 Simmer was the young, 26-year-old navigator on board the historic challenger Australia II, the boat that achieved the impossible dream and broke the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year long grip on the America’s Cup.

Since that famous victory Simmer could fairly be accused of having made a career of the America’s Cup as he has been involved in a variety of roles across no fewer than nine subsequent campaigns.

A co-owner of North Sails Australia for 17 years Simmer finally gave up managing the sailmaking business in 2000 to become Design Coordinator for the Swiss America’s Cup Challenger Alinghi.  The ensuing match in 2003 against Team New Zealand saw him collect his second Louis Vuitton Cup win and his second America’s Cup winner’s medal before moving up to assume the position of Alinghi Co-Managing Director and Design Team Coordinator, and winning his third Cup in 2007.

Not to be put off by his team’s defeat in 2010 against BMW ORACLE Racing’s wing-masted monster trimaran, Simmer, one of the most highly regarded, competitive and sought after personalities in the Cup’s long history moved in 2012 to take up responsibilities as General Manager of ORACLE Team USA, a role that now gives him day-to-day operational responsibility for the America’s Cup defense later this year in San Francisco.
The America’s Cup Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, jointly organized by the Herreshoff Marine Museum and Louis Vuitton, took place in San Francisco on the evening of Monday, 5th August at the de Young Museum in San Francisco during the Louis Vuitton Cup Challenger Selection Series.
The America’s Cup Hall of Fame celebrates the accomplishments of outstanding sailors, leaders and innovators by inducting them into the Hall of Fame at extraordinary ceremonies held in exciting venues around the world. These ceremonies are truly notable events, drawing the best and brightest of the sport to honour individuals who have made outstanding contributions to yachting’s most distinguished competition.

The Herreshoff Marine Museum, located in Bristol, Rhode Island, USA, is a maritime museum dedicated to the history of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and the America's Cup.  The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company (1878-1945) was most notable for producing fast sailing yachts, including eight America's Cup defenders, and steam-powered vessels.  The museum, situated near Narragansett Bay on the grounds where the manufacturing company once stood, has a collection of over sixty boats including Nathanael Greene Herreshoff's Clara, built in 1887, Harold Vanderbilt's Trivia, and the 1992 ACC yacht, Defiant.

According to The Art Newspaper the de Young Museum is one of the most visited art museums in North America, and the 35th-most visited in the world.  Housed in a state-of-the-art, accessible, and architecturally significant facility, it provides valuable art experiences to generations of residents and visitors.

Since 1983 the Louis Vuitton Cup has been the trophy awarded to the winner of the Challenger Selection Series for the America’s Cup.

Curator’s Log August 2013
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Thirteen- The 1903 Cup Races[i]

“Battle for the sovereignty of the seas”
(New York Times Aug. 17, 1903)

The crews, yachts and the public are ready for the Cup.  New York hotels are fully booked; large yachts, naval vessels, small craft and a fleet of fifteen large excursion steamers fill the harbor. Whatever the results, the Cup brings out deep patriotic feelings on both sides of the Atlantic.  Even so, a large number of Americans want Lipton to win for the sake of the sport and good feeling between the two countries. Official Cup activites begin on August 16th when both yachts are measured in New York’s Erie Basin by Charles D. Mower closely witnessed by the designers William Fife Jr. and Nat Herreshoff and 7,000 spectators.

Philadelphia News Sept. 4, 1903

RELIANCE has behind her three weeks tune-up and another twelve weeks of trials and race competition against CONSTITUTION and COLUMBIA. The best sails have been selected. Coming out of Erie Basin her bottom has been polished, dented bow plates straightened, and a slight twist in the rudder corrected. Charlie Barr has taken aboard Capt. Lem Miller of COLUMBIA to be in charge of the headsails, a task for which he “has no superior”.
SHAMROCK III has behind her four weeks tune-up and trials against SHAMROCK I in England and another seven weeks with her off Sandy Hook, site of the Cup.  Her best mainsail, cut down about a foot, is ready for the race. Coming out of Erie Basin the bottom has a new and smoother coat of hard white enamel. Capt. Wringe takes aboard Capt. Bevis of SHAMROCK I.
As a result of the measurements Lipton and Fife are happy to receive a 1min.- 45 sec. time allowance. It can be important in the expected light breezes. (Previous SHAMROCK’s had to concede a small allowance to Columbia.) But there is a problem- SHAMROCK III must be remeasured after Fife notifies Iselin that the required anchor and tackle were not on board. After several measurements of both yachts SHAMROCK III gains 12 seconds.  
The time allowance brings out some SHAMROCK money.  F. H. Brooks announces that the remainder of the money he had been commissioned to bet on RELIANCE at 2½ to 1 has been withdrawn and he is taking the SHAMROCK end at those odds.   Dick Brothers & Co. also takes the SHAMROCK side at the same odds and offers they can get more SHAMROCK money if RELIANCE money is forthcoming.                                                 

Between August 20 and September 3 nine different attempts will be made to race; the yachts will be started six times, three times failing to finish after sailing more than half the course.  For the the first time in the history of the Cup a race is cancelled because of too much wind and a heavy sea; a recognition of the limits of the extreme design of this fifth and last generation of the Great Ninety-footers. RELIANCE wins all three races. Winds are usually light accompanied by fog. SHAMROCK III sails her best in the second race (Aug. 25).  With a light to moderate breeze she loses by 1 min.-19 sec. corrected time
     Sailing Strategy
     Barr, famous for his “close work” at the start in the two previous Cups does not engage in the tactic this time. Instead he works for the weather berth. It may be that Wringe
is not easily bluffed or that Barr declines to take the risk in the heavily canvassed RELIANCE.

SHAMROCK III in Erie Basin August 17, 1903

     August 20
     On the day of the first race about 20,000 spectators are on the water in a fleet of more than150 yachts and excursion steamers. Thousands more gather on Broadway to view postings of the progress of the race. Lipton, himself, entertains 200 guests aboard his yacht ERIN, as he will do on every race day. With Capt. Nat sailing in RELIANCE, the first mate guides Nat’s steam yacht ROAMER through the spectator fleet assisted by a deck hand and Nat’s sons who are carried in the ship’s log as “midshipmen”.  RELIANCE is leading by two miles         and 15 minutes when time runs out. The day’s events are summed up in the RELIANCE Log; “We have learned today that in a light breeze and a roll of sea we seem to be better than the SHAMROCK. Light wind, big sea, rain, calm, shift of wind and an unfinished race is the story of the day.”
     August 22
     In a good breeze with wind varying from 12 to 18 knots, and racing an upwind/downwind course of 15-mile legs RELIANCE wins the first race by 7 min.- 18 sec. corrected time. After sailing close for the first 5 miles, RELIANCE steadily moved ahead on both legs.
     August 27
     The race is called off when RELIANCE, in the lead, fails to finish within the prescribed time of 5½ hours by just 6 minutes. Because Barr believes it unwise to leave from covering SHAMROCK, they fail to take Capt. Nat’s advice to go to leeward to more quickly reach the finish line, thereby failing to finish the Cup with a third win.

By the time RELIANCE wins the third race on Sept. 3, after SHAMROCK lost in a fog fails to finish, interest in the race has dwindled following many delays, mostly because of no wind. Lipton does not help his cause when after the second loss he admits defeat-

RELIANCE crossing finish line August 25, 1903

“I confess that I am very much disappointed. I did not expect to get such a licking, but in thinking of success I made the mistake of placing the Shamrock III in her present trim as much faster than the Columbia. Now I am satisfied she is not as fast, and I would think the Constitution or Columbia would have beaten the Shamrock on Thursday. I have spent many nights of worry in trying to make the Shamrock III a winner of the cup, and they tell me that I have a beautiful boat. I don't want a beautiful boat. What I want is a boat to lift the cup, Reliance. Give me a homely boat, the homeliest boat that ever was built, if she can win. I am willing to do anything to win the America’s cup. I never stint on money question, and want the best that can be had. I have got the best that can be produced in Great Britain, and it is useless to try again. Maybe, when a great designer has been produced on the other side I shall try again. I take my hat off to Mr. Herreshoff. He is a genius, and I take off my hat to Capt. Barr. They are too much for me.”
“American brains and development have us beaten. If the day ever comes when England produces a Herreshoff then I will challenge for the cup again. It will be until then. It is unpleasant to be compelled to admit it, but the brains in boat building are on this side of the water. Herreshoff is a wizard. His work is wonderful. None can have admired Reliance more than I. She is the best boat by all odds and has won on strict merit.”

On September 4th to ease his pain, Sir Thomas Lipton is toasted as a “Prince Among Good Fellows” at the Pilgrim’s Society Banquet.
John Palmieri

[i] Primary sources for this paper;

The Bristol Phoenix, New York Times, Philadelphia News & Providence Evening Bulletin (Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives)

The Log of N. G. Herreshoff’s Steam Yacht ROAMER. NGH made no entries in his diary for this period as he was otherwise occupied. (Courtesy of Halsey C. Herreshoff)

RELIANCE Log: Mystic Seaport C. Oliver Iselin Collection; Collection 85 Box 2 Folder 3. (library.mysticseaport.org/manuscripts/coll/coll085.cfm)

Report of the New York Yacht Club Committee on Challenge of the Royal Ulster Yacht Club: Reliance vs. Shamrock III 1902- 1903

EBCAP Students Provide Summer Support at Herreshoff
by: Victoria Smith
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, think about careers and learn a new skill set that you may not have had before.  Everyone should volunteer at some point in his life, it’s a great experience working in different places with new people.
Our volunteers at Herreshoff work in our office, in the store, with the sailing school and on the docks.  I work in marketing making our monthly newsletter. I was a bit intimidated at first because it was something way out of my normal element.  I didn’t know anything about marketing but once I started it came easily and naturally to me. It’s always fun helping out with events under the tent and in the museum as well.  The Herreshoff staff is so amazing at what they do - it’s pretty awesome to work with them!  They put in so much time to make the events as amazing as possible for all of their guests to enjoy.
When the cruise ship comes in there are a lot of people in the museum.  The volunteers who help out with the tours amaze me because they remember all of the facts about the photos, history of the boats, and the artifacts.
The Museum also enlists the help of EBCAP students.  EBCAP stands for East Bay Community Action Program. The Program helps local towns with a wide array of health and human services and they also help high school students find job opportunities.  The EBCAP students work for a total of 8 weeks. Other EBCAP students work around the Herreshoff building in the office taking calls, helping out with the sailing school or in the museum store.
Lauren works as the office manager.  I interviewed her about her job at Herreshoff.
Lauren: During the work day I answer the phones and I mostly work on the media advertisement for the museum.
Tori: What do you like about working here?
Lauren: I love it! It is such a nice group of people to work with.  The adults that don’t treat us like kids and they are so passionate and so dedicated to sailing and knowledge about boats it makes the job easy and hassle free.
Tori: How do you feel about volunteering?
Lauren: Volunteering to me has many benefits to both for you as a volunteer and as well as the community. It’s a way of gaining confidence and learning new skills or putting your own skills into good use.
I also interviewed Evan who works in the store for the museum.
Evan: I help out with the tours the museum has and with welcoming everyone.’
Tori: What do you like about working at Herreshoff?
Evan: The experience and the look on their faces to learn something new is such a good feeling all around, Working here is all hands on learning for almost everyone. Also shows the finer things in life with experience and the exposure to others.
Tori: How do you feel about volunteering?
Evan: Volunteering is an awesome thing to do. I feel like its doing something good for the community, to benefit yourself and to be a positive influence for the younger generation.
Tori: The thing I like about my work -  it’s in a beautiful location right on the water.  The people who I work with are very dedicated to their job and they do what they love every day. They all have a positive vibe and are happy to help!  Overall, Herreshoff is full of dedicated, hardworking people who won’t let anyone down.
By: Victoria Smith 

Let’s Go Sailing!
By: Ian Coyne
My name is Ian Coyne, and this summer I have been a sailing instructor at The Herreshoff Seamanship Institute.  I have sailed at Herreshoff for six years now, and grew up around the water.  The sailing school at Herreshoff teaches kids who are new to sailing the basics and also teaches the more experienced sailors in-depth information on seamanship to continue to develop their skills.  Living in Rhode Island, sailing and the water is such a large part of the students’ lives, including my own.  While I continue to learn about sailing through Herreshoff, during my time as an instructor I have learned how important it is that we not only teach the students how to sail but also about the Bay and how to care for it and the boats.

The Herreshoff Seamanship Institute is also important because it incorporates the history behind the Herreshoff family and their successes with sailing knowledge the students need to know to become the best sailors they can be. All of these aspects are brought together on the “Herreshoff 12 1/2”, a perfect learner’s boat that is used by the program.  
I personally have benefited greatly from the program.  I started with the program as an eight year old student who knew some stuff about sailing by sailing with my neighbors, but not much.  As I went on in the program each summer I became more and more knowledgeable about sailing, and now am a sailing instructor.  Last year, I placed second in the Herreshoff Regatta, racing on one of the very boats we use in the program.  As an instructor, I am striving to transfer my knowledge to the students so someday they may be able to compete in regattas and be successful as well.  I would strongly recommend to any parent or grandparent that if their child would like to learn how to sail or better their own sailing and seamanship skills, the Herreshoff Seamanship Institute is the place to be.  Let’s go sailing!

Learn more about Herreshoff Education Programs here

Curator’s Log July 2013
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Twelve- RELIANCE- Campaign for the Cup: Tune up and Defender Races

The primary source for this paper is the RELIANCE Log: Mystic Seaport C. Oliver Iselin Collection; Collection 85 Box 2 Folder 3. It is available on line at library.mysticseaport.org/manuscripts/coll/coll085.cfm]

The campaign for the Cup began at 2:10 PM Wednesday April 29, 1903 when RELIANCE, with Mr. C. Oliver Iselin in command, was placed in commission at Newport and immediately sailed for New Rochelle, NY. The campaign will end and the Log will close a little over four months later on Sept. 3rd with the Cup won and the final words; “…a very hard seasons racing was finished.”
RELIANCE will never race again.

The 114 days from commissioning to the start of the Cup are filled with intense activity for the American contenders. Besides RELIANCE August Belmont mounts a serious campaign in CONSTITUTION, and E. D. Morgan fills out the field by investing to refit and campaign COLUMBIA. Capt. Nat and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company must fit out and support all three. The sail makers work Sundays and most evenings through July fabricating, repairing, and recutting sails.

Tune-up of RELIANCE
The mistakes of 1901, evident in an ill-prepared CONSTITUTION, will not be repeated. This is the clear message of the 277-page RELIANCE Log. Charlie Barr and Iselin spend every available sailing day trying RELIANCE on all points of sail in varying conditions. They will return to Bristol once to have the boom and gaff lengthened. There are as many as six sets of Herreshoff sails to be tested. Iselin also purchases and tests sails made by the City Island loft of the English sail maker Ratsey. Each sail is evaluated and stretched. Sails are continually cycling between tests and the lofts. The days are intense, Iselin, Capt. Nat and Barr work closely together, but they do not always agree-

“Arrive Bristol 4:50 AM. Underway 9:45 AM with Mr. Herreshof and Mr. Hathaway [Sail loft foreman] aboard to note the defects in sails and rigging. Anchored 11:30 AM. In PM take off mainsail A. Taken ashore to recut, also the boom and gaff to be lengthend.” [RELIANCE Log Saturday May 9]
“Men are working in the shops today hurrying work on the gaff and boom.” [RELIANCE Log Sunday May 10]
Repairs and alts completed on Monday May 11 and on Tuesday; “Altered mainsail hoisted…Mr Herreshoff measured the RELIANCE with 53 men aboard placed amidships- there are three marks out aft and one out forward. Spreaders are strengthened by additional wire rigging. Underway testing sails with Mr. Herreshoff and Hathaway on board.” [RELIANCE Log May 10 and 11]
“Mr. Herreshoff was much pleased with the setting of the sails, and the rigging. He also thought the RELIANCE was moving very fast, but Mr. Iselin did not think so.” [RELIANCE Log Wednesday May 13]

The Defender Races
The races to select the defender begin on May 21 with the five-race Glen Cove series and end with the selection of RELIANCE following one official trial race off Newport on July 27. In between, the contenders meet in various places from Sandy Hook to Vineyard Haven. RELIANCE never loses a race, except one on corrected time to CONSTITUTION. The Log records the progress of RELIANCE-

Following race #3 of the Glen Cove series: “Firm showing to windward and with spinnaker. Disappointing on close reach and sail carrying ability.” [RELIANCE Log Tuesday May 26]
Following race #5 of the Glen Cove series: “First leg with the wind blowing 7 or 8 knots the RELIANCE outpointed and out footed both the other boats. We were very much pleased with this showing.” [RELIANCE Log Saturday May 30]
Monday June 15 the NYYC annual regatta to be sailed off Glen Cove is called because of heavy rain. The Log is concerned that except for June 11 there has been scarcely a day in two weeks to test sails. [RELIANCE Log June 15]
Race off Larchmont on a 30-mile triangular course. At 1:50 PM on June 15 the telescoping topmast is carried away and RELIANCE withdraws from the race. A new topmast is sent from Herreshoff by the Fall River Line; in place on the 18th and racing resumes on the 20th. [RELIANCE Log June 15- 20]
RELIANCE is dry-docked and the unpainted bronze plated bottom is polished “with mineral wool a naptha.” [RELIANCE Log Tuesday June 23]
The Newport series begins on June 29 and following the first race the Log notes: “This is the first trial of the RELIANCE in a good breeze at sea. The showing was satisfactory. The elapsed time today beat all previous records.” [RELIANCE Log Monday June 29]
On Monday July 27 following the selection of RELIANCE to defend the Cup it is recorded in the Log: “Generally speaking the RELIANCE performance has been fine, the windward and leeward work being specially praiseworthy. Reaching she has been a disappointment.”

To be continued next month with the Cup races scheduled to start off Sandy Hook on August 20th.

John Palmieri

Up Next – America’s Cup Hall of Fame Induction

If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday, August 5th, why not join us for the Induction of three new members of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame?

This event is one of the great traditions held during every America’s Cup season, and a great way to recognize those who have contributed so much over many decades to the history of the Cup.

The Induction will take place at a special dinner in their honor at the fabulous de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, co-hosted by the Herreshoff Marine Museum and Louis Vuitton.

This year’s Inductees are:

~Lucy M. Jewett of San Francisco, whose involvement and leadership dates back to INTREPID in 1974, followed by several Cup winning STARS & STRIPES Teams. In addition to supporting several Cup challenges from San Francisco, she also has worked to ensure that the city is a great host for the 34th Match.

~Noel Robins of Perth, the helmsman of AUSTRALIA in Newport in 1977, who in 1986-87 went on to organize the first America’s Cup event held outside of the US, and which, so far, is the largest held and one of the most successful. Noel died in 2003.

~Grant Simmer is the third Inductee. A three-time winner of the America’s Cup starting in 1983 when he was the 26 year old navigator of AUSTRALIA II, the first challenger to win America’s Cup. Grant continues to be involved as General Manager of Oracle Team USA.

Please Join Us for what will be a delightful evening.
For reservations call Elisabeth Lavers at 401 253 5000 ext. 20.

Curator’s Log June 2013
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Eleven- Revisiting the Launch of RELIANCE: Arson and Skirts

All the news articles of the April 11, 1903 launching credited the syndicate and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company for a very successful and on-time event.  Two articles differed from the rest by relating tales of behind the scenes events.
One under the headlines, “ATTEMPT TO BURN RELIANCE” reported “a leak out of Bristol” that someone had tried to start a fire in the wooden south construction shop where RELIANCE was being readied. Late the Monday evening before the launching workmen found a candle burning in a socket on a heap of greasy overalls.  [Candles were being used at the time to provide light for riveting below decks.] When found the candle was within an inch of igniting the clothing. Whether placed there by carelessness or malice was not determined, but watchmen were alerted to keep extra lookout for the remainder of the night.
The next evening a heap of overalls was found near the same place under the staging built up around RELIANCE, but this time the candle atop the clothing was unlighted. The police were brought in to investigate. The circumstances were similar to a number of candle-initiated incendiary fires set in wooden buildings in Bristol a few years before.  However that firebug had been caught and was incarcerated at the State Insane Hospital in Cranston. In the Herreshoff event the police developed no evidence of a firebug and the candles were attributed to  “carelessness of someone in the shop”.
A Providence newspaper in an article headlined, “PROBABLY NO SKIRTS” reported that the launching plan for RELIANCE included using sails to cover the hull “to preserve the secrecy of her model”. Reportedly this decision had been made some ten days before the launch date.
[Herreshoff had always been very secretive about each new defender permitting no reporters inside the construction shops, allowing no interviews or briefings about the boats and enforcing a written employee policy that promised dismissal for revealing information about company projects. Even so to cover the hull of RELIANCE would have been a first, as none of the previous Cup boats had been covered.]
According to the article syndicate manager C. Oliver Iselin, at a conference in the Herreshoff office the very morning of the launching “suggested that it would be better to have the boat launched without any covering”. The decision was confirmed when the doors to the construction shop were opened later that day exposing the uncovered stern.
John Palmieri

Volunteer Spotlight

A big THANK YOU to the many volunteers who helped with hundreds of hours of their time to help the Museum open for the 2013 Season.
John Cobb and his team have launched floats, cleaned-up the waterfront, and prepared boats and moorings in record time. The waterfront tent is up and already in use for special events.

Meanwhile, the Reliance Model Project continues in Building 28 with checking and placement of hardware on the deck and spars. Sandy Lee and his team have made a significant effort to keep the project moving forward, and over 1000 people are following their progress on the Reliance Project blog.

In addition, a group of sailors of the Narragansett Bay Herreshoff “S” Class Association built a new viewing platform now installed in the Hall of Boats for visitors to see WIDGEON, our 1920 “S” Boat on display. Former Commodore Fred Roy spearheaded this effort to help improve our exhibits.

And many others who have held around the campus with gardening, cataloging the collection, welcoming visitors and giving museum tours.

All of our volunteers bring wonderful energy and life to this Museum, and enrich the welcome we give every visitor.

On 28 May, many of our volunteers spent the day touring as guests of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. A great chance to see what another successful museum does, and to develop some ideas that can work for us.

THANK YOU to every one!

Our volunteers at the New Beford Whaling Museum

Sailing Heals Invites Herreshoff Members to Take Part

Sailing Heals, a 501c3 non-profit that brings cancer patients and their caregivers out for healing sails courtesy of volunteer Host Captains, is busy with their second full season of operation. Last year Sailing Heals hosted 230 guests (cancer patients and their caregivers) in ports in Massachusetts, New York City, Rhode Island and Miami, FL. This year, they expect to increase that number as they expand their fleet of Host Captains and number of yacht clubs in the program.

Co-founder and Executive Director Trisha Boisvert said that the response in Rhode Island has been terrific.

“We have several Host Captains in the program from Newport and a few newcomers this season from the Bristol Yacht Club. Several times this season we’re partnering with the crew of the beautiful schooner Madeleine, based in Newport, to host larger groups for healing sails. A dynamic group of volunteers on our Rhode Island team helps to make all this possible.”

To date, Boisvert said that most cancer patients they’ve hosted from Rhode Island have come from Rhode Island Women and Infants Hospital.
“Although most of our guests come to us through our hospital affiliate channels,” Boisvert went on to say, “we’d like to expand a special invitation to the Herreshoff Museum Membership. If you or someone you care about has gone through a traumatic experience related to cancer or another serious illness, please feel free to sign on the VIP Guest Registry at our website: www.sailingheals.org.”

Under the question related to “Medical Affiliate” just write “Herreshoff” next to the option labeled “Other.” Boisvert said her team would then be in touch about next steps regarding scheduling a healing sail.

In addition you can learn more about Sailing Heals by stopping by their booth at the Bacardi Newport Regatta July 12 – 15 and/or the Newport International Boat Show, where they will be the official Charity of Record, Sept. 12 – 15.

Visit Their Website

Curators Log May 2013
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Ten- The 1903 Challenger SHAMROCK III
No Shamrock is complete without three petals- Now we have the third-
Will she lift the Cup?


Sir Thomas Lipton initiated correspondence with the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) for a third challenge in January 1902, culminating in a letter of October 7, 1902 to “challenge for the America’s Cup, subject to the same conditions as governed the last contest and proved to be so satisfactory namely- the best three out of five races…The first race to be sailed on Thursday 20th August 1903”.
46-year-old William Fife Jr. the third generation of a family of Scottish yacht designers and builders designs SHAMROCK III. Fife’s first two attempts at challengers (1893 & 1895) lose out in the British trials. In 1898 Lipton chooses him to design his first challenger, SHAMROCK I. Fife arranges the details of the 1899 match that subsequently also govern the 1901 and 1903 races. He personally directs all the trials, but on arrival in America becomes sick with inflammatory rheumatism and misses all the Cup races.  In Fife’s absence she is not sailed well. SHAMROCK I loses two races to the Nat Herreshoff designed COLUMBIA and fails to finish a third, losing her topmast in a moderate breeze.
In 1902 Fife has a problem. The Americans have three potential defenders. Two he knows (COLUMBIA and CONSTITUTION) and he assumes Nat will cover his bases with a new radical departure, larger and more powerful vessel. He designs SHAMROCK III to be of good all-around capability independent of weather conditions.
SHAMROCK III is built in the secrecy typical of Cup boats at the William Denny & Brothers yard in Dumbarton, near Glasgow Scotland. The yard, covering 40 acres and employing 2,200, dwarfs its American competitor. Work starts in advance of the challenge and she launches on St. Patrick’s Day 1903.  Two hundred fifty guests brought by special train and a local turnout of thousands witness the launching. Because of shoal water she is launched with camels alongside.
Framing and hull are of nickel steel. The entire hull is enameled white. Unlike RELIANCE hull seams are not flush, but lapped. The aluminum deck is covered with canvas and the mast and boom are galvanized steel.  She breaks tradition being the first English boat to use a wheel rather than tiller. The unusual wheel is made in bicycle fashion with steel spokes and rim- later to become standard in 12-Meter and IACC Cup racers.
There is considerable new thinking put into plans for the trials with an improved SHAMROCK I. The March 12 issue of Yachting World reports on the general dissatisfaction with prior challenger trials to furnish reliable estimates of vessel performance. “There was seldom any attempt to give the conditions of an actual race.”  In making arrangements with his crews for the 1903 trials Lipton “contracted explicitly to give them a dozen actual races between boat and boat, with all the rules stringently observed and prize money offered on the usual scale.”  The trial races are on handicap terms- SHAMROCK III scratch, giving SHAMROCK I some minutes allowance.   
Fitted out quickly SHAMROCK III sails for her first trial on April 8. Three successful trials prove her to be faster than SHAMROCK I. Over a total distance of 108 miles sailed, SHAMROCK III shows an advantage of 18-1/3 seconds per mile. The trials also show the advantage the wheel gives Capt. Wringe with a clear after deck.
On April 17 sailing in 15-knot breeze with gusts to 30 knots Wringe pushes the boat with a club-topsail aloft. The upper eye of a shroud turnbuckle splits; the mast buckles about 7 feet above the deck. One sailor, Wringe’s brother-in-law, is drowned and others are injured. Every part of the rig and sails with the exception of the boom is ruined. This greatly shortens the trial series. She does not sail again until May 7. Sail maker Ratsey, onboard that day comments: “So long as there is no tax placed on sail area in these cup matches accidents like this will happen.”
Lipton’s steam yacht ERIN leaves the Clyde on May 28 with SHAMROCK III in tow accompanied by the tug CRUIZER towing SHAMROCK I. The expedition numbers 156 men. Both sail yachts are fitted with short ocean rigs. They reach New York on June 14, 1903 where Lipton joins them on Wednesday June 24 after crossing on board the more comfortable steamer OCEANIC. He is given a royal welcome including lunch with President Theodore Roosevelt the following Friday. The ever-gracious Lipton responds with a tribute to the Bristol boat builders.
“ I appreciate as much as anybody in the world the great ability of Mr. Herreshoff. His new boat, the RELIANCE, is a bit of a wonder, but I want to say that I have got a flyer myself, and I believe in my heart that I have got the best chance of winning the America’s cup I ever had. I say this without in any way underestimating the abilities of Mr. Herreshoff.”
John Palmieri


Opening Day at the Herreshoff Marine Museum / America's Cup Hall of Fame
Sunday April 28th – 10am to 5pm

The Herreshoff Marine Museum / America’s Cup Hall of Fame will open for the season on Sunday April 28th. Opening Day is a great day to come by with your friends and family to celebrate spring and our amazing museum. Opening Day offers Free admission and a variety of activities for all to enjoy.These have been great fun as they draw in large crowds and we welcome many people who have never been to the Museum before in addition to those who come frequently. The full opening day schedule is listed below.

Come by, bring friends, and help us build enthusiasm for our Museum!

All Day Book Sale – The book sale will run all day and it will include rare books from the Museum’s library. We are also welcoming donations of books for sale on this day. If you have books that you would like to donate please bring them by on Sunday April 21st from noon to 2pm. They can also be dropped off during normal business hours in the museum’s office. Thank you and see you at the sale!

All Day Store Sale – Attendees will enjoy 10% off store merchandise (15% for Museum members). Come early to scout our your Herreshoff gear and gifts in preparation for the coming season.

All Day Let’s Go Sailing! – Learn about our sailing school programs for youth and adults. Hear stories and successes from our sailing instructors.

All Day Membership Desk - Our members support our day to day operations and all of our amazing programs. New members who sign up on Opening Day will receive a $10 store gift certificate.

All Day - View The RELIANCE Project – Meet the team and hear details of this epic endeavor. The RELIANCE project is located in Building 28 on our campus.

All Day - Learn to Row! - Hear about exciting programs from Dharma Voyage, an adventure rowing group operating from the Museum’s waterfront.

11 am to 3 pm Eat and greet! - Enjoy clam chowder generously provided by Blount Fine Foods.

12 pm to 3 pm - The Mosbacher Room - Visit this beautiful library on the Museum’s campus to see photographs and memorabilia from this famous America’s Cup sailor.

3 pm: Museum tour with Exhibitions Chair, David Curtin.

See you on the 28th!

Curator’s Log April 2013
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Nine- Launching RELIANCE

This paper is assembled from eight news articles reporting on the preparations for, and launching of RELIANCE on April 11, 1903. They include the Providence Sunday Herald, Providence Journal, New York Daily Tribune, New York World and two unidentified sources.

RELIANCE, The Hope of America is Afloat

In March 1903 the expected launch date for RELIANCE was the subject of much press speculation. Estimates ran from April 7 to April 20 or later. A number of things were happening at the Herreshoff shops to support an early launching. Riveting was expected to complete April 1st. Gradually the steel workers were dropping out of line on the topsides and being moved to Morton F. Plante’s schooner INGOMAR for the reason that each day the room for carrying on the work of plating and riveting narrowed down. Smoothing the underbody plating with coarse emery had started. The plating was to receive three burnishings with as many grades of emery; the last one was to be accomplished by the crew when they arrive in Bristol. The crew reported on Sunday March 29th and was over the side, burnishing the bottom, the following day.

Sailmakers were working overtime until nine in the evening. They did the cutting in the daylight and the sewing and stitching at night. The first set of sails was finished on Wednesday March 18th. The riggers were expected to start working overtime by late March

Actually to determine the launch date the reporters could have checked with the Herreshoff steel workers because dating back to sometime in January they had been promised a bonus of 15% of their wages for getting the boat ready before April 15th. Then a check of history would show that the Herreshoff brothers were biased to launching at the end of the 10-hour Saturday day shift; thereby minimizing the disruptive impact of the crowds on the workweek. It did not hurt that there was also a good late afternoon high tide for the set time- 5:30 PM Saturday April 11.

It was a sunny day with a fine breeze. Hundreds of visitors arrived by special trains. The “usually quiet little burgh” took on a holiday atmosphere with all flags in town flying in honor of the event. The Rhode Island Auto Club attended with about 30 machines whose occupants were covered with dust from the fast road travel. During the hour preceding the launching the streets, yards and wharves for half a mile on either side of the boat shed were literally black with people and every train from Providence brought fresh arrivals. Cameramen were everywhere. In spite of extra police details from Providence, pickpockets made their presence known; Robert Gammell of Providence reported he lost a scarfpin valued at $1000. Each Herreshoff workman was given two tickets entitling him to the privileges of the company wharves and they were out in force with wives and families. In the water more than one hundred small craft, the majority occupied by newsmen or photographers, were grouped on either side of the marine railway.

Doors of the big shed were opened at 5 o’clock to ticket holders. Tickets were given for admission within the “sacred precincts of the south shop” to friends of the firm, those connected with the corporation, and newsmen from the leading papers of New England and New York, while the AP covered for newspapers across the country. RELIANCE loomed above them, resting on her cradle, with her topsides painted a pure white and the underbody glistening like burnished gold; a beauty that should also be a winner. News reporters appreciated the freedom to view the, up to then, secret yacht, even though it was only for 30 minutes.

At 20 minutes past 5 o’clock the principals led by C. Oliver Iselin, managing owner for the syndicate, and his 17 year old daughter Nora, who was to christen RELIANCE, descended the gangway from the steam tender SUNBEAM to the dock and entered the shop. She “looked charming in a natty suit of blue serge with full length sleeves trimmed with lace…a picture hat trimmed with black ostrich feathers”. The launch platform was profusely decorated in bunting and flowers. The yacht had a necklace of wreaths and as a figurehead a stuffed eagle, holding the black and red colors of Iselin in its beak. Its wings were “outstretched so naturally that one could almost hear his great scream for RELIANCE”.

At 5:30 Iselin pulled the cord that sounded the gong three times and on the third stroke engineer Robertson released RELIANCE to slowly slide down the ways. Nora broke the bottle of wine with a hammer saying: “I christen thee RELIANCE and God bless you. Success.” At the same moment Capt. Nat Herreshoff, who like most men who do things was the least conspicuous of the many at the launching in his old broad brim felt hat and unpretentious suit, climbed on board and was on the deck ducking his head with the rest of the crew as the yacht just squeezed out of the shop.

As her shapely counter appeared outside the shed dozens of cameras and two moving picture machines were focused on her. Two small doors over the big door opened and three sailormen brought out an ensign that was unfurled from the stern. The applause that followed was enthusiastically started by members of the Rhode Island Automobile Club; perched like rail birds on a lumber pile on the dock. As she passed out of the shed the private signals of Mr. Iselin and the owners were raised amidships.

Several papers noted a “picturesque feature” lent by a barge manned by members of the Bristol Naval Reserves and carrying a hearty freight of very enthusiastic young women. They cheered for the crew, for Charlie Barr, and for Nat Herreshoff. As for Nat Herreshoff “pacing up and down, noting every detail… indifferent, as usual, to the applause or anything else save the care of his latest creation…they might as well have cheered for the eagle figurehead, so far as receiving any outward sign of appreciation was concerned, but they cheered just the same because he was rightly the man of the hour, as he has been on other similar occasions."

RELIANCE floated clear some ten minutes later to the cheers of the crowd and the tremendous screeching of whistles from the assembled steam yachts, the crew tender SUNBEAM and the US Navy torpedo boat CUSHING. Thus began the illustrious career of the greatest of the America’s Cup yachts and for all that witnessed the day there was but one sentiment- “The Cup is Safe”.

John Palmieri

Field Trips Booking Now - Summer Seamanship Program Enrollment Open

While reading back issues of the Herreshoff "Chronicles", our printed newsletter from 1979 – 2001, I came across an account of how Captain Nat would amuse himself by determining the approximate wind velocity from the deck of a steamer while en route to Bermuda. His method was a novel graphic one, based on the known ship’s speed and the wind direction. His equipment consisted of the back of an envelope, a pencil, and a folding pocket ruler. We teach this and over a dozen other lessons in the Museum or in your classroom. Call or e-mail for the curriculum enriching offerings we can deliver.

Summer Seamanship classes are open for enrollment now HERE. Based on the tried and true curriculum we have been using for over ten years we are incorporating US Sailing materials, methods, and certifications wherever it is logical to do so. For example, we will offer the Basic Keelboat Certification this year for adults and youth. The US Sailing Certification Series continues with Basic Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, Coastal Navigation and so forth. Come for a harbor tour, or come all summer. You will be enthralled. The 12½s look great and you will feel great in one.

The Seamanship Program will shine this summer because the After School Mentorship Program has applied more elbow grease, paint and varnish than ever before, and because we have added two donated boats to the fleet.

We are proud to offer unique overnight trips for teenagers (and adults) aboard KESTREL, the Museum’s flagship, again this year. Our basic trips will depart every Monday and Thursday, returning in the afternoon of the next day. Each trip will include meals and lodging aboard in a nearby cove of Narragansett Bay. These trips include instruction in seamanship skills such as navigation, or coastal piloting, reefing, and anchoring. These are a wonderful opportunity for parent/child or family experience. What a perfect Father’s Day gift!

email Richard for more information

Jim and Oliver on KESTREL

Lecture Series Continues with David Liebenberg’s Presentation on the American Youth Sailing Force

We are looking forward to continuing the success of our lecture series with another great lecture scheduled for February 28th at the Museum. David Liebenberg is a junior at Tufts University and he will be presenting on the American Youth Sailing Force and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup. David is a phenomenal sailor and his young career already has many accolades. We look forward to hearing him talk about his experience in the AC45’s and on San Francisco Bay. “The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is an international sailing competition between 10 teams, each representing their home country, with all team members being between 19 and 24 years old. The teams will be sailing the same 45 foot, wing sailed catamarans currently being sailed by the elite America’s Cup teams competing in the America’s Cup World Series. Not only does this event represent the pinnacle of high performance youth sailing in the world, but it will also form a clear pathway for the next generation of the world’s top sailors into the America’s Cup (1).”

David is an active member of the sailing team where he sails varsity on CFJ’s and also represents the University in keel boat events. David is well-prepared to step on any boat and figure out what it takes to go fast. Currently David is gearing toward an Olympic campaign on 49ers in the San Francisco Bay.

Buy your tickets now

And learn more at the American Youth Sailing Force Website.

See you on the 28th!

Our lecture series is sponsored by Points East Magazine and Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight Distillery

(1) https://americanyouthsailingforce.com/

Buy Tickets Today for Frostbiter’s Bash Party
The Frost Biter’s Bash presented by The Bay heats up winter at the Museum. Join hundreds of guests young and old to enjoy entertainment, dinner, dancing, and auctions amidst the hall of boats. Affordable tickets include open bar. Up for auction: tickets to watch America’s Cup racing from on the race course, and more!
After months of planning, The Frost Biter’s Bash presented by The Bay is nearly here.
On March 9, the Hall of Boats will be transformed into a winter nautical wonderland. Amidst the history of Herreshoff yachts, the party will tack and jibe through the night with music, dancing, and plenty of libations from the open bar at the windward mark.
A fleet of nine local restaurateurs and caterers including Russell Morin, Easy Entertaining, Top This, Le Central, Dewolf Tavern, Nacho Mamas, Preppy Pig BBQ, Compton Clambakes and The Duck and Bunny will serve dinner and desserts amidst the rudders and keels of Captain Nat’s fastest designs throughout the evening.
A combination of live and silent auction items will be available. Sailors will appreciate the ultimate America’s Cup spectator package: a room for two at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco, access to the Louis Vuitton VIP lounge and two tickets to watch the Louis Vuitton Cup racing from aboard the mark boat this August – you can’t get any closer to the action than this! Two packages are available for those who want to bring a crowd.
Other notable auction items include a three-day weekend at a ski house in New Hampshire, a beautiful locally hand crafted Nantucket basket by Helen Lee, a Water Rower wooden rowing machine, a chartered sailing cruise on Narragansett Bay, and other local treats generously donated by area restaurants, retailers and salons.
For added fun, masters of Café Zelda’s hook and ring bar game will be well prepared for a similar contest hiding behind a 43-foot sloop, along with other games of chance to add to the fun amidst dinner, dancing and drinks.
Sailors, hold onto your tillers: our open bar features Privateer Rum, Bootlegger Vodka, Newport Storm Beer, America’s Cup Red Wine by Sakonnet Vineyards and signature cocktails from Triple Eight Distillery, among other standard concoctions, brews and wines.
The Frost Biter’s Bash Presented by The Bay will be the hottest party of the winter, with the starting gun at 18:30 on Saturday, March 9. Boats finishing after 23:00 will not be scored. Individual tickets are $100 and patron tickets are also available at $250, providing additional recognition in support of the Museum. See you there!

Lecture Series Continues with David Liebenberg’s Presentation on the American Youth Sailing Force

We are looking forward to continuing the success of our lecture series with another great lecture scheduled for February 28th at the Museum.  David Liebenberg is a junior at Tufts University and he will be presenting on the American Youth Sailing Force and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.  David is a phenomenal sailor and his young career already has many accolades.  We look forward to hearing him talk about his experience in the AC45’s and on San Francisco Bay.  “The Red Bull Youth America’s Cup is an international sailing competition between 10 teams, each representing their home country, with all team members being between 19 and 24 years old. The teams will be sailing the same 45 foot, wing sailed catamarans currently being sailed by the elite America’s Cup teams competing in the America’s Cup World Series. Not only does this event represent the pinnacle of high performance youth sailing in the world, but it will also form a clear pathway for the next generation of the world’s top sailors into the America’s Cup (1).”

David is an active member of the sailing team where he sails varsity on CFJ’s and also represents the University in keel boat events. David is well-prepared to step on any boat and figure out what it takes to go fast. Currently David is gearing toward an Olympic campaign on 49ers in the San Francisco Bay.
Buy your tickets now

And learn more at the American Youth Sailing Force Website.
See you on the 28th!

Our lecture series is sponsored by Points East Magazine and Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight Distillery

(1) https://americanyouthsailingforce.com/

Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
During and following the 1895 Cup there was criticism of Nat Herreshoff’s extensive use of aluminum in DEFENDER because of some structural problems, leaks and the long-term issues of corrosion with dissimilar metals in contact with seawater.[i] Capt. Nat’s view of this is best summarized in his letter of May 15, 1930 to W. P. Stephens:[ii]
 “She was a strong boat and in every way amply strong for the purpose, or for crossing the Atlantic. But the aluminum, as was well known at the time of building, would be short lived, and it was. But it lasted from 1895 to 1899 with little repairing.”  [DEFENDER was broken up at City Island in 1901.]
When developing the design of his next defender in 1898, COLUMBIA, he took a new approach to a strong yet lightweight hull. All use of aluminum was eliminated; bronze was substituted for the aluminum topsides and the deck was wood supported by steel beams. The new “lightness” was achieved by using nickel steel in place of ordinary ship steel. As Lukens Steel Co. reported in a telegram to syndicate manager C. Oliver Iselin:[iii]
“We tested this steel and it is 50% stronger than ordinary ship steel which we are making all along for the leading ship builders. Its ductility is remarkable considering the high strength. Do not think you could have gotten a better material for the purpose.” [Capt. Nat did not just rely on Lukens; he had done his own testing of the nickel steel before applying it the year before to the torpedo boats PORTER and DUPONT.]
In all 15 tons of nickel steel was used in the hull and fittings at a cost premium of about one third above the cost of ordinary ship steel. Additionally nickel steel was used for the hollow steel mast (first in Cup competition), boom and gaff. However in the decision to move away from aluminum there was a loss in the ballast to displacement ratio; DEFENDER 55.7%, COLUMBIA 54.03%. Also due to higher wage rates, labor costs to build the hull increased an estimated 20%.[iv] In approaching the design for his new contender to defend the Cup, Capt. Nat went to work on both these issues.
His hull solution in the 1901 CONSTITUTION included two features:

Until CONSTITUTION all vessels had been built with narrowly spaced transverse framing. Wood boats with steam bent or sawn transverse wood frames, composite construction such as GLORIANA with iron bulb angle frames and wood planking, and metal hulls such as COLUMBIA with nickel steel bulb angles spaced at 20 inches and bronze plating. In CONSTITUTION Capt. Nat developed a new design standard using relatively light longitudinal frames supported on strong fabricated transverse web frames spaced at 80 inches. It created a stronger, but lighter hull that was less expensive in man-hours and material to build. It also smoothed the hull by replacing the longitudinal lapped joints between hull plates with flush riveted connections. This is arguably one of his most important and lasting developments. Light longitudinals with strong fabricated web frames remains the standard form of construction of modern ships and aircraft. 
Aluminum was again used for the deck and deck beams as in DEFENDER and nickel steel was used as in other areas in COLUMBIA. 

As a result of these improvements the weight of hull from COLUMBIA to CONSTITUTION was reduced by 15% and the ballast to displacement ratio increased to 55.5%.[v]  While costs to build the hull were reportedly reduced we have not found records documenting the savings.
John Palmieri

[i] See Curator Log of November 2011 NGH and the America’s Cup Part Five-Bringing Aluminum to the Cup in 1895 for a description of the use of aluminum in DEFENDER.
[ii] NG Herreshoff WP Stephen- Their Last Letters annotated by John W. Streeter, Herreshoff Marine Museum, Bristol, RI. 1988. Pg. 3.
[iii] Lukens Iron Steel Co. to C. Oliver Iselin March 6, 1899. Charles Oliver Iselin Papers. Coll. 85- Box 1, Folder 9, Page 1. Mystic Seaport.
[iv] Tons of nickel steel and labor costs from HMCo Cost Memoranda Sept. 16, 1898. Charles Oliver Iselin Papers. Coll. 85- Box 1, Folder 4, Page 1. Mystic  Seaport. 
[v] Data from NGH Naval Architecture and Engineering Notes on the vessels. Courtesy of Halsey C. Herreshoff

Field Trips Booking Now - Summer Seamanship Program Enrollment Open

While reading back issues of the Herreshoff "Chronicles", our printed newsletter from 1979 – 2001, I came across an account of how Captain Nat would amuse himself by determining the approximate wind velocity from the deck of a steamer while en route to Bermuda.  His method was a novel graphic one, based on the known ship’s speed and the wind direction. His equipment consisted of the back of an envelope, a pencil, and a folding pocket ruler. We teach this and over a dozen other lessons in the Museum or in your classroom. Call or e-mail for the curriculum enriching offerings we can deliver.

Summer Seamanship classes are open for enrollment now HERE.  Based on the tried and true curriculum we have been using for over ten years we are incorporating US Sailing materials, methods, and certifications wherever it is logical to do so. For example, we will offer the Basic Keelboat Certification this year for adults and youth. The US Sailing Certification Series continues with Basic Cruising, Bareboat Cruising, Coastal Navigation and so forth. Come for a harbor tour, or come all summer. You will be enthralled. The 12½s look great and you will feel great in one.
The Seamanship Program will shine this summer because the After School Mentorship Program has applied more elbow grease, paint and varnish than ever before, and because we have added two donated boats to the fleet.

We are proud to offer unique overnight trips for teenagers (and adults) aboard KESTREL, the Museum’s flagship, again this year. Our basic trips will depart every Monday and Thursday, returning in the afternoon of the next day.  Each trip will include meals and lodging aboard in a nearby cove of Narragansett Bay. These trips include instruction in seamanship skills such as navigation, or coastal piloting, reefing, and anchoring.  These are a wonderful opportunity for parent/child or family experience.  What a perfect Father’s Day gift!

email Richard for more information

Happy New Year from the Boat Shop

First of all we want to thank our donors and volunteers which are both increasing in number as reflected by the success of our annual appeal, and the activity in the Boat Shop. Across the harbor the fields of Poppasquash Point are dusted white while beside the museum an ‘S’ Class sloop sports a tidy new cover.  On Burnside Street cheerful Museum volunteers come and go from a variety of projects.

In the Boat Shop we have volunteers building the RELIANCE model under the capable leadership of Sandy Lee.  Others are painting, varnishing, and upgrading the 12 ½’s used in the seamanship program.  All over campus we have volunteers working on exhibits, and the buildings.  Some of our volunteers are Roger Williams University students working on several projects as interns.  In the office we have volunteers helping to mail thank you letters to donors, and working on the Reliance Blog, as well as scanning and cataloging an amazing collection of photographs. 

Information is abundant at the Museum, and the Education Committee is working with the local and state education departments to make it accessible to students and create knowledge.  We have designed extensive programming and we are building field trip programs as well as programs that we will take to the classroom. These programs are linked to the latest curriculum which includes introductory engineering.

The Summer Seamanship Program begins June 24th. Here we teach the art of seamanship. Seamanship is an art because it can only be learned by doing.  You can study buoyancy, current set and drift, and leeway in the classroom, but you can't learn to shoot a mooring except by practice.  Registration opens on February 1.

The lecture series is a great excuse to come by for a gam with old friends and new friends, and to learn something too.  January 24th Tim Fallon will talk about The Adventures of Kathleen, his engineless catboat which he cheerfully sails far and wide with his wife, dog, and young son.  February 28th David Liebenberg will be speaking about how he and his team qualified for the Youth America's Cup.  That's right, he's at Tufts University now, but next summer he will be aboard an AC 45 representing the USA and San Francisco. 

Like parties?  We have a good one planned for March 9 – The Frost Biter's Bash presented by The Bay.  Come support the Museum and enjoy good company, good food, and good music.   Order tickets and get more details here.

All this and exhibits too! Of course we are working on our exhibits while we are closed.  The active racing classes’ exhibit will be extended and improved as the ‘S’ Class continues to grow and the 12 1/2 is 99 years old in 2013!  The Steam and Fittings Hall is getting explanatory signage, and additional interpretive work.  The Timeline Wall is scheduled for an upgrade also.

Museum announces the Frost Biter's Bash presented by The BAY on Saturday March 9th

Here at the museum we have been busily preparing for our next big event.  The Bash, scheduled for March 9th will start at 6:30 and run to 11pm.  Committee co-chairs Joanna Davis and Lindsay Armstrong Mitchell have gathered a committee with members coming from Providence to Newport.   All hands are on deck to help with preparations for what is sure to be the party of the season.  Food stations, with fare supplied by local vendors, and bars will be spread throughout the Museum for guests to frequent and savor.  Also on hand will be a DJ, a photo booth, a games area, and tables with tempting items for a silent auction.  A live auction will happen during the event and all guests will want to make sure they are standing by and ready to bid on these amazing items soon to be announced.  The more we plan, the more excited we become as we realize this is an ideal opportunity for the Museum to welcome guests in the off-season, generate excitement amongst our members and many new faces, and celebrate one another’s company while looking forward to the spring and summer months soon to come.

An early invitation went out this week and tickets are currently being sold.  Sign up early so as not to miss out and like us on Facebook to stay up to date with our vendors, auction items and other party facts.

We are pleased to announce our Title Sponsor - The Bay.  This is a wonderful opportunity for the Museum and we look forward to working with The Bay staff on this very exciting event.  Learn more about The Bay here.

Other sponsorship opportunities are still available.  This is a great way for local companies to stay connected to a great non-profit organization.  The event will market all sponsors to thousands of people as we post to facebook, send out e-blasts, and remind all of our friends that this is the place to be on the 9th.  Opportunities are listed here or people can call the office to learn more: 401.253.5000

Special thanks to HCC Marketing from Barrington for preparing many event materials and creating this beautiful website.

See you on the 9th!

Curator’s Log January 2013

The Herreshoff Marine Museum Boat Collection-
The Fin-Keelers: There is Work to be Done

THE HERRESHOFF MARINE MUSEUM / AMERICA'S CUP HALL OF FAME is dedicated to the education and inspiration of the public through presentations of the history and innovative work of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company (HMCo) and the America's Cup competition. We accomplish that in a number of ways, one of which is the preservation and display of representative boats of the types designed and built by the Company.

Nat Herreshoff is recognized as the developer of the first successful full-size fin-keel yacht. [This boat, the 1891, 25-foot waterline sloop DILEMMA, is well-displayed in the International Small Craft Center at the Mariners’ Museum, Newport News, VA] The HMCo built about thirty fin-keelers of Nat’s design between 1891 and 1898 including his first one-design classes, the five-boat Larchmont Class of 1894 and the twelve-boat Newport 30 Class of 1896.

Other than DILEMMA the only other remaining Herreshoff fin-keelers are in our collection; the 1892 WEE WINN (HMCo 425) and the 1898 JILT (HMCo 493). Both are in storage awaiting the resources to accomplish planned restorations for static display.

The 16-foot waterline WEE WINN was designed by Nat, with a bronze fin and lead bulb, to fit the "One-Half Rater Class" of English small centerboarders and fin keelers. Sailed on the Solent by Miss Winifred Sutton she achieved, in the first year, 21 wins and one second (hence the name WEE WINN).  WEE WINN had a long and successful race career and was the subject of an admiring description by the English naval architect Uffa Fox as an excellent example of light Herreshoff construction of the 1890s. Actively sailed in the Cowes area until about 1973, WEE WINN was rescued from a bonfire and donated to the museum by Jonathan Janson in 1984 with hull intact, but missing the fin, rudder and spars. WEE WINN’s restoration plan includes stabilization of the hull, a strip-planked deck to original design, a new fin and bulb, rudder and spars

JILT is one of two boats built from one half-model & drawing, but with different keel configurations. JILT is gaff-rigged sloop with a small cuddy and canoe shaped hull 31 feet length on deck with a 21 foot waterline from which is suspended a deep fin keel fashioned from timber and lead with a modified bulb, and a spade rudder.

JILT is referred to in Clinton Crane’s Yachting Memories (Van Nostrand 1952) as "Billy Gay's unbeaten JILT". JILT was later sold to the famous artist Charles Dana Gibson, creator of "the Gibson Girl", who had Bristol roots. He sailed her in the 1900s during summer vacations in Maine. In 1961 Duncan Spencer found JILT in a field in Maine with a rotted deck and cuddy. He refit the hull and returned her to service with a plywood deck and larger deckhouse.  The boat again fell on hard times and suffered hull deformation from poppets set on uneven ground without keel blocks. That is how she arrived at the museum when donated by R. Daniel Prentiss in 1991.  The restoration plan consists of two parts: (1) Stabilize the hull including removal of hull deformation; (2) Restore the cedar lap deck and cuddy.

The museum is searching for partners for the two historically important boats. If you are interested in helping the museum return them to their splendor as evidenced by the Kathy Bray prints please let us know.

John Palmieri

Museum Given Model of Important America’s Cup Yacht

On December 13th, 1892, the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. signed a $45,000 contract to build an America’s Cup defender for the New York Yacht Club syndicate headed by Archibald Rogers.  This cutter was christened as COLONIA (HMCo. #435) and was built on a waterline of 85’ with a beam of 24’ and draft of 15’.  Two months later, HMCo. signed the contract for another defender candidate for a syndicate headed by C. Oliver Iselin.  This contract was for VIGILANT (HMCo. #437) with a price of $55,000.  VIGILANT would defeat COLONIA in the defender trials, and then go on to defend the Cup successfully against VALKYRIE II in the Eighth Match for America’s Cup held in October 1893.

COLONIA and VIGILANT were the first of the long line of Herreshoff yachts that would compete for and defend America’s Cup over the next 41 years.

An interesting feature of the design for COLONIA is that in her original construction plans, N.G Herreshoff provided for her to be converted from her large cutter rig for America’s Cup racing to a more practical schooner rig.  In 1896 this conversion took place, the yacht was renamed CORONA, and she served as the Flagship of the New York Yacht Club (1900-1902) under Commodore Lewis Cass Ledyard.

In 2012, the Museum was notified that a long-time member of the Museum, the grandson of Commodore Ledyard, had given a model of the schooner CORONA to the Museum.  The model arrived at the Museum shortly after Thanksgiving, and from subsequent research it appears that the model was made circa 1903 for Commodore Ledyard by the important model-builder Gustav Grahn of New York.

CORONA went on to have an active racing career with her schooner rig.  Twenty years after being built, she was still winning races, and we know that she survived through 1930 when she served as the “mother ship” for Harold S. Vanderbilt’s America’s Cup campaign with the “J” Boat ENTERPRISE, another Herreshoff-built defender.

The model of CORONA is on display in the conference room of the Museum.


Our Museum lecture series is well underway with our first 2 lectures passed and a full lineup for the New Year.  Our lectures will continue to run one lecture per month for January, February, March, April and May.  Stay tuned for updates and information on upcoming lectures.  You can find information on our January lecture with Tim Fallon here.

We are pleased to announce that our lectures are being filmed and the first 2 installments are ready to be viewed online here.  Our lecture series has been very successful thanks to our wonderful presenters and our great sponsors.  This is a perfect way to share the lectures with an even larger audience.  Enjoy watching Halsey Herreshoff present The Herreshoff Method and John Palmieri present The Herreshoff Torpedo Boats.

As always, Thank you to our sponsors, Points East Magazine and Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight Distillery.

See you on January 24th!

Curator’s Log December 2012

The Torpedo Boat Herreshoff: A New Departure for the Admiralty (1)

In 1878 the British Admiralty, master of the most powerful navy in the world, decided to try something different- order a warship from a foreign builder with “some very interesting peculiarities” (2).  The builder was Herreshoff and the vessel HERRESHOFF (HMCo 44) a 60 foot double-ender torpedo boat of composite construction- 7⁄8 inch white pine planking below the waterline and 1⁄16 inch steel skin above; equipped with a coil boiler and a compound steam engine.  (See the above graphic.)

The Admiralty had been steadily improving its steam launches, but always in the same direction each building on a previous design. The Herreshoff boat represented an improvement from a different point of departure.

The boat weighed only 6 tons, 8 with torpedoes and stores. The wood underwater planking was more durable than the very thin steel plating that would be admissible to keep the weight down. The steel skin and curved steel superstructure provided the hull strength and stiffness at the ends for davit storage.

The patented safety coil boiler consisted of 300 feet of 2-inch diameter wrought iron pipe formed into a coil encasing the coal-fired combustion chamber. The compound engine, placed well forward, was joined by a curved drive shaft to a 38-inch diameter propeller positioned so that it was always in solid water.  Going ahead or astern the boat could be stopped in ¾ of its length. The partly balanced rudder turned 360° in any direction, allowing a tight turning circle of three times boat length.

The design of the boat, designated TB 73, and its performance were a matter of special interest when John and Nat delivered her to the Royal Victualling Yard on the Thames. On Jan. 20, 1879 the First Lord of the Admiralty and other senior officers witnessed the initial trials; hoisting tests with full crew and stores aboard, boiler steam up and lifting safeties in five minutes, rapid starting, stopping and turning and a trial speed run at 16 knots. All were highly successful and the Herreshoffs were complimented on the results.

After one week of trials the boat was delivered to Portsmouth where the Dockyard engineers took a more critical view of the vessel and the “difference between English and American ideas upon the construction of torpedo boat machinery soon became manifest…weaknesses (were) remedied (in the design and construction of the engines, followed by orders from the Admiralty to) “have her put through a searching trial”.

“In execution of this order the boat was run four hours per day at full speed for fourteen consecutive days, Sundays excepted…This was the most severe test that any torpedo boat had ever been put to… The boat passed through this test with perfect success.”

She later served as a vehicle to instruct crews of the Steam Reserve in the working of the Herreshoff system and the Admiralty, impressed by the results, ordered two 48-foot boats of a new type from Herreshoff.

John Palmieri

Click here to watch John Palmieri's lecture titled: The Herreshoff Torpedo Boats: Innovation at the Beginning of the New Navy

(1) A special thanks to Claas van der Linde for his invaluable assistance with this Log.

(2) Primary source and quotes from "The Herreshoff Torpedo Boats." (Reprinted from "Engineering.")In: Maw, William Henry. Recent Practice in Marine Engineering. Volume 1. London, New York, 1884, p. 280-287.

After School Mentorship Update

Lots of progress to report from the boat-shop, building #28.  Participation is up in our after school program, now in its third year.  We are very proud of our oldest mentee, Luke Williams, who has recently begun working with Bristol Boats’ crew under the watchful eye of Dan Shea. Luke graduated from Chariho High School in 2012 and studied marine technology there.  He is attending CCRI.  He was our volunteer junior boat-shop manager this summer, and helped many projects move at a steady pace.  Luke was also on the Herreshoff Museum’s team that placed 2nd at the 2012 Herreshoff Regatta.

Our big spring project was to replace 67 rivets in URCHIN, and one frame.  Fairing the hull was incorporated into the painting process, and she came out looking sweet.  We celebrated her re-launching in June, and then sailed URCHIN all summer.  She is now being offered for sale, as we have received two boat donations this year!

SWALLOW was the first vessel we tackled this fall.  She is generously on loan from Larry Geuss and Pam Lenehan for sailing school use.  We have scraped and re-painted her bilges, floorboards, aft and forward compartments.  We took a turn on the keelbolts while we were there – all secure. Then we have put two coats of varnish all over, and six more on the seats!  We also faired and painted her topsides. SWALLOW looks great!

FROLIC, also on loan for sailing school use is getting a replacement starboard seat support, interior white paint, and six coats of varnish.

We are also fashioning a replacement boom from a larger left over piece of fir, repairing a tiller, building oak boom supports, and keeping the shop clean for the benefit of all.  The interaction with the RELIANCE model project is wonderful.  Here is their read on it:

“Our RELIANCE team sees these youth at work on Tuesday and other week-day afternoons during which time we have the opportunity to discuss with them our progress on building a "real" boat. We get to work with them on reducing RELIANCE plans to scale, geometry problems associated with boat-building, and drafting among the math and engineering problems we face. To the extent that we can also find work for them and their parents on RELIANCE, they get some practical application as well!

So you see, Building 28 can be a "happening place" worth your visit!”

Learn More about the Mentorship Program here

November 2012

Dear readers of The Current newsletter,

I am writing to ask for your generous financial support of the Herreshoff Marine Museum / America’s Cup Hall of Fame.

2012 has been an extraordinary year for the Museum and this is due to the contributions of many like you who share respect for the past and believe that it can provide examples for the future.  Some of the activities of the past year are pictured on the enclosed collage.  While these are significant, it is even more important that we are positioned for greater success in 2013.  In fact, we cannot accomplish so much without your support.

Because of you this Museum is a “gem”.  Our membership and visitor attendance are growing.  Newly revised exhibits better present the story of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company as well as the America’s Cup Hall of Fame.  Together, these tell the story of the people and the boats that had such a tremendous impact on yachting and manufacturing history.

With your continuing support, we can try to ensure that people will witness these accomplishments by preserving, documenting, and presenting them.

We want you to be part of this dynamic change.  I ask and thank you for your generous support of our mission to educate and inspire.

We look forward to seeing you at the Museum in the near future.

All best wishes for the upcoming holidays.

Dyer Jones
Chief Executive Officer

Curator’s Log November 2012

Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part 9- Building the 1903 Defender

Sometime, possibly late July 1902, NGH starts considering his design for the defender at his home Love Rocks. A new challenge from Lipton is expected.  At 54 he is reluctant to take on the responsibility  ”my best years of work are past. I have not the ability or stamina and endurance I had 5 years ago”. (1898 when Lipton first challenged). Looking at the power & beauty of RELIANCE it is hard to understand where he may be lacking. He designs the most powerful Cup vessel ever. He incorporates within its hull and rig improvements from his previous designs. She will achieve the fastest time over the 30-mile course.

In early September he writes C. Oliver Iselin that the model is very nearly complete, but Iselin pushes him to do more. Nat responds with a second design that is more powerful and more extreme in type. In Iselin’s words “Pikes Peak or Bust”.

Shortly after the contract to build the defender is signed on Oct. 16, W. Butler Duncan sees the half model and writes Iselin, “Nat has gone far enough this time… she ought to be fast if you can hold her sails and hull together.”

Nat, assisted by 4 draftsmen goes to work on the drawings and material bills necessary to order plating, shapes, castings and forgings, as well as start construction. Designs developed for COLUMBIA and CONSTITUTION are adapted or further improved.

One of the first construction drawings is the mold for the lead keel that is to be built on the marine railway cradle in the South Shop. This is a major structure as it must contain the molten lead until it cools to a solid. The form is built and on Nov. 26, in seven hours (plus several more hours of finish pouring) 204,000 lbs. of molten lead keel is poured into the mold from a house and furnace specially set up for the job.

This is one month earlier than previous defenders. Construction of the new defender will be pushed to achieve an early delivery. The mistakes of 1901- an ill prepared CONSTITUTION- will not be repeated.

John Palmieri

Back to School

Educational guided field trips can be booked for groups between six and 100 students by calling 401.253.5000 or emailing [email protected].  Our unique collection sparks the imagination with dynamic, interactive activities and investigations.

"The Herreshoff Education Department is in the process of updating its school prgrams to reflect the changes made in Rhode Island Curriculum Frameworks and Common Core.  We are lucky to have a highly qualified Education Committee at the Museum with interests in public schools, charter schools, private schools, and home schooling.  The Assistant Superintendent of Bristol Warren Schools has also been working with us to further enhance programming and increase visitation from school groups.  We provide numerous different school programs for students K-12, as well as collaborations with Bryant College and Roger Williams students.

Look to our website for the new, improved outline and offerings, which include: How Fast Can a Boat Go? Who Were The Herreshoffs? What Happened Here?  Measuring around a curve -- comparing LOA to LWL; buoyancy studies; mechanical advantage activities; Corrosion; Model Building, small, medium, and large; Adventure Rowing, and so much more.

To make a reservation for a school program or tour, please contact Richard Feeny, Educator, at (401) 253-5000.


Herreshoff Marine Museum Announces Grant from Rhode Island Foundation (Bristol, Rhode Island, USA)

The Herreshoff Marine Museum/America’s Cup Hall of Fame is pleased to announce that The Rhode Island Foundation, Providence Rhode Island, has awarded a $10,000 grant to the Museum to support Strategic Plan Development. The Museum has engaged a well-recognized Rhode Island consulting company to lead board and staff through the strategic planning process. Mr David Ford, Chairman of the Board, says: “We are very pleased that the Rhode Island Foundation is supporting our effort to develop a visionary, comprehensive five year plan that will enable us to realize our significant potential given the wealth of assets we have at our disposal. We look forward to working with our members, supporters and the local community to help determine and secure the future of the Museum.”

The Rhode Island Foundation is a philanthropic and community leader dedicated to meeting the needs of the people of Rhode Island. Founded in 1916, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the United States, and is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2011, the Foundation made grants of $28 million to more than one thousand organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. https://www.rifoundation.org/

The Herreshoff Marine Museum and America’s Cup Hall of Fame is dedicated to the education and inspiration of the public through presentations of the history and innovative work of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and the America’s Cup competition.


Lecture Series to Start on October 25th with Halsey Herreshoff presenting The Herreshoff Design Method

We are pleased to announce that we are working with Points East Magazine and Cisco Brewers again for this year’s lecture series.  The sponsors came on 2 years ago and it has been a fantastic partnership.  We hope that you have seen this success in our many lectures and other events.  The Points East Staff have been on hand to help with planning, prep and advertising and Cisco arrives at each event to stock us with cold beverages for our guests.  Thank you to our sponsors for their support and enthusiasm.  We are looking forward to a great lineup.

First in the series this year is Halsey C Herreshoff presenting on the Herreshoff Method of Half Hull Construction.  This lecture is on October 25th.  Doors at 6pm – Lecture at 7pm.  The Nathanael Greene Herreshoff Model Room holds a collection unique in the world - Captain Nat's models used to create his designs, including his America's Cup defenders. The 500 models are works of art in themselves, and are testimony to Captain Nat's genius as a naval architect. Guests are welcome to tour the N.G. Herreshoff Model Room following the presentation.

Our second lecture will be on Thursday, November 29 with Museum Curator, John Palmieri.  The lecture is titled The Herreshoff Torpedo Boats: Innovation at the Beginning of the Modern US Navy - Forget the stories you thought you knew about Herreshoff torpedo boats- innovations were adapted from yacht designs; battles with local Navy inspectors drove the decision to leave the business. New team research reveals the influence of a strong Narragansett Bay connection and the Herreshoff brothers 20 year effort to dominate the torpedo boat business with innovative designs and a business plan to nullify the influence of the Navy bureaucracy and their specifications. 

We will not have a lecture in December but we will be back with lectures in January, February, March, April and May.  We are working out final details and we’re looking forward to a great lineup.  Stay tuned for more information and see you soon at the Museum.


This is the seventh in a series about Nathanael G. Herreshoff and the America’s Cup

Lining up the “A Team” for the 1903 America’s Cup

Preparing to face a new challenge from Sir Thomas Lipton to “lift” the Cup from America the New York Yacht Club faced significant financial issues. Lipton, with a seemingly bottomless purse, was challenging every other year. Defending the Cup had become an expensive proposition. Each new challenge required the NYYC to form a syndicate to build a new defender, as well as additional syndicates to recommission prior year Herreshoff-built Cup winners to campaign against the new boat for the right to defend. This time NYYC Commodore Cass Ledyard had one overriding objective, to beat Sir Thomas so badly that he would go away for a long time.

To make that happen they needed the “A Team”. The skillful C. Oliver Iselin to manage the new boat syndicate, Capt. Nat Herreshoff to design and participate in leading the campaign, and the redoubtable Charlie Barr to skipper the boat.

Iselin had committed to the task very early in 1902. Capt. Nat and Barr were the problem. In the spring, when Iselin corresponded with Capt. Nat about the forthcoming challenge he received a disturbing response. Nat declined, writing that while he had the greatest respect for Iselin and had enjoyed their previous campaigns, he was no longer up to the rigors of a Cup defense because “my best days are behind me”. The Cup defender would be very demanding of his time on top of an already full order book, his wife was seriously ill and he was suffering from rheumatism.

It took Iselin’s best powers of persuasion to change Nat’s’ mind. He also enlisted Commodore Ledyard who assured Nat that the well-funded syndicate had Barr locked up.  Nat came onboard, fully committed (as he was to any task that he undertook), creating the magnificent RELIANCE.

But Ledyard had written prematurely because Barr had already signed with August Belmont. To break that commitment would be expensive. At a time when the going pay for a Cup skipper was $4,000, Barr was demanding $10,000. Barr was the last to join.

The “A Team” was in place. It was well worth the effort to assemble. RELIANCE beat SHAMROCK III in three straight races. Lipton did not challenge again until 1913.

John Palmieri


Curriculum Enrichment Through Field Trips and After School Programs

Made possible with funding from Roger Williams University’s Fund for Civic Activities and the Collectors Foundation

Anyone interested in field trips, senior projects, model building, or our after school program please contact us to schedule your unique experience. The Herreshoff Museum runs year-round programs ashore and afloat to educate and inspire people. This month we are working with local primary school students building model boats at the Guiteras School while older students are working on our fleet of sailing school boats,  which were designed and built right here.

Complicated science and mathematics becomes clearer when one has the opportunity to, for example, apply math to navigation exercises or boatbuilding geometry.  Similarly, science and mathematics make sense when we see them being used to develop a new technology, as the Herreshoff brothers were famous for. The story of the HMCo. is a social studies story about business, and the work ethic that made America great, as well as a design, technology, and engineering story. 

After School Boatshop Mentorship Program

Made possible by a grant from the Collector's Foundation

Youth enrolled in the program work side-by-side with mentors and teachers to learn the art of caring for, preserving, and restoring the Herreshoff 121/2s used in the Herreshoff Institute’s summer sailing program. The curriculum covers  shop safety; shop cleanliness; planning a project and sequencing work efficiently; wood varieties and their respective properties; how to sand; primer and paint application; varnish application; brush cleaning; and hand tool use.

The program has been successful, pairing over twenty students with ten mentors. These mentors represent an expanded group of skilled volunteers, young and old, engaging with the students, the work, the boats, and our Museum.


Herreshoff Marine Museum Hosts Two Important Regattas

On Saturday and Sunday, August 24th & 25th, your Museum hosted its annual Herreshoff Classic Rendezvous & Regatta. The wind on both days was frustratingly light and the courses were challenging.  Over 50 yachts participated among which were some very recent restorations, including Gerald Rainer’s “Q” Boat FALCON (1926 HMCo. #962), John Hutchison’s Fishers Island 23 CRUSADER (1932 HMCo. #1225), and Steve Frary’s ketch ARION, designed by Sidney Herreshoff, and the largest yacht to be built in fiberglass when she was launched from The Anchorage in 1951.

On the evening before the Regatta, the public was invited to view the fleet at the “Living Boat Show” including tours given by Fred Bisset aboard his 31’ CORSAIR launch (1926 HMCo. #381).  The oldest boat in the fleet was the NY 30 AMORITA (1905 HMCo. #635), owned and sailed by Jed Pearsall and Bill Doyle.  The largest class was the venerable Herreshoff ‘S’ Boats, with 10 starters and an average age of 85 years (for the boats, not the crew).  Special thanks to our committe chairs Steve Frary and Walter Bopp for all of their help.

Then on Saturday, 15 September, the Museum was the venue for the revival of the Hospice Cup Regatta, a benefit for Home and Hospice Care of RI with the support of the RI International Sailing Association.  The regatta was a pursuit race with start/finish off the Museum and sailed around Prudence Island.  Skippers could choose to sail the course in either direction and the winner was the Museum’s own Fishers Island 31 KESTREL (1927 HMCo. #1061) skippered by Mike Zani.  Following the regatta, Home and Hospice Care hosted an informal dinner under our tent for their supporters complete with fireworks and a band.

Our thanks to Pete & Marshall Lawson, Marty Kelly, Mike Warren, as well as Matt Hill, Ted Hale and their race committees for all their help in running these races.

Both of these regattas will be back on the schedule in 2013 so look for more information here in The Current on how to participate.

Curator Log Sept. 2012
This article is continued from August 2012

William Randolph Hearst, The Herreshoffs and the Yacht VAMOOSE

Part 2: Construction, Trials, Records, the Panama Railway and Cuba

The keel was laid on Jan. 10, 1891; five weeks after contract; the hull was planked six weeks later. The boiler was installed on May 26 (Figure 3) and VAMOOSE was launched on June 23rd. The machinery was fired up only four days later. Underway trials were held on July 6 & 7 and then VAMOOSE sat waiting for Mr. Hearst to take delivery, which he did on July 26. (8)  Completion of trials on a vessel designed to push the state-of-the-art only seven months after finalizing the contract is itself a record.

To demonstrate the guaranteed contract speed VAMOOSE was run on the US Navy’s Newport trial course. With navy inspectors on board, she accomplished one mile in 2 min. 27 sec. and maintained that speed for some time. (9)  (Figure 4.)

At 112 feet, VAMOOSE was not large nor, at $80,000, particularly expensive. But she stood apart. Low in profile, narrow at the beam, with a single smokestack and a deck uncluttered but for pilothouse and a sun canopy, she had none of the traditional features of yachting elegance. She was all steam and her sleek appearance expressed the aggressive purposes for which she was designed.  Below deck the boiler, engine and auxiliary machinery extended over 1/3 of the length amidships, with the crew’s quarters forward and a galley aft along with the spartan owner accommodations.

In early September VAMOOSE was tested against the Hudson River steamer MARY POWELL. Taking a page from STILETTO’s challenge, racing MARY POWELL had become a right of passage for fast steam yachts wanting to establish a reputation. Starting bow and bow, with Hearst on board, VAMOOSE put MARY POWELL 500 yards astern in less than five minutes; spun around, ran down river passing the steamer, reversed course again to overtake the steamer before crossing ahead and going off to a new challenge- matching speed with a New York Central passenger train. Of this feat chief engineer Theodore Helibron said, “I will wager my life that this is the fastest steam craft in the world.” (10)

Following this event VAMOOSE was refit with a 72 inch three-bladed propeller that was expected to improve high-speed performance, increasing maximum propeller rpm from 410 to 420. (11)

Two American steam yacht speed records were set in the fall of 1891. On Oct. 10, off the American Yacht Club VAMOOSE made four runs on a measured mile course. The first run against a “’young flood” and into a light breeze was a disappointment covering the mile in 2 min. 50 sec. with 200 pounds of steam and 400 propeller rpm. The next run with the wind and tide, 225 pounds of steam and 410 rpm, took 2 min. 30 sec.  For the third run, the two firemen stoking coal into the boiler built up 240 pounds of steam (just below the safety setting of 250).  A quarter-mile into the run the steam steering gear stuffing box blew out. With temporary steering rigged a fourth attempt was made, but maximum steam pressure was not attained and the time was 2 min. 35 sec. VAMOOSE went into the record books with the 2 min. 30 sec time. (12)

The other record, 2 min. 12 sec. over a measure mile, was set by the 63-foot steam launch NORWOOD built by C. D. Mosher of Amesbury, MA. and powered by a 400 hp triple expansion engine.    She was owned by New York millionaire publisher Norman L. Munro who like Hearst had the ambition to possess the fastest steam yacht. In his quest he had previously owned the Herreshoff fast-steamers HENRIETTA (48-footer, 1886) and NOW THEN (84-footer, 1887). (13)

The plan was to ship VAMOOSE to Hearst in California via the Isthmus of Panama on a specially designed crib extending over three cars of the Panama Railway Company. It was an extraordinary operation, requiring the partial dismantling of three bridges along the track. All logistical obstacles were overcome when Colonel Rives, president of the railway, arbitrarily refused Hearst’s freight. It seems that the literary critics at the San Francisco Examiner had been unkind to a popular new novel, The Quick or the Dead, written by his daughter. (14) VAMOOSE remained in the East to race out of New York.

The major steam yacht race of the 1891 season was to be held by the American Yacht Club; six vessels were expected including a request to the Navy to race STILETTO. As the race neared all contenders except NORWOOD declined to challenge VAMOOSE.  Unfortunately VAMOOSE was alone on race day because an inexperienced pilot had run NORWOOD onto a reef while enroute. (15)

The press periodically reported plans for a race between the two boats, and both owners appeared eager to have that happen; but it never came to pass. These were two very different boats as is made clear by the following table.


VAMOOSE112-612-75-4~50 TONS875
NORWOOD63-07-31-68 TONS400

Hearst preferred to run a long race on the American Yacht Club’s 80-mile course in the deeper waters of Long Island Sound. NORWOOD preferred a shorter race in the more protected and shallower waters of the Hudson River; it was questionable whether NORWOOD could handle the strain or maintain full steam pressure over the longer course in open water. Also the assistant engineer of VAMOOSE claimed that in the Hudson NORWOOD could gain one mile an hour by following the eddy of the tide while VAMOOSE had to keep in deep water. (16)

In 1893, to settle the issue, Munro purchased VAMOOSE from Hearst for $10,000. He planned to allow the Herreshoffs to put their own engineer and firemen on board, and if the NORWOOD did not beat VAMOOSE he would donate NORWOOD to a charity. Unfortunately Munro died before he could carry out the race. (17)  VAMOOSE was sold by his estate.

Advancing to 1896; VAMOOSE was then owned by Howard Gould, son of financier and railroad developer Jay Gould. The Spanish had put a large number of troops into Cuba and Hearst was anxious to get the story. In Nov.1896 the New York Journal chartered VAMOOSE and fitted her out as a press boat to carry uncensored dispatches from Cuba to Key West from where they could be telegraphed to New York. The US Government suspicious of Hearst’s purpose had her searched several time for arms. No arms were found. Hearst declared “"The first time she steams out of the harbor of Havana she will carry a cargo more fatal to Spain's hopes than all the dynamite ever made." (18)

In early 1897 three attempts were made by VAMOOSE to insert a team of reporters into one of the Cuban insurgency camps, but because of inclement weather, and concern for seaworthiness (or perceived fragility of the narrow, speedy craft by a timid crew) they all failed. (19) 

But fragile she was not; VAMOOSE went on to serve for thirty years- not at all typical for a boat “at the frontier of speed”. (20)

John Palmieri


8 NGH Diary 1891

9 W. R. Hearst quote from New York Times Sept. 12, 1891

10  New York Times. Sept. 12, 1891

11 Ibid

12 The World, Sunday Oct. 11, 1891

13 Yachting Records, World Almanac Book of Facts, 1891

14 Whyte, Kenneth.  The Uncrowned King

15 The First Hundred Years of AYC

16 New York Times, Sept. 10, 1891 & June 18, 1892

17 New York Times Feb. 25, 1894

18 Campbell, Joseph W. Not likely sent: The Remington Hearst Telegrams

19 Ibid

20  Streeter, John W. Their Last Letters. p. 82.


1. The American Yacht List. Mannings. 1896. & 1902.

2. Bray, Maynard and Pinheiro, Carlton. Herreshoff of Bristol. Herreshoff Marine Museum. 2005. (page 27, covering VAMOOSE and JAVELIN.)

3. Campbell, Joseph W. Not likely sent: The Remington Hearst Telegrams. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. Summer 2000.

4. Famous Yachts of 1891. The Illustrated American. September 18, 1891

5. The First Hundred Years of American Yacht Club (1883-1893). American Yacht Club, Rye, NY. 1983 (The AYC was initially founded for steamyachts and was known in the early days as the “American Steam Yacht Club”. It sponsored the American Yacht Club International Challenge Cup for steam yacht competition in perpetuity for friendly competition among nations.)

6. Herreshoff Marine Museum  (HMM) Archival files and photo collection of vessels, steam engines and boilers

7. Herreshoff, Nathanael G. (NGH) Design Record Book 1864- 1895.  (Courtesy of Halsey Herreshoff) documenting his standard steam engine sizes for yachts, torpedo boats and launches; and the weighing of the model for “Hearst’s High Speed Yacht”.

8. Herreshoff, Nathanael G. (NGH) Diaries of 1890-1891 recording the visits of W. R. Hearst and important dates in the construction of VAMOOSE. HMM archives.

9. Herreshoff, Nathanael G. (NGH) Half Model Collection. Model Seq. #423 VAMOOSE & other vessels. Courtesy of Halsey Herreshoff

10. New York Times Archives. 1891- 1894.

11. The Photography of J. S. Johnston. www.jsjohnston.org (A maritime photographer of New York City in the late 1880s and 1890s including America’s Cup participants, and Herreshoff yachts.)

12. Speeding the VAMOOSE, The World, Sunday, October 11, 1891

13. Streeter, John W. Their Last Letters. Herreshoff Marine Museum. 1988. (page 82, covering VAMOOSE.)

14. The Tribune Almanac for 1891. (Yachting Records)

15. Whyte, Kenneth.  The Uncrowned King: The Sensational Rise of William Randolph Hearst. Counterpoint. Berkeley, CA. 2009. In the Prologue of this book Nothing by Halves (available on the web: https://www.pgw.com/home/catalogs.aspx?CatalogKey=546366&ISBN=9781582434674) is a history of Hearst’s purchase and use of VAMOOSE.

16. World Almanac Book of Facts 1891. (Yachting Records)
VAMOOSE 1892 Boles

Education Programs News    September 2012

Our Summer Seamanship Program was the largest ever with 80 youth sailors participating, plus 19 adults, and hundreds more aboard KESTREL.  Two highlights of our program this year were using URCHIN, a boat repaired by our after-school program (details below), and youth overnight trips aboard KESTREL.  Scholarship funding helped the program immensely and for that we would like to thank the Rhode Island International Sailing Association (RIISA) and The McCarthey Family Foundation.  About twice as many students enrolled this year compared to last year.

The flagship of the program, travelling exhibit, and good-will ambassador of the museum, KESTREL, is available for day charters this fall and overnight visits to the islands of the Bay.  Please call today to schedule an unforgettable sailing experience, which also makes a great gift.  These trips are available through October at the rate of $100 for adults, with group discounts available.

After-School Program and The Marjorie Freeman “Peggy” Dixon Fund

Often I am asked, “How do you maintain the Museum fleet?”.  The answer is with donations, volunteers, and an after-school mentorship program teaching classic boat repair and maintenance.  Youth enrolled in the after-school program work alongside the Museum’s skilled staff, and volunteers, to learn the skills and art of caring for, preserving and restoring the Herreshoff 12 1/2s, Fish class, and S-class boats used in the summer sailing program.

For example last winter teenagers re-riveted the mid section of URCHIN’s hull, and repainted her.  This program is made possible by a grant from the Collector’s Foundation, and we are seeking donations to match this year’s $5,000 grant.

We are also building on an endowment gift by the family of  Marjorie Freeman “Peggy” Dixon who spent her early years summering at Poppasquash point in Bristol devoting many happy hours to sailing her family’s Herreshoff 12 ½ FROLIC.  In her honor and with love and admiration her family has established an endowment fund to preserve the boats of which she was so fond, to be known as the “Museum Fund for the Preservation and Maintenance of Herreshoff 12 ½ Sailboats.”

However, a wooden boat is a demanding mistress and each boat needs constant attention.  Exclusive of major refits, the cost of repair and maintenance on an annual basis has been roughly $2,500 to $3,500 per boat including labor

Sailing School Wishlist

Gifts to the Peggy Dixon Freeman Fund for the Preservation of the 12 ½ fleet.
New or lightly used sails for URCHIN
Fasteners bronze machine screws #8’s #12’s
Epifanes High Gloss Clear Varnish (we use 14 quarts per season!)
4” Bronze cleats  (Reineck)
Original bronze turning blocks
Handheld VHF radios

Looking for Doughdish, Bullseyes, Goldeneyes, Petrels

As many of you know, our program uses eight antique, wooden, Herreshoff 12 ½ sloops to conduct classes in seamanship, boat handling and basic care of a wooden boat. It has been so successful the Museum is expanding the curriculum and examining means of accommodating beginning sailors by using fiberglass boats for basic instruction, after which students “graduate” to the use of the Herreshoff 12 ½ fleet.  It is our hope and expectation that we will be able to use a small number of fiberglass boats for basic instruction, reducing the wear and tear on the Herreshoff 12 ½ fleet and helping ensure that all of our boats are kept Shipshape and Bristol Fashion.

Thank you’s all around

Thank you to the following families for donating their classic Herreshoff 12 ½’s:
Suzan Hurd Greenup  - BH’s EMPRESS
Eleni & Jerry LoPorto  - BONITA
Geoffrey & Lisa Davis  -  POOKA
Michael & Katherine Dogali  - URCHIN

Thank you to the following families for loaning their classic 12 ½’s for use in our sailing program:
Juliette Newcomb Gross  - FROLIC
Autumn & John Crouchley – POPPY
Pamela Lenhan & Larry Geuss  - SWALLOW
Dr. James Goff  - ZEPHYR

August 2012

Dear Friends of the Herreshoff Museum,

We are writing to urge you to participate in the upcoming Herreshoff Regatta, August 24 - August 27.  The Regatta is the Herreshoff Marine Museum's signature event, and participation both helps support the Museum, and gives all of us a chance to share our passion for sailing and friendly competition.  The Herreshoff Classic Regatta is an important museum tradition, and many of the boats participating will be nearly 100 years old, a remarkable testament to the Herreshoff legacy.

We are expecting a large turnout of S boats, a class of 12 ½’s, and many other classic and spirit of tradition yachts.  We will also welcome a fleet of Sea Sprites which frequently race in Bristol Harbor and will come to the Museum for the festivities.

The weekend will start with a cocktail reception at the Living Boat Show on Friday night from 5 pm to 9 pm.  Halsey Herreshoff will welcome guests and make mention of the significant and beautiful yachts gracing the museum’s campus.  We will start the day Saturday with a skippers meeting at 9 am followed by racing at 11 am.  Sailors will come off the water in the evening for a classic New England clambake, cocktails and awards.  The weekend will finish with racing on Sunday – large yachts will race to Newport and the 12 ½’s will stay local to compete for the Wind Hill trophy.

Whether you own a yacht which you would like to enter in the competition, would like to volunteer as crew, or would prefer to simply enjoy the social program while interacting with a terrific community of sailors, we urge you to join us.

If you have any questions, or would like to indicate your interest or intentions, please register online: herreshoff.org/events or email Maggie


Steve Frary and Walter Bopp
Regatta Co-Chairs

Curator’s Log
August 2012

This is Part I of a two-part article

William Randolph Hearst, The Herreshoffs and the Yacht VAMOOSE
Part I: Contract and Design

VAMOOSE 1892 Boles

It wasn’t unusual at the end of the nineteenth century for an American newspaper proprietor to own a steam yacht. James Gordon Bennett Jr., publisher of the New York Herald and a two-time commodore of the New York Yacht Club, spent the large sum of $625,000 on his 285-foot LYSISTRATA, which was staffed with a crew of a hundred officers and sailors. Joseph Pulitzer, owner and editor of the New York World, bought the ROMOLA and after a single sleepless night sold her for a quarter of what he’d paid. A few years later he ordered the larger LIBERTY, a 250-foot vessel equipped with state-of-the-art soundproofing that allowed many restful nights on frequent journeys across the Atlantic. (1)

William Randolph Hearst’s first yacht was relatively modest; a fifty-foot cruiser AQUILA.  He used it to shuttle between his Sausalito home and the offices of his San Francisco Examiner. AQUILA was the fastest speedboat on the Pacific Coast, and a delight for its owner, who liked to run circles around the Sausalito ferry. But AQUILA’s days were numbered after Hearst’s mother boarded her to visit family in Santa Clara County. The Bay was choppy and she arrived soaked to the skin. Phoebe Apperson Hearst decided her son should have the largest steam yacht that could be shipped by rail to San Francisco from New York. (2)

With the much heralded speed of the torpedo boat-type steam yacht STILETTO (HMCo #118,1885) and the publicity gained by beating the Hudson River steamer MARY POWELL orders came for vessels that could do 22 mph or better. Hearst visited Herreshoff on July 19, 1890 and on July 26 Nat Herreshoff (NGH) recorded in his diary that Hearst had placed an order for an 85-foot waterline high-speed yacht. Following more negotiations NGH wrote in his diary on Dec. 4 that they had closed a contract with Hearst for a larger steamer (112 foot 6 inch VAMOOSE HMCo #168) taking back the smaller vessel then in construction. (3)

No yard built better high-speed steam yachts, steam launches and torpedo boats. The Herreshoffs, in fact, may have been the only builder in the world confident enough to accept the Hearst order, coming as it did with the stipulation: if the new yacht wasn’t capable of twenty-five mph, making it possibly the fastest steam craft in the world, delivery would be refused. (4)

Nat Herreshoff went to work right away. He knew that to meet the speed guarantee the one unsolved challenge was to fit his new Thornycroft type boiler into a hull 2 feet 5 inches narrower in beam and shorter in vertical height than the larger torpedo boat (CUSHING) for which the boiler was designed. The very first drawing he prepared in December 1890 (Figure 1) was a body section of the boiler barely squeezed into the hull with the upper casing and steam drum extending above the potential deck line; not quite a fit, but he could make it work.  The drawing has no date in December, but recognizing the great care with which he approached his work it is almost certain that he did the drawing before the contract wording was agreed to on the 4th of that month.

Why was this the one and only unsolved challenge? What about the shape of the hull and its structural details, the engine, the propeller? In short how did the Company meet a guarantee to build a steam yacht that would set a speed record, lay the keel only five weeks after contract award and deliver in a short seven months? (5)

It is no mystery- at 42 years of age Nat Herreshoff had been studying his profession since he was a boy of eleven, and had prepared well for this particular challenge

The hull design was developed from a half model that Nat carved in 1884, applying lessons learned about easily driven hull shapes from model tests he conducted beginning in 1880. This half model was used with some modifications for sixteen steam power vessels from 1884 to 1896. (6)  The hull construction was of composite type- mahogany planked over steel frames. He had first used composite construction in 1875 for the U S Navy’s first torpedo boat LIGHTNING and perfected it in a number of steam yachts in the late 1880s.

The revolutionary five-cylinder quadruple expansion engine came from a “Scheme of Sizes for Light High Speed Launch, Torpedo Boat and Yacht Engines” that he had first prepared in 1886. The first application of this engine was in the 1888 132-foot high speed yacht SAY WHEN  and again, one year later in the U S Navy’s 138-foot twin-screw “Seagoing Torpedo Boat No. 1” USS CUSHING. (Figure 2) The engine was made of forged steel in place of heavier iron castings and included an innovative lightweight hollow-steel crankshaft, The power plant produced an impressive 875-bhp and was directly coupled to a 52 inch dia. by 100 inch pitch four-bladed propeller that also had been used in SAY WHEN. (7)

So the challenge was not the machinery design, but to package it in a hull shorter in length, beam and depth than the previous successful applications.

To be continued in the September Log
John Palmieri

(1)Whyte, Kenneth.  The Uncrowned King

(2) Ibid

(3)  NGH 1890 Diary. The smaller vessel was purchased by E. D. Morgan in Jan. 1891 and delivered as JAVELIN shortly after the completion of VAMOOSE.                

(4)The contract penalty terms are from The Uncrowned King. We have found no records of the actual contract wording in the museum files. There is a question about the contract speed; in The Uncrowned King it is stated as 26 knots, but mph was used in those days, not knots. Also in a New York Times article of September 12, 1891, Hearst is quoted that she met terms of the contract, “twenty-five miles per hour”. The US Navy contract for CUSHING (as well as later torpedo boat contracts) had penalties and incentives tied to vessel speed. The Herreshoff’s never missed a contract speed requirement.

(5)  NGH Diaries of 1890 & 1891

(6)  NGH Half Model Sequence #423

(7)  A boiler safety valve blew on one of SAY WHEN trial trips and to prevent loss of steam pressure NGH screwed down the safety valve adjustment. The following day a boiler tube burst with the firebox door open. A fireman was fatally asphyxiated and NGH lost his steam engineer license over the incident.

Figure 1- NGH drawing to demonstrate, before agreeing to Hearst’s contract terms, that the Thornycroft boiler would fit into the narrow hull of VAMOOSE. Courtesy MIT Museum

Figure 2- The five-cylinder quadruple expansion engine. HMM Archives

July 2012

Herreshoff Seamanship School

We have space in all classes for youth sailing sessions 3 and 4.  We also have some need-based scholarship funds still available.  Bring your neighbors, bring your friends.  Ready for something bigger?  Sail overnight aboard KESTREL. (Photo and registration form attached.)

In late June we took a youth crew aboard KESTREL, our Fishers Island 31 built in 1927.  The last night of this trip was one to remember!  Thunder and lightning had us huddling over a bowl of chowder ashore at Mystic Seaport, until the last moment.  We made the first bridge, as the rain eased up, and by the time the second bridge opened we had a rainbow off the port bow, and cumulonimbus clouds turning pink in the setting sun.  Navigating Fishers Island Sound leaves little time to enjoy such sights, but when the full moon rose from behind the clouds the cumulative delight was palpable.

All sail was set with a light wind off the shore, and behind the beam.  We could smell the honeysuckle in the sand dunes as we reached down the beach.  At the change of the watch safety harnesses were exchanged for bunks.  Three hours later we swapped again, the lights of Newport ahead.   Two of these teenage boys had never slept aboard a boat before, and none of the five had ever sailed overnight. KESTREL, very original, and tastefully modernized by the donor, is the flagship vessel of the Seamanship Program of the Herreshoff Marine Museum.  She is available for charter, does outreach to neighboring clubs, and runs these overnight youth trips.

2012 KESTREL Seamanship Program:
KESTREL is a 1927 Fishers Island 31; 43’ overall and tastefully modernized with hot and cold running water, propane stove, electric lights &etc... KESTREL was donated to the Herreshoff Marine Museum for educational purposes and is also available for charter by the hour, day, or week, and for the WoodenBoat Regatta Series.  Call or e-mail for rates and availability of charters.

We offer overnight trips to youth and adults promoting safety at sea and near-coastal cruising.  Standing watch aboard will inspire and motivate youth to study navigation, seamanship, and naval architecture.  Choose from the dates and destinations below.

$150/person/day for members of the museum includes meals and safety gear. Day trips limited to 6 students, overnight trips limited to 4 students. Minimum age 10 years old.  Adults welcome.

KESTREL Coastal Cruise and Race Dates (2012 options)

July 23-25 .......... Bristol, Fall River, Cove Cabin, Tiverton (2 nights, 3 days)
July 25 .............. Wednesday Evening Race in Bristol
July 30-31 .......... Bristol, Sakonnet, Bristol (2 nights, 3 days)
August 1 ........... Wednesday Evening Race in Bristol
August 15-16...... Sail to Shelter Island, NY with overnight at Block Island or Fishers Island (1 night, 2 days)
August 20-23 ...... Sail from Shelter Island to Block Island or Fishers Island, then Bristol (2 nights, 2 days)
August 24-26 ...... Herreshoff Rendezvous Bristol
September 1-2 .... Museum of Yachting Classic Regatta, Newport
September 3-14 ...Cruise Long Island Sound and Essex River
September 15-16.. Indian Harbor Classic Regatta
September 17-21...Cruise Long Island Sound and Essex River
September 22-23.. Greenport, Long Island WoodenBoat Regatta
September 24-28 ..Available
October 6-8 ..........New York City Classic Week

Curator’s Log
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Seven- Revisiting the America’s Cup of 1893

This is the seventh of a series of short papers about Nat Herreshoff and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company’s involvement in the America’s Cup.

Part 3 of this series (July 2011; 1893: A Banner Year for Big Cutters) described the interest in US and England in the new cutters and the US contenders to defend the Cup. Herreshoff designed three big 84- 87 foot wl. cutters that year; NAVAHOE built expressly to compete in English waters; COLONIA and VIGILANT to contend for defense of the Cup (1).

The 1893 defender trials were unique on two counts.

First, they were widely viewed as a competition for American yachting supremacy pitting the elite of Boston against that of New York. For Boston, General Charles Paine leader of three consecutive Cup defenses (1885, 1886 and 1887) fielded JUBILEE, designed by his son John B. Paine and captained by John Barr, Charlie Barr’s older brother.  Another Boston group built the Stewart & Binney designed PILGRIM. The New York syndicates offered the two new Herreshoff boats; Archibald Rodgers’ COLONIA and E. D. Morgan’s VIGILANT.

Second, the trials were a battle between four distinct types of cutter.
• The centerboard fin-keel JUBILEE
• The fin-keel PILGRIM
• The full keel COLONIA
• The centerboarder VIGILANT

By the time VIGILANT’s selection was announced in September, the New York yachtsmen and the Herreshoff designs were the clear winners (2).

Meanwhile in England the challenger VALKYRIE II was preparing for the Cup in a series of competitive regattas. VALKYRIE II and BRITANNIA (both George W. Watson designs) met in 23 starts, VALKYRIE II winning 11 and BRITANNIA 6.

The question then became who can predict the outcome between VIGILANT and VALKYRIE II? That question was posed to Watson upon his arrival in the US. His response; “The only people who can form any idea as to the relative merits of the VALKYRIE and VIGILANT are the Herreshoffs. They built the NAVAHOE and probably have an idea how she compares with the VIGILANT. I do not think there is much difference between the VALKYRIE and BRITANNIA in point of speed (3).”

Royal Phelps Carroll, who had taken NAVAHOE with Charlie Barr as skipper to England faced off (in NAVAHOE’s first race anywhere) against the two English boats on July 31 at the Royal London Yacht Club gaining a third place. On Aug. 3rd VALKYRIE II again beat NAVAHOE, taking second place in the Cowes Town Cup. NAVAHOE continued to race against BRITANNIA with the latter successfully defending the Cape May Cup, but losing the Brenton Reef Cup to the NAVAHOE on a protest. The English boats had proven superior to NAVAHOE.

We have found no record of what Nat Herreshoff learned from NAVAHOE’s experience. No correspondence from Mr. Carroll or Barr (In later years it was usual for the American yacht owners and Charlie Barr to correspond with Nat about their European campaigns.) and no notes about the relative performance of NAVAHOE and VIGILANT in his design record books.  But as Watson surmised it is certain that Capt. Nat had at least “an idea” of how his designs compared and more likely a well, developed analytical assessment.

John Palmieri

(1) This article is developed from contemporary materials contained in the America’s Cup Hall of Fame archives
(2) Results as reported in the New Bedford Evening Standard Sept. 12. 1893
(3) Providence Journal Sept. 19, 1893

A New Tradition - Born Out of a 227 Year Old Celebration and a Great Location

This was not the first time we gathered under the tent on our waterfront for the 3rd of July.  But it was just the right amount of everything to make the 480 guests want to come back next year.  A perfect Summer evening spent with great friends from near and far; the buzz of Bristol's downtown preparing for the 227th annual July 4th parade; a fireworks display (actually 3 different displays were viewed from our dock this year!) and Newport's famous reggae dance band, the Ravers.  Thank you to our guests, our committee members and sponsors. You all joined forces to make this a memorable night.  Hope to see you all again next 3rd!

The 4th- How could it get better than it was this year?  Sunshine followed a morning rain.  Dixieland music by the Ancient Mariners filled the tent before the parade.  We served up shade, refreshments, museum admission and a whole lot of fun while we waited for and watched the parade.  Leo's Ristorante and Plouf Plouf Gastronomie, Bristol's local gourmet food truck, were on campus to serve breakfast and lunch to the more than 200 guests that joined us.

Mark your calendars.  The Herreshoff Marine Museum is the place to be for the 4th of July.  Whether by land or sea, we take the logistics and hassle out of your visit.

And of course, Thank you to our sponsors.  We would not have been able to do it without your support:
Jamestown Distributors, Points East Magazine, Cisco Berwers, Triple Eight Distillery, North Sails, Munroe Dairy, Sperry Tent, Herreshoff Designs, Inc.Leo's Ristorante, Hobie Cat and Sunshine Oil.

Mary Lotuff Feeny
Event Chair

June 2012

Join us for the 3rd and 4th of July Celebrations

4th of July celebrations in Bristol are a 227 year tradition, a national treasure and a very, very big deal!  The parade passes right through the heart of our Museum campus and we have a wonderful vantage point on the waterfront from which to enjoy the parade and all that Bristol has to offer.  Join us by land or by sea.  Make your reservations on our website today.

On the morning of the 4th our waterfront events tent will be featuring the Ancient Mariners Dixieland Band, buffet breakfast and a bloody mary bar from 7:30 - 10:30 am.  The parade arrives shortly after that.  You will be welcomed on our lawn to view the parade.  Seating, refreshments, shade, hopefully a sea breeze and "facilities" will be ready and waiting for you.  We have parking available for those that plan ahead and arrive by 7:30 am.  The town's patriotic exercises are a short walk from here and start at 8:30 am.  See https://www.july4thbristolri.com/  for a full schedule and history of the now famous patriotic exercises.  The Museum will be open to visitors.  After the parade our waterfront will be open to our visitors and we will be offering an afternoon of sailing in our classic fleet of Herreshoff 12 1/2s.  Come take a spin around the harbor and see why these beautiful boats have remained a classic for nearly 100 years.

The night of the 3rd, Bristol will be in full celebration mode.  Our waterfront events tent will be buzzing as we host a family bar-b-que with both a 5:00 and 7:00 seating.  $10 ticket price for children 12 and under.  $40 for adults.  North Sails will be doing a sail making event for the children.  Then it will be time to step on the dance floor because we have the privilege of dancing to The Ravers.  This band has been entertaining Newport parties for over twenty years and it is impossible to sit still when they play.  There will be a cocktail bar set up by the Dockhouse all evening.  Bristol fireworks will go off at 9:30 on the 3rd and we will all be watching them from our Museum dock.  It is a beautiful sight.  The Museum will be open to visitors until 7:30 pm.

It is only a few blocks walk from the Museum to the heart of downtown Bristol.  Use our campus as your parade headquarters and enjoy all that Bristol has to offer without getting overwhelmed by the crowds.

These events will help support the Museum and its educational programs.

Mary Lotuff Feeny

Event Chair


Thank you to Tom Ehman for his entertaining and informative lecture on the quickly approaching America’s Cup World Series and the following America’s Cup races.  Visitors came to the Museum this week  to hear the “AC34 Cupdate” and watch amazing footage of the new catamarans.  Tom, the Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, wandered through the crowd introducing others involved with the Cup and entertaining guests with his sense of humor.  The entertaining presentation was not without informing details of the history of the cup and fascinating information on the new technology being used in AC34.  Tom introduced Stan Honey and the LiveLine team who are designing state of the art technology that will allow viewers to watch the races like never before  -essentially allowing data to be overlaid on the real time footage of the races.

Our audience, prompted by Tom’s enthusiasm, left fully prepared for the amazing racing that will be taking place in Newport from June 26 to July 1 with trials from June 23 to 26.  We are pleased to be exhibiting in the America’s Cup Village at Fort Adams.  The exhibit will be in the Exploration Zone located at the center of the fort.  The Exploration Zone is a place for visitors to gather to learn about the state of Rhode Island from technology and marine science to history and preservation.  The Museum’s Hall of Fame plaques will be relocated to the Fort for this amazing display with our fellow organizations.

We are looking forward to the busy weeks ahead and we hope to see you at the Museum or down in Newport at Fort Adams!

Good luck to all of the World Series Sailors and to Oracle - Team USA!

Read more about the World Series in Newport here:

Read more about the Exploration Zone here:

Read more about LiveLine technology here:

Curator’s Log
Catamarans on Narragansett Bay

These are exciting times on Narragansett Bay with state-of-the-art AC45 wing-sailed catamarans racing at speeds topping 30 knots in the America’s Cup World Series later this month.

These are not the first catamarans to grace the Bay.

In May 1876 John Brown Herreshoff launched from his Bristol boatyard, Nat Herreshoff’s first catamaran (or to use Nat’s early descriptions a “double boat” or “double-hulled sailing boat”), the 25 foot AMARYLLIS.  The original rig, a lateen-type sail supported by two masts joined at the top as in an A-frame, was lost when the backstay parted while making 18 knots in a strong southwester. Rerigged as a gaff sloop, AMARYLLIS, on June 23, 1876 (exactly 136 years before the start of the Newport America’s Cup World Series events), won the New York Centennial Race beating thirty-one boats in an open class for yachts fifteen tons and under.  To Nat’s disgust AMARYLLIS was disqualified on a protest that the boat did not have acceptable cruising accommodations. Nat was present at the hearing and in response to a statement that, “You have no convenience for living on board your catamaran.”, Nat quickly replied, “Yes we have, she carries a camp stool. (1)”

Fifty-seven years later on September 8, 1933 the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. launched the 33-foot catamaran AMARYLLIS II, a near replica of the original, but with 900 sqft. of canvas and featuring a sliding gunter main. Constructed under the supervision Sidney Herreshoff, AMARYLLIS II made 19.8 knots during initial trials over a measured mile course. Sailed for a number of years on Lake St. Clair she was retired to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn MI until acquired by the Herreshoff Marine Museum in 1980. You can see her in our Hall of Boats.

Finally one of the very last boats built by the HMCo was the Sidney Herreshoff designed 1944 25-foot catamaran SEA SPIDER.  Planned to be the first of a new class that hope ended when the company closed soon after delivery in 1946. SEA SPIDER is reported to have attained about 20 knots in early trials

John Palmieri

1. Nat Herreshoff explained his development of the concept for the “double boat” in a letter published in The New York Herald, April 16, 1877. The Centennial Race is reported in The World, June 24, 1876. Nat’s quote is from The New York Herald, June 25, 1876.

May 2012

Dear Sailors and Supporters,

Please mark your calendars for the 18th Americas Cup Hall of Fame Induction to be held at Marble House, Newport on Friday, June 29th.  We hope you will join us!

We will celebrate the induction of three more personalities into the Americas Cup Hall of Fame:

• Gerard Lambert, Sr. a sailor and member of three J-Class syndicates in 1930, 1934, and 1937 and a syndicate member of the first syndicate to defend in a 12 Metre in 1958.

• Patrizio Bertelli, who in 1997 founded the Italian team known as Luna Rossa Challenge, winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000, and

• Jonathan (Jon) Wright , one of the unsung heroes in the 12 Metre era and a three time winner of the Cup sailing with Ted Hood and Dennis Conner.

The festivities will take place during the America’s Cup World Series, which takes place in Newport from 28 June -1 July.  At Marble House on the 29th, cocktails will be served on the terrace, then the Induction Dinner under a tent on the lawn, followed by dancing.  A fabulous party with our co-host for the evening, Louis Vuitton Malletier, the current timing sponsor of the America’s Cup World Series.

Marble House is notable for all sorts of reasons, not the least as the site for presentation in 1983 of America’s Cup from New York Yacht Club to the Royal Perth Yacht Club when the yacht Australia II, the first winner of Louis Vuitton Cup, became the first Challenger to win America’s Cup.

The tickets are available now, for tables of 8 or individual tickets.  All ticket sales benefit the Museum. Contact Elisabeth Lavers at [email protected] or 401 253 5000 X20

The first Induction Ceremony was held in 1993.  Since then 75 legends of the Cup have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Candidates eligible for consideration include skippers, afterguard, crew, designers, builders, organizers, syndicate leaders, chroniclers of the event, and other individuals of merit.

The America’s Cup Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving and demonstrating the influence of America’s Cup Competition for the purpose of education and the inspiration of excellence in the world of yachting.  The America’s Cup Hall of Fame has a new fresh look and a new location in the Museum, and we welcome you all to come and visit.

New and Noteworthy

CYS 2012 - A Home Run

We are pleased to report the fifth CYS 2012 was a wonderful success and managed to break previous attendance figures! The HMM venue and a new event format was met with much enthusiasm. The Museum welcomed presenters and attendees from all over the globe. Event highlights included presentations on the Herreshoff steel schooners by NGH's grandson, Halsey Herreshoff, an update from Ed Kastelein and John Lammerts van Bueren on building INGOMAR, ATLANTIC, ELENA and ELEONORA, an update by Bob McNeil on the Townsend design, CORONET and a report from Adam Langerman on the Classic Yacht racing circuit.

After concluding the morning session, participants moved across the street to Herreshoff Designs, Inc. for a lunch provided by Leo's Restaurant and to view the H-20, INTENT built by Dan Shea and his crew at Bristol Boat Company.

Afternoon session highlights focused on the centenary celebration of NGH's, ALERION made even more special by her appearance in the Hall of Boats courtesy of Mystic Seaport and Steve White. Maynard Bray, John Palmieri, Brion Rieff, Eric Ogden and Bill Sauerbrey regaled the audience with their admiration for and experience with building and sailing the descendants of this NGH gem.

At the conclusion of the day's events, Herreshoff Designs, Inc. and Bristol Boat Company hosted once again a fabulous and very lively cocktail reception. Several Webb Institute students in attendance gave a short and enjoyable presentation on their experience at this prestigious institution. We thank Starboard Caterers of Newport for catering this portion of the event.

On Saturday evening, a group of participants gathered for dinner at the DeWolf Tavern and those who remained in the area overnight were able to join Halsey Herreshoff and John Palmieri for Model Room tours and the Herreshoff Marine Museum Opening Day ceremonies on Sunday morning.

We would like to thank our very generous sponsors for their support and encouragement. To all CYS attendees, we thank you for your consistent participation and valuable input.

This Symposium event was made possible by an unprecedented degree of collaboration with Mystic Seaport, Herreshoff Designs, Inc., Bristol Boat Company and the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America's Cup Hall of Fame and our CYS presenters.

I am grateful to CYS 2012 Committee members: Richard Armstrong, Fred Bisset, Maggie Church, Dave Curtin, Bernie Gustin, Halsey Herreshoff, Halsey Herreshoff II, Dyer Jones, Adam Langerman, Elisabeth Lavers, John Palmieri, Norene Rickson, Dan Shea, Peter Vermilya and Chris Wick.

We look forward to seeing you back to Bristol for CYS 2014 when we will celebrate the one hundredth birthday of NGH's enduring design, the Herreshoff 12 1/2.

Jan Davison - Chair of the CYS Committee

The Curator's Log

The Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. in World War II: The Washing Machine

On Saturday May 19, we celebrate Armed Forces Day, making this is an appropriate time to reflect on the work of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. in building “One-Hundred Fighting Ships” during WWII.

Veteran boatbuilder Allan Vaitses worked at Herreshoff for 19 months beginning in 1942 and for him it was “a dream come true”. His first job, on the building ways of a 103-foot APc (Small Coastal Transport), was swinging an adze to bevel the outboard faces of sawn frames so the planking would lie fair against the frames.   The yard worked a ten-hour day, seven days a week and commuting to his home near New Bedford added another two hours each way.(1)

He had never seen more excellent boatbuilders and allied tradesmen who went out of their way to give guidance to the huge number of less experienced workers. There were two reasons for this:
• The high quality of people who already worked there, from Sidney Herreshoff (Chief Engineer and Trials Pilot) down, there was a core of leaders so ready to patiently share their expertise that they prevailed upon the most untrained and least interested new hires to want to do it right.
• The company’s reputation attracted the cream of the trade, many of whom had their own boat shops or yards until pulled away by the war.

It was a congenial workforce; if you didn’t know a man’s name you called him “Charley”; the blacksmith was “Charley Black”, a mechanic “Charley Wrench”. Allan remembers, “It was a cheery game.”

The congeniality extended to the relations between the workers and the crews of the ships they were building. The following is a letter written by the young commanding officer of APc 93 to a painter the crew only knew as “Hooligan” thanking him for his gift of a washing machine to the ship. (2)

        August 19, 1943
Dear Hooligan:

Among the excuses I have been offering myself for not writing before this is that I couldn’t remember your first name. Some of the others hold some moniker-  like Jim or Vance.  I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to sit down at meals. The truth is, its like juggling sixteen dumbbells at once to run a new ship the first couple of months. Just when you think you have them all going properly, one slips, comes down and bops you on the noggin. You will understand when I tell you we left the continental limits three weeks after the (commissioning) words were said.

To come to the point, the washing machine has been a godsend. Just now out on the after deck, one of the men said without it we’d have to spend half our pay on laundries. Which is true. Not a day in port but it is spinning and cycling continuously- as faithful a servant to the whole ship as could be wished.

It was a very generous act indeed, … to give it away (to) 15 people who you’ll probably never see again. Charity and generosity are easy when your gifts are always in evidence to remind you, as well as the receiver, what a good guy you are.

As I said the whole ship uses it. Therefore the whole ship is going to say thank you. Believe us we are all grateful. Perhaps one day we’ll be back to say it in person.

Sincerely,  (signed)

Joseph G. Miles, S1/c
William Holihan Jr, Ltjg USNR
Ken Murphy, S1/c
Joseph C. Perry, EM2/c
Jack A. Guthrie, QM 2/c
William F. Burke, RM 3/c
Wm Varney, SR 3/c
Charles R. Christiansen, S
C. F. Hubbell, MoMM 1/c
James F. Harrington, S
Loring S--------,  MoMM 3/c
Charles F. Quersey, SC 2/c
Louis W. Convestite, F 1/c
Ernest Diomine, S 1/c
John B. Casey, S 2/c
James F. Philbin, F 1/c
Milford P. Collins, F 1/c
Charles L. Flynn, BM 1/c
Bob Hurley, S 1/c
Thomas E. Taylor, F 1/c

Ralph Aledo, MoMM 2/c
Edward F. Shaw, Ens. USNR
T. K. Dawson, Ens. USNR
J.  Schumann, COM 2/c

John Palmieri

1 Allan Vaitses reflections are from a manuscript of his WWII experiences sent to Museum curator Carlton Pinheiro on Jan. 25, 1997.
2  Letter from Museum World War II Files

April 2012


New Exhibits for 2012 Season – A start with new approaches for the future.

New efforts are underway to further develop for the benefit of the visitor, both expert and novice, the truly wonderful collection of materials and artifacts that constitute the Herreshoff Marine Museum. Good progress has been made over the winter months with a special focus on preparing and presenting new displays for the America’s Cup Hall of Fame Exhibit and for an Exhibit on the Herreshoff contributions to the US Navy - now in its bi-centennial year.  Additional progress has been made on other selected Exhibits and displays and will be discussed in a future Newsletter.

The America’s Cup Hall of Fame is of special significance and features alongside our name. The Herreshoff Marine Museum is proud to host the Hall of Fame.  The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and Nat Herreshoff made significant technological contributions over their 27 years of involvement and six successful defenses of the America's Cup.  The Reliance display illustrates examples of these works.  The America's Cup Hall of Fame Exhibit is re-located prominently on the ground floor in the Sidney  DeWolf Herreshoff Room. New displays for the Exhibit have been designed and presented to further engage the visitor with a range of insights portraying the historical background of the 'Cup and some defining characteristics. These are alongside the 75 Inductees, central to the Hall of Fame, and how they have contributed to the sport of sailing in important ways. Our replica of the America’s Cup is included in the new display area.

We have re-established the Navy Exhibit and located it on the ground floor. The US Navy is commencing its bicentennial celebration this year on the anniversary of the war of 1812. Major events are planned and extend through many ports in 2012-2013. The early Herreshoff Manufacturing Company led by Capt. Nat and his brother John were most influential in providing new concepts in fast torpedo boat designs as the navy was evolving from sail to steam power. The Company also designed and built vessels for the first and second world wars as well as the fuselage for the first flying boat to make a successful trans-Atlantic flight in 1919, the Curtiss NC-4.

These two examples hopefully convey a sense of newness  and increased facilitation for visitors in 2012 by continuing to make “the stories” of the displays more accessible. The Museum has accumulated, thanks to many years of hard work, a wealth of material and artifacts. In order to better strategize our resources and focus on what can be achieved  we are considering these materials to form six core Exhibits – The Hall of Boats, The America’s Cup Hall of Fame, The Navy Exhibit, The Herreshoff History Exhibit, The Aria Gallery for Design & Technology and a newly laid out but yet incomplete Steam Engine and Fittings Hall. There is much that can be done and good progress is underway at various stages of completion for these core Exhibits. Input and assistance is always appreciated.  A particularly interesting but time consuming challenge is in developing insightful points of interest that convey to the visitor a deeper understanding of these special artifacts, beyond that which the descriptive level of data and information can provide alone.  Our aim is to make the displays of the Herreshoff Marine Musem to be of the highest standards possible for the communication of knowledge on the science, design, technology and engineering  for yacht and boat design / construction that defined the Herreshoff era. And, where possible, to draw new insights for thoughts amongst visitors of all ages and interest levels. These are key challenges in modern museums and a world where so much data and information is available.

Key contributors with the author this winter, and to whom we owe a special gratitude, have been Mr John Palmieri, Mr. Michael Rossi, Ms. Bernie Carreiro and Ms. Norene Rickson along with the active help of  Mr. John Cobb, Mr. Eric Lavers, Mr. David Spencer, Mr. Dean Wood and the Management team of Herreshoff Marine Museum, Messrs.’ Ford, Lavers and Jones.  The author, David Curtin is a Board member and Chair for the Collections & Exhibits Committee. Dave may be contacted by e-mail -  [email protected].

Visitors Learn about Epic Voyage at Herb McCormick Lecture

We were pleased to welcome Herb McCormick to the Museum on Thursday April 5th to present his lecture titled: The Voyage Around the Americas: An Environmental Adventure.   Herb recounted the trials of his journey on the cutter OCEAN WATCH.  In June of 2009 the crew traveled through the Northwest Passage, to the tip of Cape Horn and back to the Pacific Northwest.  Herb commented on the friends that he made along the way and his crew members who, through this journey, became the best of friends.  The photographs from the trip were absolutely breathtaking and Herb remarked on the beautiful light and sky that he saw around the continents as they traveled; “I could sit on the deck and watch the light for hours.”  In his introduction for the lecture Herb wrote: The journey's premise was simple: the continents of North and South America are a single island surrounded by a common ocean, and what happens in any one place ultimately affects us all. But while that notion was straightforward, what the crew ultimately discovered during their travels was anything but.

Through his stories and photographs we learned about the economic struggles that many nations are facing today and how this, in many instances, is linked to the health of the oceans.  Pictures of sunsets and albatrosses were mixed in with photographs of trash covering beaches and impoverished villages.  At the end of the lecture the message was clear – people need to care about the health of their oceans.  As sailors, boaters and ocean lovers we need to be the first to acknowledge the immediate impact and advocate a healthy environment.   We need to cut as much excess waste out of our lives as possible by first looking in our own homes and refrigerators.  All in all, the lecture was inspiring.  There is a lot of work to be done and much damage has occurred already.  That said, there are people like Herb McCormick and the crew of OCEAN WATCH around – keeping us informed and reminding us what a beautiful and wondrous world we live in.

Thank you to our sponsors Points East Magazine and Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight Distillery

For more information on the Museum's Lecture Series contact: Maggie Church [email protected] 401.253.5000

Miss Loof Update
From the Rebecca Chase Library

Several months ago (February 2012) readers of this publication were left with a bit of a mystery:  a perusal of the Herreshoff Museum’s Rebecca Chase Library America’s Cup archives had led to the discovery of Sir Thomas Lipton’s plan to commission local floating dance hall and excursion vessel Miss Loof as crew quarters; the archives did not, however, contain information on whether this plan was actually carried out.

Fortunately for us, one of our astute and knowledgeable members was able to solve this mystery for us in a most satisfactory and interesting manner. What follows paraphrases his report, compiled from news clippings from the Hartford Courant, The New York Times, the Boston Globe and The Scotsman.

Lipton did indeed acquire and remodel Miss Loof, renaming her Killarney and using her as Shamrock’s tender in 1930. After Lipton’s death in 1931, Killarney (neé Miss Loof) was laid up in Providence for a few years and then commenced her new career (or perhaps it could be more rightly said resumed her pre-America’s Cup career) in show business. After a plan to bring her to New London, Connecticut, to serve as a floating supper club and cabaret did not come to fruition  she joined the big time, moving to New York City as venue for Jimmy Carr’s Lipton Club orchestra. After a brief run at the Big Apple she moved to Point Pleasant, New Jersey, acquiring a new name – Club Royale – in the process. Her roulette wheels and dice games attracted the attention of local constables, however, leading to a raid with “flourishing revolvers” and no doubt prompting her move the next year to Boston, where she became the city’s only floating nightclub. This engagement was cut short in the fall of 1935 when she burned to the waterline with no loss of life.

We cannot guarantee the reader’s use of the Museum’s archives will yield such an interesting and improbable tale but we encourage you to find out for yourself. The archives and the library are open by appointment year round. Please call Librarian/Archivist Norene Rickson at 401-253-5000 or email [email protected].

March 2012


The Splendor and Majesty of the Classics - Fifth Classic Yacht Symposium 2012

The Herreshoff Marine Museum / America's Cup Hall of Fame will present the fifth Classic Yacht Symposium 2012 at the Museum on April 28. CYS 2012 will unite in Bristol the dominant craftsmen and afficianados of classic boats. The Symposium will highlight the Herreshoff steel schooners' ELENA and INGOMAR, the Gardner design, ATLANTIC, the large timbered, CORONET and will celebrate the centenary of NGH's classic daysailer, ALERION. The morning session will begin at 0800 hours with registration and a continental breakfast followed by Halsey Herreshoff's presentation on The Origins and Rebirth of the Big Steel Schooners.

We will welcome first time presenters Ed Kastelein, owner and John Lammerts Van Bueren, who will report on the construction of ELEONORA, INGOMAR and ATLANTIC. It is a testament to the schooner's elegance and timeless beauty that yards of distinction continue to build these sleek yachts. Their classic lines are unrivalled, their beauty unparalleled and with a 18,000 s.f. sail plan, no sailing amateurs need apply. They are also powerful, majestic and blazingly fast. Don't miss Captain Steve McLaren and Adam Langerman, crew member aboard 137' ELENA, as they recount their experiences on the highly competitive international racing circuit. Completing the morning session, CYS veterans Bob McNeil and Jeff Rutherford return for an update on the heavy timbered Victorian era 133' CORONET, a project which is currently underway in Newport.

The afternoon schedule will be overseen by Curator, John Palmieri and will focus on The ALERION Revolution: What Nat Herreshoff Started in 1912. Designed by NGH in his sixtieth decade, this sleek and nimble boat is a sailor's delight. Come hear owners and builders tell of their love affair with this sailing gem and its many commendable successor sloops. Individual presentations by John Palmieri, Maynard Bray, Brion Rieff , Eric Ogden and a host of owners will be followed by lively Q&A sessions.

Plan to join us after the day's events at a cocktail reception and networking session across the street sponsored by Herreshoff Designs, Inc. and Bristol Boat Company. We reconvene at the De Wolf Tavern on Thames Street in Bristol for dinner that evening. If your plans include an overnight stay, please join us on Sunday morning for NGH Model room tours by appointment conducted by Halsey Herreshoff and John Palmieri and the Museum's opening day festivities beginning at noon.

All of the papers presented will be included on a CYS 2012 DVD along with a copy of the Proceedings Booklet. This is an event you won't want to miss. Please register early as space is limited. We are grateful to our numerous event sponsors for their support and enthusiasm. We look forward to welcoming you on April 28.

-Jan Davison, Chair of the Classic Yacht Symposium Committee

Lecture with Captain Richard Phillips was a Resounding Success

Thank you to everyone who came to Roger Williams University last week for a lecture called – An Encounter with Somali Pirates – by Captain Richard Phillips.  The nearly 500 guests who attended sat captivated as Captain Phillips recounted the capture of the Maersk Alabama in April of 2009.  Phillips, who was the sole hostage of 4 Somali pirates, was held for days aboard a small life raft awaiting rescue.  Phillips told the audience that – “You are stronger than you think you are” and recounted his long capture, attempted escape, and torture.  Phillips lecture, approximately 50 minutes, was followed by an outstanding Q&A.  A number of audience members stood to thank Captain Phillips for his bravery and for sharing his story.  The US Navy and Navy SEALs, some of whom attended the lecture in full uniform, were also greeted with a standing ovation.  During the Q&A Captain Phillips spoke candidly about the stress of the situation and the permanent scars, both physical and emotional, that remain from his capture.  He also talked about his families’ response.  His wife Andrea and 2 children were in Vermont getting daily updates but they did not know exactly what was happening or of the plans for his rescue.  Captain Phillips took a year off following his rescue and published a book titled: A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea.  The book is a New York Times bestseller and a fascinating read.  Captain Phillips has now returned to work and works as a Captain 3 months on and 3 months off.  In the off months Phillips can be found enjoying his beautiful home in Vermont or out on various public and motivational speaking tours.

In advance of the Lecture, Herreshoff Marine Museum CEO, Dyer Jones thanked the lecture series sponsors: Points East Magazine, Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight Distillery.  Their marketing and enthusiasm has helped to make this the most successful lecture series that the Museum has seen.  He further acknowledged the Roger Williams Sailing Team, first in the nation and all in attendance with their coach Amanda Calllahan.  Finally, Dyer thanked President Farish and Maia Farish, also in attendance and noted that the Museum was pleased to present the lecture in conjunction with Roger Williams University.  The Recreation Center was the perfect venue for our large audience and Roger Williams’ staff was extremely helpful with logistics and marketing.

All in all, this was a resounding success and we are grateful to Captain Drew Bisset who talked with Captain Phillips and scheduled the lecture.  We all feel fortunate to have heard this story from Captain Phillips: a hero and an incredibly inspiring man.  We will remember this as a fascinating evening, a great community partnership, and a resounding success for the Museum.

Capt. Nat Herreshoff in the 21st Century

The twenty-first century provides a singular opportunity for the Classic Yacht Symposium to explore the body of work by Capt. Nat Herreshoff and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. This opportunity develops from a congruence of factors.

• First, nary a year goes by that is not a 100th anniversary of one or more of the most famous and successful Nat Herreshoff designs. Already gone by are the Buzzards Bay 30s, the sloop NELLIE, and the NY 30’s. This year, 2012, it is ALERION III, 2013 the NY 50s, 2014 the Buzzards Bay Boys Boat and the Buzzards Bay 25, 1916 the Fish and the NY 40s, and in 1919 the S Class. Additionally stretching from 2003 to 2015 are the big steel racing schooners.

• Second, representatives of all the above designs are today being cared for by committed owners, faithfully maintained and restored to original condition by internationally recognized professionals and are competitively racing as they did a century ago. Additionally new replicas are being built and modern derivatives are being created with enhanced designs using new materials. In truth there is more energy and excitement in the field than anytime since the boats were originally built.

Now, Capt. Nat left little written commentary about his designs for us to dissect. But thanks to Halsey Herreshoff we do have his personal design records housed at the Museum and there are the company drawings carefully conserved at MIT by Kurt Hasselbalch. These records together with all this activity by the best in the business are creating new insights into his genius on a daily basis. Even those who design and build derivatives add to our knowledge because they start with developing their own understanding of the original design.

This year’s program features A Century and More of the Big Schooners and The ALERION Revolution: What Nat Herreshoff Started in 1912. See you at the Muueum on April 28.

John Palmieri


Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation = Cultural Heritage
Sailing and Education News

Although the museum is "closed" until late April, this is the busy season for our education department.  We work with students and schools on senior projects, internships, an after school program in the boat shop, and field trips.  We also take our traveling trunk education program to schools.  This summer we will use our sea chest of educational treasures during the all-day seamanship class.

This winter we have had hundreds of students in for visits.  During school visits we use our curriculum enrichment lessons and activities tied to curriculum standards.  We might measure boats, draw boats, float boats, or use a chart to calculate how far their school is from the Museum.  All this is in our traveling trunk.  The beauty of the trunk is that the items make tangible connections to subjects.  Teachers can either come to the museum or sign it out for one month. The trunk lessons start with Rhode Island history and social studies and move to mathematics and physics among other lines of study.  Projects include: researching the history of the Herreshoff brothers and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, reading line drawings and designing half-hulls, measuring and calculating sail area, exploring buoyancy principles, and using simple machines.

After school in the boat shop students learn planning, communication and responsibility–all critical job skills. They discover abilities they didn't know they had and gain confidence. And, they learn math and come to see it as a useful tool in their lives.  Students work on the standard wooden boat maintenance cycle – removing broken screws and scraping varnish included.

These programs are funded by donations from people like you, and grants from Roger Williams University, the Collectors Foundation, the Bonnell Cove Foundation, and RIISA.


February 2012


New Discoveries at the Rebecca Chase Herreshoff Library

It’s another hot and humid 19th Century summer in Rhode Island. The Shore Dinner Hall at Rocky Point in Warwick is doing a booming business as patrons flock to this popular attraction to enjoy chowder, clam cakes, watermelon and cool breezes off Narragansett Bay.  Among those enjoying a summer’s day are the boat-builders from the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. On August 3, 1877, “Mr. J.B. Herreshoff took [the boatbuilders] to Rocky Point in one of his steamers, gave them a good dinner and entertained them handsomely through the day.”  (Bristol Phoenix, Aug. 3, 1877)

Flash forward half a century to 1930. Sir Thomas Lipton is planning his fifth and final challenge for the America’s Cup and needs a place to house his crew as they practice for the Newport races on SHAMROCK V. The Providence Journal reports in its July 9, 1930, issue that Sir Thomas has made an interesting decision regarding his crew quarters. He has purchased the “Miss Looff”, a floating dance-hall and excursion boat built for Mr. Charles Loof, who ran her between his amusement park Crescent Park (Riverside, Rhode Island)  and Fall River, Mass.  Unique but expensive to run with her large gasoline-driven engines, her cost exceeded her receipts and she spent 20 years tied up at Crescent Park and then in Providence. Lipton’s workmen were reported to be at work “installing staterooms, bathrooms, a cook’s galley and other additions…”.  So far, we have found no further mention of this unique crew lodging.

These interesting footnotes to history came from the clippings collection of the museum’s Rebecca Chase Herreshoff Library. They are representative of the type of documentary material contained in the library’s collection that could be described as “first-hand information” about events at the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and those surrounding the America’s Cup. This material includes news clippings, photographs and manuscript materials.   While most of this material is part of the library collection, some is housed in the Curator’s research files and some is found in the Museum’s general collection.  Many researchers would argue this type of material is the most exciting and interesting  since it provides an opportunity to make discoveries about history that may not appear in any other published source.

The Rebecca Chase Herreshoff Library of the Herreshoff Marine Museum contains over 5,000 books, pamphlets and other printed materials covering the wide range of topics of interest and importance to the museum, its members and patrons, and researchers.  The library collection is available to researchers by appointment throughout the year. An updated, searchable  version of the library’s catalog will be available shortly through the museum’s website.

Donations from museum supporters continually add to the collection and we are grateful for them.  For information on using the library’s collection or to discuss a donation, please contact Librarian/Archivist Norene Rickson, [email protected], or Curator John Palmieri, [email protected], 401-253-5000, ext. 27.


CHARLES W MORGAN Lecture – Another Great Night – Another Sell Out!

What a series!  Thank you to our presenters – Dana Hewson, Quentin Snediker, Kane Border, Roger Hambidge, and Steve Wilkes.  The lecture focused on the documentation involved for the restoration of the CHARLES W MORGAN.  This is an extensive project engaging many experts to restore the country’s oldest surviving whaleship.  Our sold out audience heard from each individual about his part on this epic assignment.  Impressive technology, a life’s work in restoration, and the individual’s passion have all added to a well-run project steeped in New England history.  We witnessed the impressive CAD drawings and laser scanning technology which has been used to scan the entire ship – inside and out – compiling a digital image of the ship, the planks, every fastener, and even the density of the material used.  Presenters remarked that this technology combined with the expertise of the shipwrights and staff from the Harry B DuPont Preservation Shipyard made this project possible.

The Herreshoff Marine Museum announced an affiliation with Mystic Seaport one year ago – and we have seen this partnership influence our on-goings in fantastic ways.  It was wonderful to welcome such a capable and interesting group of presenters, not solely as experts in their fields, but as friends and colleagues. Thank you, Mystic Seaport for a great night.  We will stay posted for future updates on the CHARLES W MORGAN and we congratulate you on your hard work.

Perhaps you missed the lecture or maybe you would like to revisit this impressive project.  Read updates on the MORGAN restoration on Mystic Seaport's website

Our next lecture is An Encounter With Somali Pirates - A lecture with Captain Richard Phillips.  Please register in advance.

Buy Tickets Online or call Maggie at the Museum (401.253.5000).


INGOMAR: The Most Successful Campaign Since the Schooner AMERICA

Don’t miss the April 28th, 5th Classic Yacht Symposium featuring construction of the new schooner INGOMAR. It is the latest chapter in a story that goes back over a century.

The year 1899 brought a big change in the life of Morton F. Plant. He had followed his railroad magnate father in business, but in 1899 Henry died, writing Morton out of control of the $22M estate.  A lawsuit awarded him $14.6 M and a new lifestyle. The first $3M built a pleasure dome at Avery Point, Groton, CT (now a U CONN satellite campus), and fame followed as a developer, yachtsman, baseball team owner, and for trading his 5th Avenue New York mansion with Cartier’s for $100 and a $1M black pearl necklace. Most importantly he had Herreshoff build ten yachts including a pair of 28-foot steam launches, the first NY 40, the 127-foot steel centerboard schooner INGOMAR and the 130-foot steam yacht PARTHENIA.

When approached by Plant to build a schooner for racing in Europe, Capt. Nat had not designed a schooner since the 1866 SADIE (1) and as L Francs Herreshoff writes in Capt. Nat: Wizard of Bristol;  "… (he) very much disliked the rig and said it was too complicated and costly, and that it had too much wind resistance”. Capt. Nat and the Company however did have recent experience building the fast and lightly built America’s Cup defenders with features more advanced than the British contenders. Unlike the spartan interiors of the defenders INGOMAR was fitted with solid mahogany companionways, hatches and skylights, a luxurious all butternut and mahogany cabin, a ladies cabin upholstered in green plush with many mirrors and artistic hangings, and a circular main saloon with red plush transoms.

Because of the priority given to the 1903 Cup Defender RELIANCE, INGOMAR was built in the North Shop (without the marine railway). Launching on greased ways she hit the water at 10 mph, performed a graceful circle in the harbor and returned running her stern gently into the North wharf with no damage.

Though built to race overseas Plant gave her a summer tryout- winning almost all her races. Encouraged by the results planning started for the 1904 season in Europe. Charlie Barr and many of the winning RELIANCE crew signed on for the campaign. The centerboard was removed and her draft was increased by adding a slab of lead to the bottom of the keel.

Experienced English yachtsman Brooke Heckstall-Smith sailed in the after guard for most of INGOMAR’s 1904 races and was impressed with her features (2):
• Wheel and foot-brake rather than a tiller as used on Brit boats.
• Very large high main and foresail with small topsails with light Oregon pine spars; spars much smaller than Brit racing schooners.
• Light but extremely strong working gear. Uncluttered decks.
• Riveting and finish of hull were "magnificent".

But it was in the racing that she proved her mettle. INGOMAR's record of 17 trophies in 22 races in the summer of 1904 was the most successful campaign of an American vessel in European waters since the schooner AMERICA in 1851.

John Palmieri

1 Nat, aged 18, made the sail plan and all the drawings for the boat that had been modeled by his father and blind older brother John.
2 Brook Heckstall-Smith, All Hands on the Mainsheet. London. Grant Richards. 1921.


Enrollment is Open for Summer Seamanship Classes

Seamanship is the art and science of maneuvering a boat efficiently and safely.  These skills, common to cruisers, racers, sailors, and powerboaters, are taught each summer at the Museum.  Beginning June 25th our Seamanship Program will run in two week sessions.  New this year are full-day classes, as well as half-day classes, and alternate-day classes.  Download the registration form. Call or email Richard with questions.

The art of seamanship is far older than the science.  Its principles may be stated in literary form, but a mastery of it can only be acquired by actual practice on the sea.  Bring your family on Monday evenings, send your children during the day, try the adult classes in the evening, or schedule private lessons in the iconic Herreshoff 12 1/2s built at the HMCo between 1914 and 1939.

POOKA will have new coamings thanks to the after school Mentorship Program.  URCHIN, back in the water after a three-year rest, will have some new copper rivets, new paint, and brighter bright work.  There is room for more students Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays after school from 3 until 5.



Happy New Year to all friends of the Herreshoff Marine Museum.  Thanks to our generous donors 2011 was a very eventful and exciting year at your Museum.  We are planning for an equally exciting 2012. Here is a brief overview.

During our annual winter closure our exhibits committee is continuing the update of our exhibits begun last year.  The America’s Cup Hall of Fame, which was closed due to deteriorating condition, will be redesigned and reopened in the A. Sidney deWolf Herreshoff Room in the main Museum building. 

To make room for the ACHoF, the steam engine exhibit will be moved to a new Steam Engine Hall and expanded with new descriptive panels demonstrating the important place the steam engines played in the establishment of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company.  The relationship between the US Navy and HMCo. was a deep and lasting one, and the Navy exhibit will be refurbished and redisplayed.

The Hall of Boats will be rearranged to give more prominence to the two classes still actively being sailed, both on Narragansett Bay and elsewhere:  The S Boat and the 12 ½.  New material supplied by the class associations will be incorporated into the exhibits.

In June we will hold an Induction Ceremony to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in Newport in conjunction with the America’s Cup World Series competition there.  And of course as always we will have a Fourth of July celebration and our annual regatta (assuming Irene’s daughter does not pay us a visit).  Our seamanship and sailing school will have four sessions this year between June 25 and August 17.

Our outstanding winter speaker series lineup is described elsewhere.  We intend to continue with speakers and other events on the waterfront throughout the summer.

This is an ambitious program.  In order to accomplish it we will need the continued support of our friends, both financial and otherwise.  There are plenty of volunteer opportunities, both for regular schedules and ad hoc projects, and from office work to design to carpentry. 
Please call Maggie Church, our volunteer coordinator, if you can share some of your time and skills with us.

Larry Lavers,
Chief Operating Officer


George David, Dan O’Connor and RAMBLER crew members present to a SOLD OUT audience
New and Noteworthy

What a night!  George David, RAMBLER’s owner, presented with crew members Tim Dawson, Wendy Touton, and Mic Harvey, and Dan O’Connor of LRSE.  Our full capacity crowd watched in awe as Mr. David told the full story of the racing successes of the RAMBLER crew followed by the terrible accident in August 2011 when RAMBLER’s keel broke off and crew members found themselves thrown into the 58° water.  Dan O’Connor remarks that the crew was very well prepared year at the same time you can never be fully prepared for an accident of this magnitude.  In the end, after hours in the water, the entire crew was rescued.  George David says that they were extremely lucky and grateful for their safe recovery.  The RAMBLER crew has continued to race on other boats and no one has lost their passion for this great sport.  Thank you to all of our members and community who came out on a snowy night.  This series has been a huge success and we are grateful for your support.  Our sponsor, Points East Magazine, have been immensely helpful in planning and advertising the series and our thanks goes out to them.  We are also pleased to be working with Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight Distillery of Nantucket who have donated refreshments for all lectures in the series.

See you next month for The Restoration of the Charles W Morgan – presented by Mystic Seaport.  Staff of the Museum will be here to discuss the recent restoration of the Charles W. Morgan whaleship. If you have been to Mystic recently, it is hard to miss the huge vessel on the east side of the campus. If you have not been - you need to go! But first, come by to hear the speakers and whet your appetite. Read more about the Charles W. Morgan here. Thursday, February 9th.

Thank you for your support and enthusiasm with our lectures and events. We love filling the Museum and rallying around our common love of sailing, racing, building and restoring.


Curator’s Log January 2012

A century ago this coming July Nat Herreshoff carved the half-model of ALERION III and construction started that November. Over the intervening 100 years ALERION had five owners who sailed her extensively; first Capt. Nat in Bermuda, and then all five on Long Island Sound and New England waters (1).  Here is some of the published commentary about her sailing qualities in those years.

L. Francis Herreshoff wrote about his single-handed sail in 1920 to deliver ALERION to Bristol from the arriving Bermuda steamer in New York (2).  What started in good weather ended in a strong early spring southwester with heavy seas that left him marveling at how her backstays held, the spars and sail survived the strain, and the bow raised to shake off the water in a following sea. 

In New York he found her “as well built and fitted out a small yacht as has been my lot to see”. Towed to City Island by a Herreshoff launch from J. P. Morgan’s steam yacht CORSAIR III, ALERION was quickly rigged with help from the crew of the America’s Cup contender VANITIE. Shoving off in a light breeze, with “a bottle of water, some sardines and a loaf of bread”, he reached Greenwich by sunset. On the third day he sailed 14 hours in a cold strong nor’easter to make New London after dark.  Lingering for three days while the storm raged, he started again in light winds that quickly became a very strong southwester. About the storm, he writes; “As the southwester rushed down on us it was heralded first by a rustling noise, then a hissing like ten thousand pythons”. With a 15-fathom painter for sea anchor, storm trysail jib and mainsail fully reefed he rushed past Point Judith lifeboat station where he could see men wondering, “What … fool is out there today?” Safely reaching Bristol, having covered 52 miles in eight hours, he was left with two lasting impressions; the “great pleasure” of the sail and the lesson to “be careful how you put to see in the springtime”.

Another article in the 1920s tells of a group sitting on the porch of the East Greenwich YC on a hot, windless day. As they watched, a little green sloop rounded the point, glided through the harbor and back out.  A new member asked,  “What kind of boat is that and what in blazes makes her go?”  The answer, “Why it is Capt. Nat Herreshoff and his ALERION, and they both make her go!” (3.4)

The appreciative third owner of ALERION, Amory Standish Skerry, described her thus; “(Nat) designed her to be the most perfect “single hander” of which he is capable. Any one who has sailed ALERION knows how well he succeeded.”  Amory remarked on how well she sailed to windward; “You trimmed sail for the course you wanted…then lowered or raised the centerboard until perfect balance of the helm was attained and she would mind herself on course as long as the wind held true”. (5)

Even Capt. Nat offered his own flowery testimonial, declaring- “She was a very satisfactory boat.” (6)

John Palmieri

The story of ALERION and her legacy is being featured with a full afternoon program on April 28, 2012 at the 5th Classic Yacht Symposium.
  (1)L. Francis Herreshoff, A Sail in the Alerion. The Rudder. Sept. 1943
  (2)The Log of Mystic Seaport. Vol 21 No.3. p. 99
  (3) I had a similar experience in 2009 sailing, the improved Alerion, SADIE in Bristol Harbor with Adam Langerman. It was flat calm and nothing else, big or small was moving, but we ghosted along on our course around Hog Island.

  (4)Amory Standish Skerry, Alerion. The Log of Mystic Seaport. Vol 21 No.3. pp 96-99
  (5)Nathanael G. Herreshoff, Recollections. Edited by Carlton J. Pinheiro. Herreshoff Marine Museum, 1998.



Soon 2011 will come to a close, and we want to extend a sincere 'Thank You' to all our members and donors for your support which enabled us to have a tremendous year at the Museum.

Your contributions made it possible for almost three times as many students to participate in our summer sailing and seamanship program as the year before, helped to maintain the fleet of classic Herreshoff 12-1/2's used in the sailing school, and supported our after school program that teaches kids the skills required to maintain a sailboat in Bristol fashion. Hundreds of school children have come to the Museum on field trips for lessons intended to spark their interest in science, technology, engineering and math such as the principles of buoyancy, the use of charts and how different designs and materials affect speed potential. Thanks to you we invested in a brand new tent that will help us generate income from the waterfront. And thanks to your support the Museum is in much better financial condition than a year ago.

We are looking forward to a very exciting 2012 starting with the wonderful second lecture in our winter speaker series (see Maggie's note below for more details). Please mark your calendar for our reopening on April 29, 2012, when you will be able to see the new exhibits we are developing.

Thank you all for supporting this wonderful institution. We cannot do it without you! We wish you the best this Holiday Season and hope to see you at the Museum next year.

-Elisabeth Lavers
Director of Development


Thank you to all of our members, volunteers, and community who have attended our most recent events.

Our AMORITA lecture saw record crowds (over 120!) Jed Pearsall and Bill Doyle presented their story to a standing room only audience. The presentation was filled with historic significance and facts about AMORITA- but perhaps more importantly, we found ourselves captivated by the two passionate speakers. It was inspiring to watch Jed and Bill speak so candidly about their experience with AMORITA. Our community of builders, sailors, and aficionados stared in silence as Jed and Bill took us through the crash frame by frame. After reviewing her lengthy and well done restoration we saw video footage of the yacht under sail. Truly beautiful. Jed and Bill, thank you again for a great night. We all admire your journey and, of course, we admire your AMORITA.

Our Holiday Party was also a resounding success. Numbers of members and volunteers came out for an evening of food, drink, and good company. We gathered in the A Sidney DeWolf Herreshoff Room to socialize and reflect on a successful summer and fall. We also honored four Museum volunteers who have given over ten years of service. These men have given their time volunteering as docents, restoration specialists and consultants. Their knowledge of the organization is invaluable and we are immensely grateful for their leadership. The honored men are: Tom Javor, Harold Tucker, Robert (Bob) Wilson, and the late Alan Storms. Read below for a brief bio on each volunteer, as presented to our guests this past Wednesday. Thank you for a great night!

And now, because we know you're looking for a reason to come back, a quick teaser for our January Lecture:

Winter Lecture Series- Please join us at the Museum in January 19th for The RAMBLER Incident (date subject to change.) Doors at 6pm, lecture at 7pm. RAMBLER capsized this past August during the Fastnet Race (a 608 mile offshore race that runs from the Isle of Wright to Fastnet Rock located off the shore of Ireland to the Scilly Isles and finishes at Plymouth.) Hear from members of the crew, and Dan O'Conner of Life Raft and Survival Equipment (LRSE) whose pre- race work with the crew and boat assisted in a 100% recovery of all onboard.

As always we would like to thank our series sponsor Points East Magazine. Come early and enjoy refreshments from Cisco Brewers and Triple Eight distillery.

This past Wednesday, December 7th was our annual Holiday Party. As part of the evening's festivities we thanked an amazing group of volunteers who have given more than ten years of service to our Museum. Those volunteers are: Tom Javor, Harold Tucker, Robert (Bob) WIlson, and the late Alan Storms.

It is difficult to summarize everything that these men have done for our organization but below you will find a brief write-up on each. Volunteers, Thank you again for your continued support. We are grateful for your leadership.

Tom Javor

Tom Javor has been sailing since before he could walk. He knew Carlton Pinheiro as a young boy. He first sailed an old town runabout and then learned more on a Sunfish, a Dyer, and a Force 5. Tom started volunteering at the Museum when he was looking to restore a Herreshoff yacht. At the time he was considering a Fish but he fell in love with the S-class and sailed an S for years. He now sails a daysailer 23.

Tom started volunteering at HMM just before the New York Yacht Clubs 150th anniversary in 1993. He currently works as a desk assistant and docent on Sundays and he also fills many other roles as necessary. Tom is really a special events volunteer helping with any task at hand and usually adding a few tasks while he’s at it. He has a huge amount of institutional knowledge, as you can imagine, and I know we will continue to lean on his expertise in the upcoming years.

Harold Tucker

Harold Tucker works as a docent on Wednesday mornings. For those of you that don’t know, Wednesday is notoriously cruise ship day here at HMM. Those of us that work on the floor go from standing around chatting and looking for work to being swamped by big crowds. Harold is always here to talk history with the tourists that find their way through our doors.

Harold has a special attachment to the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company – though he rarely brings it up – Harold used to work at the HMCo. building PT boats. Harold remembers all the good parts of old Bristol history: spending time with the Herreshoff family, admiring Peacock Alley, and lots of days out sailing.

When Harold is not at the Museum he can be found bowling or ballroom dancing. Harold currently races his Seasprite at the Bristol Yacht Clubs Wednesday night races.

Robert (Bob) Wilson

Bob Wilson grew up with a Beetle Cat which he first learned to crew and later skipper. As a young man he had chances to crew on various S-boats and he became a Herreshoff enthusiast. After he graduated from college he tried to buy a 12 ½ but he couldn’t find one in good condition so he bought one that was a wreck. He worked with a man named Unk Allen for about 4 years restoring the boat and he then enjoyed sailing it for years. Bristol folks will know Bob’s boat because it is now owned by a local family and it goes by the name Rhode Island Red. Bob then owned a Pearson 35 for 17 years which he raced at the Bristol Yacht Club.

Bob worked as an engineer for 35 years and when he retired he started volunteering at the Museum. He has read all of the books about Nat and J.B. and he is incredibly knowledgeable. He still gives tour on Friday mornings and he also comes in to tour with school groups when we have field trips.
Bob has enjoyed all of the people that he has met at the Museum over the years especially the thousands of interesting visitors that he has toured with.

Alan Storms

Alan passed away earlier this fall and his wife Gail is present to accept his award. Click here for more information on Alan.

Alan Storms grew up in Wisconsin and he came to New England to go to MIT. He met his wife Gail in Boston – they were both in singing groups – and though they moved around quite a bit, they decided to retire in Bristol. In his professional life Alan was an engineer and a consultant – outside of work Alan was always a sailor. Alan had a mind like a steel trap and he loved to share his enthusiasm about the genius of Captain Nat and J.B. Alan volunteered as a docent on Saturday mornings. When some new volunteers started recently Alan acted as a mentor – talking about the HMCo history and giving tips on how to peak a visitor’s interest and which points on the timeline to cover. Aside from his work as a docent, he was on the Boat Preservation Committee working closely with our curator John Palmieri and the Classic Yacht Symposium Committee. The next Classic Yacht Symposium will be on April 28th and it will be held in Alan’s honor.


Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Six- Christmas During the America’s Cup Years

The success of the 46-footer GLORIANA in 1891, and the resulting orders for America’s Cup defenders, brought great changes to Nat Herreshoff’s life with none more noticeable than how it affected the normally quiet days of Christmas in wintry Bristol (1).

As both the designer and superintendent of the works Capt. Nat was involved in every aspect of a new project. Each defender involved a new design with performance, schedules and technical matters to be resolved with the Cup syndicate. Schedules for other contracted work had to be adjusted to rush the defender to completion. Assisted by a four-man drafting room, every defender drawing was either personally prepared by Capt. Nat, or reviewed and signed by him. Material deliveries and construction had to be followed closely. Much of this happened at Christmas.

In the two weeks around Christmas 1892 he made three trips to New York, often returning the next day on the midnight train, to meet with syndicates to gain orders for his first defenders. He returned on Dec. 16 with the order for COLONIA and the order for VIGILANT followed in mid-January. His 1895 DEFENDER experienced a similar schedule with end of year syndicate communications and the start of design on the 8th of January 1895.

In later years (1898, 1900, 1902, 1912) the pattern changed as the defender contracts were awarded in September – November. But that only served to advance drawing issuance, material deliveries and early construction milestones into the Christmas holidays. For example, Nat’s design record for CONSTITUTION begins on Nov. 26, 1900 and drawings are being issued in December and January. For RELIANCE the lead keel is leveled up on Dec.20, 1902, followed immediately by construction start of the flat plate keel; and syndicate head C. Oliver Iselin visits on Dec. 26 & 27 to view progress.

The pressures on Capt. Nat are not without financial rewards. In 1890- 1891 he earns a salary of $45 per week and average annual dividends from HMCo of $4700. By 1896 his salary is $125 per week, dividends from HMCo run as high as $41,000 (1903), and he receives Christmas gifts from the syndicates of up to $2,500 (1893). (This is at a time when the journeyman carpenter at HMCo was well-paid at $15- 18 per week; foreman at $24.)

Even with the daily pressures of designing and building each new defender, Capt. Nat still found time for quiet reflection in his workshop as evidenced by his diary entry for Christmas Day 1900.

"A quiet day at home spent working on a model."

John Palmieri

(1) Sources for this paper are the NGH diaries and weather records 1887- 1898, Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives and separate NGH dairies and cash accounts 1881- 1909, courtesy of Halsey C. Herreshoff. HMCo payroll and construction records, Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives.


Too big to fit in a trunk! This month we will be in a calculus class in the Barrington High School talking about design, trigonometry, and navigation. Last month we taught model boat building as part of the Guiteras After-School Program. Our programs have been a great success and we are grateful for our time with each student and teacher and we always look forward to working with even more classrooms.

Earlier this month 100 students from Hugh Cole Elementary School took a field trip to the Museum. We ran four activities to engage the students and connect to their curriculum. Using the timeline wall our docent, Lou Fayan, asked, "Who were the Herreshoffs?" and "What happened here?" The second activity involved measuring the beam, length over all (LOA), and length water line (LWL) of SPRITE with her plumb bow, and HEFFALUMP, a 12-1/2. SPRITE, the Museum's catboat, is the oldest vessel in our collection. When Nat helped his family build SPRITE he was the same age as the students from the Hugh Cole School. This fact always gets students' attention! Our third activity station was a buoyancy tank eight feet long, four feet wide, and one foot deep. Here students first sank clay balls, and then reshaped them to make them float. One boat held 23 marbles afloat! The fourth activity was to use a paper chart to measure how far from the sailors' school to the Museum by boat, by car, and "as the crow flies". Finally, as the always popular 5th activity, students were given time to explore the Hall of Boats and TORCH, CLARA, and THANIA. It was a jam-packed morning and all involved left enthused and inspired.

Want to get involved? Email Richard for more information about potential field trips and In-School Programs.

Navigation and Seamanship Classes Offered at The Herreshoff Museum

Beginning January 18th Herreshoff Museum Educator, Richard Feeny, will be teaching piloting and navigation classes on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 17 Burnside Street. This five-day ten-hour workshop will use Chapman Piloting and Seamanship as the primary textbook. Students will be taught the skills of plotting courses and bearings on provided charts with parallel rules and dividers also provided. Topics will include the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, latitude and longitude, nautical chart symbols, magnetic and true directions, tide and tidal currents. Classes meet from 6:30 - 8:30pm. Museum Members: $160, all others $190. 15% discount for two people in the same family. Space is limited to 10 students.

Class will run three times. Choose:

January 18, 19, 25, 26, February1, 2


February 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23


February 29, March 1, 7, 8, 14, 15

Note: the sixth class is a makeup session

email Richard Feeny at [email protected] to register



Education at The Herreshoff Marine Museum

Winter Classes, Field Trips, Model Building
We are a resource for educators.

Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul I head to the boat shop to prepare our fleet for next season. There I meet interesting, knowledgeable volunteers who mentor those of us who pay attention. After school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays we have teenagers on campus in the boat shop learning to repair and maintain our 12 1/2s. Numerous projects are underway, from re-riveting a 12 1/2, to replacing cockpit coamings. We have limited space for more students to attend this fun program in an inspiring place.

Navigation and piloting winter classes begin January 18th. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings students will be taught the skills of plotting courses and bearings on charts with parallel rules and dividers. A gift certificate for this class makes a great gift! Contact [email protected] for more information or for other gift ideas shop at the Museum Store.

Winter is school field trip season. This is part of our in-school program with hands on projects that teach history, civics, math, and science. We set up activity stations to explore topics and pique students' curiosity. One hundred 5th grade students from Hugh Cole School will visit in November and Portsmouth and Jamestown schools are also visiting.

What's new for 2012? KESTREL overnight trips for ages 11+ will fill up fast with the America's Cup catamarans to observe, as well as a fleet of tall ships. Summer classes begin June 25th, and will offer an all day option, as well as ½ day and every other day options. Look for model boat building programs next year.

Work hard, work smart.

Richard Feeny - Sailing Master and Director of Programs


Our busy schedule continues! Stop by this season for these upcoming events:

Bristol Residents Weekend is November 26th and 27th. We will be offering FREE admission to all Bristol residents. The weekends festivities will include guided tours and a 10% discount in the Museum gift shop. Leo's Ristorante will be providing chowder (trust me, it's the best!) and you won't want to miss out. This is a must-do for any local family, yachting enthusiast, or historian. Come by and share your pride for our beautiful town and its amazing history.

Our Winter Lecture Series sponsored by Points East Magazine is taking shape. We are all very excited about our list of lectures which will be occuring once a month, on Thursday nights, in December through April. Our first lecture is on December 1. Doors will open at 6 and the lecture will begin at 7pm. All lectures in the series will be $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Jed Pearsall and Bill Doyle will be discussing the accident, recovery and rebuild of AMORITA, a NY30. We are also excited to announce that Cisco Brewers from Nantucket will be present again this year providing refreshments. It is sure to be a sell-out. Stay tuned on our website for updates on the rest of our speakers.

Our annual Holiday Party is on December 7th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Museum members are welcome to come by and join in our festivities. As always, there will be snacks and refreshments. This is a great time to socialize with our community and enjoy the season. Hope to see you there!


Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Five- Bringing Aluminum to the Cup in 1895: Capt. Nat, C. Oliver Iselin and James Maguire

Contrary to some commentary it was not the J Boats of the 1930s that introduced aluminum to Cup races, but Nat Herreshoff’s 1895 DEFENDER. It is an interesting story; one that is shrouded in some mystery as to where and how the aluminum was used. This is where the research stands today.

The first all-aluminum boat was reportedly built in Switzerland in 1890 and developments in Europe continued ahead of the USA. Applications included small launches, second-class torpedo boats (carried on decks of larger vessels), gunboats and small steamers in Dutch and German African colonial service (lighter to transport over land), and at least one steamer in the Med. Experience with aluminum-copper alloy demonstrated the following: (i) 

• Resistance of aluminum to seawater is possible when not in direct contact with less electro-positive metals such as brass or copper. Wherever such contact is made, the aluminum corrodes rapidly. If contact is unavoidable, either the aluminum surface should be a replaceable plate, or a layer of insulating material should separate the surfaces.
• Galvanized iron or aluminum should be used in place of brass or bronze fittings such, as rivets, in metallic connection with the aluminum hull plating.
• Aluminum-copper alloys should always be protected by paint; otherwise they will rapidly corrode by local action between the two metals.
• Unpainted aluminum is fouled by marine mollusks; but less than iron.

Capt. Nat first conducted material testing of pure aluminum and aluminum-copper alloys in February 1893 at the same time as his tests of Tobin bronze for VIGILANT .(ii)

In January 1895 Nat was hard at work completing the design for the new Cup defender and responding to urgent letters from the syndicate manager C. Oliver Iselin. Iselin was excited about aluminum thanks to a hard sell by James Maguire who, I assume, was a sales engineer for the Pittsburgh Reduction Co. (iii)Iselin urged Capt. Nat to use aluminum everywhere including bulkheads, plumbing and deck lights to achieve a “50% weight saving”. He pushed Nat to talk to the president of the company, who, according to Maguire, “Has forgotten more about aluminum than he (Maguire) knows”. (iv)

There is no record that they talked and Capt. Nat does not mention either “the president” or Maguire in any written record. The HMCo did obtain samples of aluminum-copper alloy of differing copper content, heat-treating and metalworking from Pittsburgh Reduction. Nat personally ran tensile and bending tests on eighteen specimens, plus sheer tests of aluminum rivets; he made his material application decisions; HMCo built DEFENDER and she won the Cup. (v)

It was widely known she had steel frames, bronze underwater plating, aluminum topsides, aluminum decks and deck beams, but there knowledge of the details was lacking.

On Thursday Nov. 7, 1895, two months after the victory, James Maguire presented a paper in New York before the annual meeting of the Society of Marine Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) describing the principal characteristics of aluminum and its use in ship construction in Europe and in DEFENDER. (vi) Nat, a member of SNAME, did not attend. (vii)

About the construction of DEFENDER, the paper is at the same time revealing while adding more unanswered questions.
• Maguire never mentions Nat Herreshoff or the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co by name; referring in his comments only to “the builders”, “the manufacturers” and “the designers”. [I take this as a demonstration that Capt. Nat did not take kindly to the pushy sales engineer who had the ear of his most important customer.]
• Pittsburgh Reduction Co.’s nickel aluminum alloy is used; the decision having been made after a great deal of experimenting on the part of “the manufacturers”. Nickel alloy is 20-25% stronger than copper alloy. [Why do Capt. Nat’s records include only tests of aluminum-copper alloy?]
• The plates (31 ft long x 38½” wide) and angles are the largest ones of aluminum that had been rolled up to that time.
• To assure quality a sample was tested from every plate used in the construction.
• Maguire advised “the builders” to use aluminum rivets, but “the manufacturers” did not have time to thoroughly investigate the strength of these rivets so they chose to use bronze rivets. He argued against this, and advised (1) using an iron rivet to minimize galvanic action with the aluminum plates, or (2) coat the bronze rivets with white lead. This advice however “was not listened to”. [We do know that the aluminum rivets Nat tested had early failures, but we do not know why he chose bronze rivets.]
• He also advised that where the aluminum plates joined the bronze plates they place a strip of heavy flannel soaked in white lead between the plates. This was not done. [Why?]
• He revealed a number of uses of aluminum that had not been “known”. Examples: blocks were wood with aluminum sheaves; the binnacle was aluminum as was nearly all the plumbing and water closets.

The most controversial discussion of the paper had to do with his description of the details as to where aluminum was used, including many areas of high stress, and his claim that another 2-3 tons of aluminum would have been used if his company had the tooling to produce structural angles of different sizes. The U S Navy had closely followed the construction of DEFENDER and, Assistant Naval Constructor Richmond P. Hobson, challenged Maguire’s listings with specifics as to where steel was used in areas requiring strength. As Hobson summarized–

“This remarkable craft well, illustrates the true principle to be followed in the selection of materials. Aluminum is used for lightness, steel for strength, bronze for smoothness of surface.” (viii)

It would have been helpful if Capt. Nat had attended the paper and provided his comments. Since he did not, it is left to us to find the answers in his notes, design records and drawings.

John Palmieri

(i) The applications and experience are cited in Maguire’s 1895 SNAME paper (see below) as being extracted from “The Use of Aluminum in Marine Construction”; Dingler’s Polytechnic Journal, 1895. [Dingler’s Polytechnisches Journal was published in Germany over a period of 111 years between 1820 and 1931.]
(ii) The 1893 tests are recorded in NGH’s Notes and Memoranda Spring 1884- April 26, 1895. [Access courtesy Halsey C. Herreshoff] VIGILANT”S tests are discussed in Curator’s Log September 2011; Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup: Part Four- Bringing Bronze to the Cup.
(iii) Pittsburgh Reduction Co. [now ALCOA] dates from 1888; when Charles Martin Hall, a young inventor, came to Pittsburgh in search of financial backers to commercially develop his discovery of an inexpensive method of smelting aluminum. Ref: Aluminum’s Long History in Steel City. Joe Napsha; Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Sunday, March 5, 2006.
(iv) C. Oliver Iselin to NGH letters Jan.- Feb. 1895. NGH letter Archives. Herreshoff Marine Museum
(v) Capt. Nat’s aluminum tests and design records of DEFENDER (HMCo #452) including his detail weight estimates of the vessel (Data does show changes in aluminum usage that have not been fully analyzed.) are contained in Notes and Memoranda Spring 1884- April 26, 1895. They cover over three months from Jan. 8 to April 26, 1895. [Access courtesy of Halsey C. Herreshoff]
(vi) Aluminum: Its Alloys, and Their Use in Ship Construction; James C. Maguire, Esq., Associate Member & Civil Engineer. SNAME Transactions Vol. 3 1895; pgs. 69-97.
(vii) Based upon NGH’s cash account records he was in Bristol, RI on 6, 7 and 9 November.
(viii) Maguire, SNAME 1895


Winter Navigation and Seamanship Classes Offered at The Herreshoff Museum

Beginning January 3rd Herreshoff Museum Educator, Richard Feeny, will be teaching piloting and navigation classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 17 Burnside Street. This five-day ten-hour workshop will use Chapman Piloting and Seamanship as the primary textbook. Students will be taught the skills of plotting courses and bearings on provided charts with parallel rules and dividers also provided. Topics will include the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, latitude and longitude, nautical chart symbols, magnetic and true directions, tide and tidal currents. Classes meet from 6:30 - 8:30pm. Museum Members: $160, all others $190. 15% discount for two people in the same family. Space is limited to 10 students.

Class will run three times. Choose:
January 18, 19, 25, 26, February 1, 2
February 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23
February 29, March 1, 7, 8, 14, 15

Note: the sixth class is a makeup session
email Richard Feeny at [email protected] to register



As the temperatures drop and the daylight shortens here at the Museum, we are busy hauling floats and boats, winding down our waterfront and seasonal activities. We are also very busy working on plans and events for the 2012 calendar year, and next year promises to be a very exciting year at the Museum. To help realize these plans, I am very happy to announce that we have expanded our staff by hiring Elisabeth Lavers as our new Director of Development. We are very fortunate to have someone of Elisabeth's caliber onboard. I want to tell you about a major 2012 event Elisabeth and team are working on: I am pleased to announce that our next America's Cup Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on June 28, 2012, in Newport, RI, coincident with the AC45 races that will take place in Newport from June 23rd to July 1st. Save the date and stay tuned for more details.

-David Ford
Chairman of the Board


Looking for a reason to spend more time at the Museum? Fill your fall calendar with these upcoming events:

The annual Holiday Preview is on November 18th from 5 to 8pm. The shops and restaurants in town will be open late for strolling and shopping. Stop by our Museum store for special discounts. The preview also starts the Snowflake Raffle. Shoppers will be rewarded with raffle tickets making you eligible to win cash and prizes on December 18th. This is a great way to support our local business owners and non-profit Museums.

Bristol Residents Weekend is November 26th and 27th. We will be offering free admission to all Bristol residents. The weekends festivities will include guided tours and a 10% discount in the Museum gift shop. This is a must-do for any local family, yachting enthusiast, or historian. Come by and share your pride for our beautiful town and its amazing history.

Our Winter Lecture Series sponsored by Points East Magazine is taking shape. We are all very excited about our list of lectures which will be occuring once a month, on Thursday nights, in December through April. Our first lecture is on December 1. Doors will open at 6 and the lecture will begin at 7pm. Jed Pearsall and Bill Doyle will be discussing the accident, recovery and rebuild of AMORITA, a NY30. We are also excited to announce that Cisco Brewers from Nantucket will be present again this year providing refreshments. It is sure to be a sell-out. Stay tuned on our website for updates on the rest of our speakers.


ALERION III: The Builders

Ninety-nine years ago this month the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. recorded a contract with Capt. Nat Herreshoff to build the 26–foot overall ALERION (HMCo #718). He had carved the model that July, completing the design notes in September for “ALERION…Centreboard Cruising Knockabout for self and fit for Bermudian Waters”. Construction began early November and she was launched January 23rd the following year. Capt. Nat sailed, her mostly single-handed, for nearly a decade in Bermuda before returning her to Bristol.

ALERION is known for a beautiful shape and as a fast sailer. But just as iconic, is the considerable pride evidenced in the faces and demeanor of the men who built her. In this Nat Herreshoff Jr. photo, from left to right they are carpenters Ernest Alder, Charlie Sylvester, Henry Vincent, James Clarkson, and painter Willard Kenney. In the foreground the 8½-foot rowboat, partly planked, was to be stowed in ALERION’s cabin for shipment to Bermuda.

What do we know about these talented men?

We first find Ernest Alder in the payroll records of 1899 earning $2.25 per day as number 36 of 91 carpenters. At the time of the photo he is foreman of the small boat shop. Capt. Nat’s son Gid, who spent most of his time there after school, remembers Ernest as “my best friend in the shop”. In 1923 Ernest moved up to be head of all wood construction when Rufus Murray left for Nevins. This was just before the Haffenreffer family bought the company at auction and experienced men were leaving because of fears the company would close for good. At the 1985 Herreshoff Employees Reunion there were many who remembered him; Nat Gladding remembered that during the 1930s Depression, when jobs were few, Herreshoff was hiring to build RAINBOW. When Nat could not afford to complete his studies at Brown, Ernest kindly found him work as a helper. Following his Herreshoff years Ernest established the Warren Boatworks.

ALERION was the first boat that 16-year old Charlie Sylvester worked on at Herreshoff. In his career he built many of the company’s H12½s, dinghies and yacht tenders. There are a number of photos of Charlie in the company records: December 1914 he is sitting in ROBIN the first H12½ fully rigged in the North Construction Shop; in 1932 he is turning over the hull of the Northeast Harbor 30 TSANA; and these are just a few of the many photos of Charlie at work on small boats. (Charlie left the company for a brief period during the work drop-off in the early 1920s.) In 1940 he went to work for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, retiring in 1964. During that time he partly rebuilt ALERION for owner Ike Merriman. After retirement from the shipyard, Charlie taught Barry Thomas the method of dinghy construction used at Herreshoff. (See Building the Herreshoff Dinghy: The Manufacturers Method by Barry Thomas Mystic Seaport Museum. June 1977). Charlie died in 1983.

Henry Vincent is remembered as “an exceptionally fine workman”. He built the Herreshoff canoe that is in the Mystic Seaport Collection. In the 1920s he started a small yard of his own in Warren where he lost his life in a boat launching accident.

We have found no records of James Clarkson. Willard Kenney continued employment at Herreshoff during WWII.

To learn more about the legacy of ALERION and celebrate her centennial year plan on attending the 5th Classic Yacht Symposium at the Museum on Saturday April 21, 2012.

John Palmieri

ALERION Files (Including comments on the builders by L Francis Herreshoff. Gid Herreshoff, Clarence DeW Herreshoff and Charlie Sylvester). Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives
Maynard Bray and Carlton Pinheiro, Herreshoff of Bristol. Herreshoff Marine Museum. 2nd edition 2005.
Nat Gladding Reminisces. Herreshoff Marine Museum Chronicles. No. 14. Fall 1986
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff Design Record Book. Courtesy Halsey C. Herreshoff.


Since 1998 the Herreshoff Institute at the Museum has been teaching sailing and seamanship, and since 2009 we have been developing in-school and after school programs that teach history, math, science, technology, and business through the story of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and the materials in the Museum collections.

Recently Museum Educator Richard Feeny went to the US Naval Academy for a workshop about teaching math and science through sailing. The Herreshoff Marine Museum is a founding member of a national consortium of programs teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through sailing. The consortium was established to share curriculum ideas and best practices and promote similar programs throughout the country.

Speakers at this workshop included scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Oak Ridge Nuclear Laboratory, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, a professor of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering at the Unites States Naval Academy, e-learning experts, and several community sailing leaders with programs that work. A highlight of the workshop was a tour of the USNA Hydro Lab towing test tanks by Professor Paul Miller. He demonstrated a Navy 44 sailboat hull test, and showed us many models.

Sailing and boats constantly present problems which require the application of math and science. Aboard boats esoteric concepts are made clear and frequently require urgent attention. One speaker used the example of crossing a bay where its width puts one out of sight of land, the current is constantly changing, and she wanted to arrive at a certain place on the other side. Another speaker put it this way: Sailboats don’t sail directly into the wind. How do you get to somewhere upwind of your starting position? Simple machines and leadership development were common topics in all programs.

Here at the Herreshoff Museum we believe that manufacturing with knowledge will always be valuable and that we can teach students to work hard, work smart, and thus help to transform education in Rhode Island. We believe that our in-school and after school mentorship programs are part of the many pathways students can use to move into college and careers.



Hurricane Irene’s visit to the Herreshoff Marine Museum was a painful experience in many ways. Our Classic Regatta, the museum’s second most important fund raising event of the year, was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, August 27th and 28th. On Wednesday morning, while the storm was still over the Bahamas, the weather forecasts were unanimous in predicting that Irene would come ashore in our area, perhaps still at category 2 strength, right at high tide on Sunday evening, coinciding with a moon tide. Storm surge was predicted to be as high as 12 feet, which would put the water at or over Hope Street. The Executive Committee reluctantly made the only prudent decision possible: the regatta had to be canceled. Notice of the cancellation was immediately posted on our web site, and the office staff began calling all the expected participants to notify them. We successfully reached most entrants, although unfortunately some who were coming from as far away as Alaska and Europe did not learn of the cancellation before they departed for Rhode Island.

Immediately after the departure on Friday morning of the American Yacht Club’s fleet, which visited the museum as a part of its annual cruise, we began dismantling the waterfront. The tent came down. The floating docks were disassembled and the heavier ones towed to moorings and attached by special bridles that had been prepared long ago for just such an emergency. The lighter docks were pulled from the water and carried across Hope Street to places well above the predicted high water. For the first time ever the entire deck of the main pier was removed to protect it from the storm surge. The smaller boats were hauled and stored indoors. We had hoped to have KESTREL and LADY LUCK hauled, but could not get a commitment that they would come out of the water before the arrival of the storm. They were stripped of all sails and anything else that would increase windage and moved to heavier moorings where triple sets of bridles were attached in case the first ones failed. Contents of the dock house and anything else that was movable were transferred to safer places.

Thanks to the heroic efforts of museum staff and volunteers we successfully avoided any major damage to our facilities. Special thanks go to volunteers Jon Goff, our former Chief Operating Officer and his father Dr. Jim Goff, who, together with staff members John Cobb, Erik Lavers and Ian Calise, literally worked from dawn until dark on Friday to prepare the waterfront. All of the work was completed by the exhausted staff by the time the winds picked up on Saturday afternoon. Fortunately, Irene came ashore as a major tropical storm instead of as a hurricane, and arrived eight hours ahead of schedule at low tide instead of high tide. Nevertheless, we experienced sustained winds of 50 knots out of the south, where we are the most vulnerable, with gusts exceeding 60 knots for close to 24 hours. As a result, there was extensive damage in and around Bristol Harbor. Many boats broke free from their moorings (not ours) and wound up on the rocks around the harbor. Several docks and floats were destroyed by the rough waves. We and our neighbors lost power early Sunday morning and did not get it back until Thursday evening, forcing us to remain closed for most of the week.

Because of our extensive preparation, the Museum suffered only minor physical damage. Our main pier was visited by a 43 foot ketch that chafed through its mooring lines and banged up against it for most of the storm. We could only watch helplessly as the boat proceeded to destroy itself. The pier was more resilient, and the damage is repairable by museum staff. A week later the waterfront is back in operation and welcoming yachtsmen as before. Our financial damage was more significant. We had to bear all of the costs of preparing for the regatta without the benefits to be expected from the event, such as party revenues and increased store sales. The extra cost of storm preparation was substantial and we had no store or marina revenue during what is normally one of our busiest weeks. It is impossible to know the exact cost of the storm, but it is certainly well into five figures. We are extremely grateful to those of you who have allowed us to retain your regatta entrance and event fees to help allay these costs.

In assessing the storm and our responses, we can be proud of our early decision and storm preparation. Our docks would clearly not have survived the pounding if we left them in place, and obviously it would not have been possible to hold the regatta. One thing we can improve upon: by next time we need to have a backup generator so we can continue to function without out power from the grid.

Larry Lavers, Chief Operating Officer


Everyone seems to be recovering after a busy summer season. Warm days are giving way to cool nights but our little town is as beautiful as ever and locals and tourists alike continue to stroll the tree lined streets. We are looking forward to a lively fall with open Museum and shop hours, an upcoming lecture series, and another couple of months of good sailing. Stay with us as we flesh out details for the Winter Lecture Series sponsored by Points East Magazine. This is our second lecture series working with this great sponsor, and it's looking to be a fantastic line-up. And don't forget, our unique indoor event spaces are available year round. Visit our website for information about one-of-a-kind corporate meetings, company events, weddings and more.If you hope to visit soon, consider visiting by boat. We are booking reservations for our docks and mooorings through Columbus Day. Transient moorings and dock space are available for Museum guests free of charge (for up to 4 hours.) Call the office to confirm availability: 401.253.5000.


Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America’s Cup:
Part Four- Bringing Bronze to the Cup

Part 3 of this series noted Capt. Nat was the first to use bronze plating in the America’s Cup competition. The 1893 VIGILANT, his first Cup Defender, featured a bronze plated hull and a large weighted bronze centerboard. For this application he selected Tobin Bronze, a high-strength copper-tin-zinc alloy, patented in 1876 by LT John Alfred Tobin, USN.

John Tobin was born in Barrington, RI and served as an engineer in the US Navy from 1870 to 1890. He trained in steam engineering at the Boston Navy Yard and graduated from MIT in 1876; seven years after Capt Nat completed his MIT course of study. In 1880 Tobin was detailed by the Secretary of the Navy to Great Britain to obtain information and procure plans and specifications of the most modern warships. His report, Improvements in Naval Engineering in Great Britain, was considered so important that Congress authorized it to be published in 1883.

VIGILANT was steel framed with bronze plated topsides (except for a mild steel sheer strake) and underwater hull ranging in thickness from 3/16 to 5/16 inches. The plating was fastened to the frames with bronze rivets. The bronze gave a hard smooth surface and below the waterline, where it was left unpainted, resisted marine growth and corrosion. When periodically hauled, the crew was put over the side with mineral spirits and steel wool to burnish the plating.

Capt. Nat did his own material testing of the Tobin Bronze using a weight scale that he had modified to conduct pull tests of tensile specimens. (The machine is on display in the Museum’s Model Workshop.) He tested for ductility (% elongation), yield strength and ultimate straight at failure. To ensure that the results represented the as-built conditions his last tensile specimens were taken from 13 foot long finished Tobin Bronze plates ready for use in VIGILANT.

The US Navy was very interested in the potential use of bronze underwater hull plating and sent a naval constructor to Bristol to observe the work. Steel–hulled Navy ships were being docked every 6 months to remove fouling and apply new preservation. The only fix at the time was the added expense and weight of sheathing the steel with copper.

VIGILANT was not without some problems.

• The original design specified inside lead ballast in a trough of the keel. The boat proved tender in initial trials; the inside lead was removed and recast in pieces that were bolted under the keel plate.

• The hollow bronze centerboard had a tendency to jam at the wrong times. It was ballasted with lead and filled with broken coke and cement slurry. Weighing almost 8,000 lbs., a geared special-design Yale & Towne winch was required to haul the chain. The chain had to be paid out only as fast as board would take it otherwise board and chain jammed in the slot.

All in all VIGILANT was a true winner; none of the other Great Ninety-Footers had as successful a career after their Cup defenses. In commission for 11 seasons after defeating VALKYRIE for the Cup, VIGILANT, under five owners, started 89 races and won 36.

VIGILANT was broken up in New London in 1910.

John Palmieri

Biography Lt John Albert Tobin, History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations: Biographical. The American Historical Society. New York 1920.
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff Design Record Books. Courtesy Halsey C. Herreshoff.
Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. VIGILANT drawings. Courtesy Hart Nautical Collection. MIT Museum.
Hal Stacey, In the Beginning. Welding Journal, American Welding Society, Miami, Florida. Vol 73 June, 1994.
W. P. Stephens, Traditions and Memories of American Yachting. International Marine Publishing Co. Camden, ME. 1981.
William Upham Swan, The Fate of the Cup Defenders. Yachting. March 1936.
John A. Tobin, Improvements in Naval Engineering in Great Britain. US Navy. 1893. https://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924030900843#page/n213/mode/2up
VIGILANT Files; Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives
VIGILANT and the Navy: U.S. Government May Experiment with a Tobin Bronze Cutter. Providence Evening Bulletin, Sept. 19, 1893.


Another summer of fantastic sailing weather is drawing to a close but the memories of sunny days and sailing with our friends will last a lifetime. Our matched pair of gaff rigged 12-1/2s, B.H. EMPRESS, and BONITA sailed many miles. Thank you to our instructors Chelsea Silva, Ian Calise, Luke Rein, and Liz Teitz for teaching thoughtfully and carefully, and for guiding junior instructors Jeff MacDonough, Victoria Brandley, and Marta Calise.

Over sixty students took lessons at the Herreshoff Institute this summer, and again over 300 people came aboard KESTREL. Highlights of the summer include sailing BLUEFISH, our Fish class, LADY LUCK, the recently donated S class, and overnight cruises on KESTREL. Overnight sailing trips were part of a larger initiative to teach safety-at-sea and seamanship.

We received a grant from the Bonnell Cove Foundation to support the training of students in offshore safety techniques. We used some of the funds to purchase safety harnesses for KESTREL, so all crew are clipped in to jack lines when outside Narragansett Bay. We used some of the funds to send students to the Storm Trysail Foundation’s Safety at Sea Seminar in Newport August 17th. Four of our students went, and said it was a fantastic experience with lots of hands on practice.

This month we begin our after school program in the boatshop. Tuesdays are for high school students, and Wednesdays are for middle school students. This program is made possible by a grant from the Collectors Foundation. POOKA will receive new coamings from a massive piece of white oak (Quercus alba), an outstanding tree among all trees. We drove to the Connecticut hills to buy this oak from New England Naval Timbers. Come help us turn it into varnished coamings.

We are offering a number of lessons to schools this year. These in-school programs correspond with state curriculum standards to teach math, science, and social studies to students, with Herreshoff flair.

JULY 2011


84 years after her keel was laid KESTREL slipped into Watch Hill cove just ahead of the rain. Watch Hill Yacht Club was just the sort of place for us and KESTREL, a 1927 Herreshoff Fishers Island 31 donated to the Herreshoff Marine Museum in 2009 for educational purposes. Very original, after being rebuilt and tastefully modernized by donor Geoff Davis, she tells the story of the Museum easily: Herreshoff yachts are fast, comfortable, beautiful, and can be easy to sail. Here is a boat that inspires people to take care of her decade after decade. As the donor puts it: "these boats possess us, we don't possess them".

We were on our way to the WoodenBoat show at Mystic Seaport with a youth crew of 11 and 12 year olds. Our cruise was planned as a three day, two night training voyage teaching seamanship skills, safety, and navigation. We left Bristol on a Tuesday afternoon, and sailed to Newport while we did safety training and gear inventory - safety harnesses are added to the life-jackets everybody is already wearing. The log reads: "I thought the first trip from Bristol - Newport was amazing...current behind us. We were flying..." The youth crew seem to enjoy their harnesses and test them by leaning backwards over the leeward wake while clipped to windward. The jacklines are convincing, but the clips in inexperienced hands look like they are going to play havoc on the varnish! Mind the varnish is the mantra of this boat.

The next day, after bowls of cheerios and blueberries, out we go, onto the ocean blue. Our calculated time of favorable current at Pt. Judith is 11:08. So we use the iron jib to glide over a glassy ocean for a couple of hours. We keep our eyes peeled for sharks, whales, mermaids, dolphins, turtles, and traffic. Alas, apart from avoiding one or two lobster boats, we see no wildlife.

Blissful peace and quiet envelops us when we shut off the engine. The current rushes us through Watch Hill Passage, just beneath the conspicuous Ocean House hotel. We sail as far as we can before motoring up the long, narrow channel to Watch Hill Harbor. The youth crew enjoy watching the GPS and telling us how shallow it is just off to either side as we feel our way between the bouys. In Watch Hill, while the Herreshoff designed and built Watch Hill 15 class races between squalls we prepare our dinner of spaghetti and meatballs with a good deal of laughter. We step ashore between showers for ice cream followed by ghost stories under the cockpit tent cover. Finally we read the kids to sleep with a chapter from Swallows and Amazons.

-Richard Feeny
Sailing Master and Director of Museum Education

The sail training vessel KESTREL is the traveling good-will ambassador of the Herreshoff Marine Museum, and is used to teach seamanship, safety, and navigation. She is also available for classic racing and pleasure charters. Learn More about the Herreshoff Institute Education Programs.


Summer at the Museum is well underway with a string of beautiful days and some great sailing. Rainy June has made way for our hot July days and many people are seeking the comfort of our southerly breeze. The Museum continues to be busy as we greet visitors from all over the world to share in the traditions of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company.

The more boats we watch come into our harbor the more we plan for our annual regatta, an extraordinary weekend of events and racing. Registration for the Herreshoff Classic Regatta is officially open and we are planning our myriad of activities from races to the clamboil - all sure to be festive, full of familiar faces and new enthusiasts, and beautiful fast boats. The Herreshoff Classic Regatta is August 26th to the 28th.  Visit our Facebook page to share your Herreshoff Classic Regatta stories and catch some of our enthusiasm for the summer's upcoming event.


Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America's Cup
Part Three- 1893: A Banner Year for Big Cutters

This is the third of a series of short papers about Nat Herreshoff and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company's involvement in the America's Cup.

The revolution in yacht design started by Capt. Nat in 1891 with GLORIANA and the fin-keeler DILEMMA quickly influenced new designs, creating a surge in construction of large 84-87 foot waterline cutters in both England and the United States. Nine were built in the winter of 1892- 1893. In England were the George Watson designed BRITANNIA and VALKYRIE II, William Fife's CALLUNA and J. M. Soper's SATANITA. In the USA, John Paine's JUBILEE, PILGRIM designed by Stewart and Binney (the successors to Edward Burgess) and the Nat Herreshoff designed NAVAHOE, COLONIA and VIGILANT. All the American boats except NAVAHOE were built to defend the Cup against a challenge from VALKYRIE II.

It is a good measure of the organizational and technical prowess of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. that they were able to design and build three large unique cutters in a period of about eight months.

The depth at the Herreshoff launch ways limited COLONIA and VIGILANT to drafts of about 13 feet. COLONIA was a steel hulled keel boat, while VIGILANT was a keel centerboarder with a large weighted bronze centerboard and (an America's Cup first) a bronze plated hull. VIGILANT, with 2½ feet greater beam and 22-foot draft with the centerboard down, was the better boat, carrying sail well with little leeway.

JUBILEE and PILGRIM were both fin-keelers. JUBILEE had a shallow bow centerboard to adjust balance. PILGRIM featured an extreme bulb. In the Defender trials both experienced multiple breakdowns in strong winds and proved slow in light winds because of their greater wetted surface areas.

COLONIA won first race between the four trial boats. Capt. Nat then took the helm of VIGILANT and proved her to be the better boat through the summer trials.

It must be acknowledged that VIGILANT did have one not-so-secret advantage: crew size. At the time there were no limits on crew size. VIGILANT with a crew of 70 (vs. 40 for the others) was able to put 4½ tons of flesh and blood on the weather rail.

John Palmieri


L. Francis Herreshoff, Captain Nat Herreshoff: The Wizard of Bristol. Sheridan House. New York. 1953
L. Francis Herreshoff, Introduction to Yachting. Sheridan House. New York.1963
W. P. Stephens, Traditions and Memories of American Yachting. International Marine Publishing Co. Camden, ME. 1981
VIGILANT Files; Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives

Read more about the Rebecca Chase Herreshoff Library at the Herreshoff Marine Museum


The Museum welcomed the crew of The Rozalia Project to our docks this past week. We were delighted to meet the staff and learn more about the project's mission picking up marine debris along the northeast coast. The project uses a high tech robot (ROV) that scans the ocean floor searching for material and uses it's claw to gather trash. The project is inspiring as is their passionate crew. They found an original Herreshoff anchor on the Harbor floor at our main dock. Our curator, John Palmieri, comments on the discovery:

"The anchor found underwater wedged into marine railway ties is a 7½ lb. Herreshoff Bronze 3-piece folding stockless anchor provided as standard equipment on the H12½. If it was lodged in a manner that it did not restrict the operation of the marine railway it could have been lost anytime since 1914. More likely it was lost after the marine railway stopped operation following WWII. We will clean it up and provide as outfit to HEFFALUMP in the Hall of Boats."

JUNE 2011



That is how one guest described the Museum's Grand 40th Gala, held on June 4th- A beautiful evening in a perfect setting.

Not only was the Gala the first black-tie event held by the Museum on our waterfront in recent years, it was an opportunity for old and new friends to gather and commemorate the establishment of the Museum in 1971. We also celebrated the opportunity to kick off the next forty years educating and inspiring the public.

The event raised $130,000 in support of the Museum, including more than twenty thousand dollars generated to match challenge grants in support of the Museum's educational mission.

Our thanks go to all who attended and especially to Louis Vuitton Malletier for their patronage; to our event sponsors; and to all those who generously donated special auction items. Of course, we extend our deepest gratitude to those who purchased tables or auction items and contributed to the Herreshoff Challenge.

Finally, I hope all members of the Museum will join me in extending our thanks to Gala co-chairs Elizabeth Granoff and Elisabeth Lavers and their committee for their leadership, their tremendous efforts, and their belief in the future of our Museum.

Wm. H. Dyer Jones

Visit Our Photographer's Website to View an Online Gallery of the Event

**Click on Herreshoff Museum in the left tab.
Our event password is: Bristol, RI

**Note: You need to enter the password exactly as it appears above, Bristol, RI


Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America's Cup:
Part Two- GLORIANA: A Risk Worth Taking

This is the second of a series of short papers about Nat Herreshoff and the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company's involvement in the America's Cup. The first was published in the March issue of The Current.

The 1891 46-footer GLORIANA is recognized as having revolutionized yachting design; earning Capt. Nat a place at the head of his profession and leading to his selection to design future Cup defenders. The story is well told in Carlton Pinheiro's GLORIANA- Alone in Her Class, archived in the 1991 Chronicles under the Library page of the museum website.

We look at the form of GLORIANA, with the hindsight of an undefeated first season, and think of course she would prevail; but that was far from evident in the early days of 1891. By choosing to design and build GLORIANA the Herreshoffs accepted significant business and technical risks.

· There was business risk

     o They were very successful in the steam vessel business with a good order book employing a steady workforce of 105 men. The demands of building a revolutionary sail design that represented only 11% of the order book jeopardized their success in the steam market.

     o The return to sail created high expectations for success. A resounding defeat would be devastating. Quoting a news article- "There is no doubt that a 46 designed and built by the Herreshoffs would stir up lots of interest. For many years the Herreshoffs were the fastest in this country, their success continued until the firm practically withdrew from the building of sail yachts."

· There was technical risk

     o It had been 24 years since they had last designed and built a large racing yacht approaching 46 feet. [SADIE an 1867, 47-foot waterline schooner "a very fast boat in her time" was built from a model by John Brown Herreshoff with a sail plan by Nat.] 

     o They were competing with the best designers of the day. There were five John Burgess designs and one each from Frank Paine, William Fife, and H. C. Wintringham.

     o Generally the design community sided against Nat. Quoting a news article- "Designer Gardner said today that he preferred Mr. Burgess' 46 footers to that of the Herreshoffs' saying his idea of form agrees with Mr. Burgess. He could not of course predict what the Herreshoff boat will do."
     o The design offered many challenges

- A new hull form adopted from the smaller PELICAN and GANNET of 1890 and 8 feet longer on deck than the competitors [52% overhang vs. 35%).

- Composite hull construction

- A new engineered rig

GLORIANA: A Risk Worth Taking? Yes on all accounts. Over the next ten years, four successful America's Cup defenses and a tripling of the workforce with profits to match.

John Palmieri

GLORIANA Scrapbook (Quotes from the Boston Daily Globe and Sunday Globe of March 1891); Herreshoff Marine Museum Archives


By Dan Shea, Proprietor

John Palmieri, Curator

The NGH half-model collection is a wonder to study and admire, but it truly comes alive in the inspired hands and words of a gifted boatbuilder like Dan Shea.

Half-model #204 and Building "INTENT":

The purpose of this article is to acquaint you with just one of the many important half-models in the HMM model room. This particular model is ascribed number "204" in the guide to the collection and technically noted by N. G. Herreshoff and Sidney DeWolf Herreshoff on the back. The seasoned pine form is recognizable by her overall small craft proportions and defined with a stout stem profile, hollow entrance, able mid-sections, tight turn of garboard and slight counter stern. An eye from stem or stern shows gently flowing buttocks that will smarten up to a big breeze or zephyr with equanimity.

The model's subtle perfection caught my eye. I needed to know more. Learning that the lines had never been brought to the water in full scale was just not right. The lines were just too irresistible not to want to wrap them in sweet cedar strakes. In accord with my boat building trade ambitions I am now building the first boat to be built from the full lines of this model.

From a general historical observation, the creation of model 204 was much like other models carved by NGH before this day in 1929. His "Love Rocks" model shop was "fitted up" to be able to "turn to" at anytime. He was surrounded by the forms and tools that had many years prior secured a legacy of superior achievement. Achievement of the sort only a handful of personages leave to the generations every century. Once again in this inspirational setting his hands set about to create from a block of pine an exacting form of water born beauty. His thought was to refine the twelve and a half - Buzzards Bay Boys Boat mindful of the wonders of a good day sailor.

Apart from the history, I feel the lines speak of more than what meets the eye or lies in the documentation. Perhaps some conjecture on the model's creation is in order. Here is my take:

The instance of this model room sitting was not driven by a new design commission from a syndicate or magnate. Gone from the first push of the plane were thoughts of commercial machinations and personalities. More weighty thoughts were in the offing. In preparation each stroke of blade to wet-stone honed a realization that this long in the making task will be done but once. Each cut into the resin rich pine to be a resolute reminder of every pitch and roll to be accounted for. A whiff of tight grain gone from here and there guided by a visceral balance of art, science and life.

With this feel for the lines I entered into the construction of this boat. Handcrafting and setting plank to exacting model measurements has been the gravest responsibility of all my trade work. When launched she will be as penned by Nat a "pleasure sailing keel boat", and it will have been my pleasure to build her.

P.S. More importantly; kind thanks to you for taking the time to read this page in The Current and being part of the Museum community. That's what's important.

To read more about the H-20 and the Bristol Boat Company visit their website


Many of you know that KESTREL, the Fishers Island 31 donated by Geoff Davis, is available for charter when she is not being used for education and seamanship training. This year, in partnership with the Vintage Yachting Club and Oakcliff Sailing Center, we are honored to offer access to The Herreshoff Collection Classic Charter Fleet. This is a group of historically significant, high pedigree, classic sailing vessels widely considered to be the best performing sailboats ever designed. Chartering any of these yachts is sure to be an enjoyable outing for you and your friends, and also supports the custodianship of these remarkable vessels.

Initially comprised of eleven boats and yachts from six famed Herreshoff one-design classes including 12 ½, Fish Class, two S-Class, one Newport 29, one New York 30 and one Fishers Island 31, this is an unprecedented charter offering. For more details and to request a brochure e-mail Richard Feeny at [email protected]

MAY 2011


Fast Forward

The Museum's Grand 40th Gala on June 4th is fast approaching. If you do not yet have a reservation for this very special evening in celebration of the Museum's anniversary, you should make one today. Click here to visit our website for more information, or call us at 401.253.5000 to make your reservation.

The Gala Committee, led by Elizabeth Granoff and Elisabeth Lavers, has worked hard to prepare an evening you and your guests will enjoy and remember. To announce and commemorate the patronage of Louis Vuitton Malletier for the Gala, we will be flying their burgee from the mast.

I am also delighted to announce two appointments to the staff of this Museum:
Lydia Bergeron has joined us as our Chief Financial Officer and is in charge of our accounting office and preparation for our annual audits. Her appointment is effective immediately. Formerly, Lydia served as the VP of Finance and performed general management duties for a marine-related, educational, nonprofit organization in Rhode Island.

The second is to announce that Larry Lavers, the current President and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Museum has agreed to become the Chief Operating Officer effective on August 8th. A businessman who retired to Bristol seven years ago, Larry has been volunteering in this capacity on an interim basis in recent months.

Both of these individuals bring great strength to the management of your Museum and all of us welcome their experience and expertise.

Finally, the Museum opened for 2011 to a big crowd at the Annual Members Meeting on April 29th, and as our boats are launched, I wish all of you "Fair Winds and Following Seas" for the season.

Dyer Jones, Chief Executive Officer


The Herreshoff Marine Museum is proud to announce, in partnership with our friends at Points East Magazine, a weekend rendezvous on the Museum's waterfront for the 2011 Independence Day Celebrations from July 1 - 4, 2011.

Enjoy three days and nights of celebrations and activities including a cocktail party, catered dinner, live music, fireworks, and the legendary Bristol Fourth of July Parade, for which you'll have a front row seat!

While we have already sold out on our dockage and mooring, there is excellent anchorage nearby. Tickets are $100 per person for pass to all events, open to everyone coming by land or sea.

To register online, click here. Don't forget to visit our Facebook page for regular updates!



So read the headline in the Saturday July 28, 1894 Providence Journal reporting a New York interview the previous day of "Mr. N. G., better known internationally as 'Nat' Herreshoff". The occasion was his return aboard a White Star Liner after participating in VIGILANT's races in British waters against the Prince of Wales BRITANNIA. Since VIGILANT won the America's Cup in 1893 there had been several fake interviews that were emphatically denied by Nat Herreshoff, but this was judged real because for once "...(Nat) gave the reporter enough monosyllabic answers to warrant publication".

The Journal reporter, obviously experienced at attempting to interview Nat, noted, "...no more unsatisfactory subject was ever attacked by ubiquitous pencil pushers. His forte is designing, building and sailing cup winners... On general principles he objects to conversations with strangers, but is particularly adverse to discussing affairs that he considers his own..." He went on to write that the interview is interesting to the average reader "... as a striking illustration of how little a man can say on a timely subject on which he is exceptionally well-posted should he be so disposed."

Reporters had met the ship in Quarantine and gained promise of an interview the next day. They were after his opinion on the work of Jay Gould's VIGILANT. She had been bested by BRITANNIA in 12 of 17 races. With Nat standing beside his trunks being probed by customs, the interview went like this.

(Q) What about VIGILANT's work in Britain?

(A) I believe VIGILANT to be the better boat and she will win in the end. Sailing under decent conditions in the last five races she won three. At first we were handicapped by hardly any wind, bad sails, a green crew, and unfamiliarity with the short leg courses. The crew is getting trained and "give VIGILANT a breeze she will beat her English rival every time".

(Q) There was talk of the losses being the fault of the pilots.

(A) I don't know anything about that.

(Q) You are the first man who has come to this side who is really able to express a scientific opinion of the races. Will you not make a statement of your opinion?

(A) I have no opinion.

(Q) Was there much enthusiasm over there regarding the races?

(A) I did not notice.

(Q) What is the opinion of the English experts regarding the respective boats?

(A) I don't know, in fact you know more over here than I do.

(Q) Did the Gould's succeed in securing a foothold in English society?

(A) That is the most absurd question I have ever heard.

With that Nat jumped into his carriage alone and drove away.

- John Palmieri, Curator


The CLARA Trilogy, Classic Yacht Symposium 2005. Herreshoff Marine Museum.

Nathanael G. Herreshoff, Recollections. Herreshoff Marine Museum.1998

Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, William Picard Stephens; annotated by John W. Streeter, Their Last Letters. Herreshoff Marine Museum.1988


Sign up now for summer sailing classes. Our after-school program wrapped up earlier this spring, and we are putting the finishing touches on the 12-1/2 fleet. Swallow, Frolic, BH Empress, Zephyr, and Bonita will be launched for sailing classes. In addition, Bluefish, and Lady Luck will be ready by the end of May. Kestrel is now ready and available for charter.

Sailing Classes - We have youth sailing, adult sailing, family sailing, and big boat sailing. If you don't see what you are looking for please call Richard at (401) 253-5000 and we will put together a custom package for you.

Students 8-17 years old can choose morning or afternoon classes, and will be grouped according to ability. Please specify which level you expect to be: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced.

Class dates and times:

Session I - June 27 - July 22

Session II - July 25 - August 19

Monday - Friday

Choose 9:00am-12:00 OR 1:00pm-4:00


Hard bottom inflatable motorboat - 13-17 feet.
Bronze winches size 40-42. Self tailing or not. Must work.

For more information about any of our educational programs, please contact
Richard Feeny at [email protected]

March, 2011


Moving my clocks ahead this weekend reminded me that we're getting closer and closer to opening day here at the Herreshoff Marine Museum. During this offseason, we have offered additional opportunities for our friends and members to stay in touch with us, through our expanded lecture series and our monthly newsletter. In addition, coming up at the end of April, our Annual Members Meeting gives you even more access, as we invite all current Museum members to join us for an update on our activities, the chance to vote on our new board members, and some time to spend mingling with the board and other members. This year, to encourage even greater participation, we're holding the event on Friday, April 29, at 6:30 PM. A brief meeting will be followed by a social hour, and the opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas with our board of directors.

Looking ahead further, the Grand 40 Gala on June 4 is already two-thirds subscribed, and we are honored to have Chubb & Son, US Trust, and Barrett and Company joining us as corporate partners. Special thanks are due to the Gala committee, headed by Elizabeth Granoff and Elisabeth Lavers, for their unrelenting efforts to make the event a success.

In July, our friends at Points East Magazine and Cisco Brewers of Nantucket will help us to present an Independence Weekend Rendezvous filled with music, fireworks, social activities, and the oldest Fourth of July parade in America. Email us at [email protected] to learn more.

Thank you all for your support.

Jonathan Goff, Chief Operating Officer


We are honored to present legendary author/sailor John Rousmaniere at our lecture on March 24, presenting "The Golden Pastime: Icons of Classic Yachting", in partnership with Points East Magazine and with the support of our friends at Cisco Brewers of Nantucket.

John has written 28 historical or instructional books and hundreds of articles about boats and other topics. His books include The Golden Pastime: A New History of Yachting; Fastnet, Force 10, about the deadly 1979 Fastnet Race storm (in which he sailed); After the Storm; In a Class by Herself (about the classic yawl Bolero); and histories of the America's Cup, the Newport Bermuda Race, and the New York, Fishers Island, and Shelter Island Yacht Clubs. He edited Olin Stephens' autobiography, All This and Sailing, Too, and has written the scripts of several of Gary Jobson's shows.

John has sailed more than 40,000 miles since he started sailing at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, and he regularly speaks about safety at sea and seamanship and is writing the 4th edition of his sailing manual, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship. He is a member of the America's Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, and US Sailing's Safety-at-Sea Committee, where he coordinates the Hanson Rescue Medal program.

Join us at 7:00 PM for an extraordinary evening. Admission is free for Museum members; $5 for all others. For more info, or to RSVP, visit our Facebook page or email us at [email protected]


Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and the America's Cup:
Part One - A Sail on the Bay is a First Step to the Cup

Capt. Nat designed his first America's Cup winner in 1892, but his preparations for this task started much earlier. In the 1870s and 80s he concentrated on marine steam plant engineering and steam yacht design, but not entirely. In 1882 he designed for himself his first deep-hulled sailing yacht, the 28 foot 6 inch waterline cat yawl CONSUELO. Similar in hull shape to a plumb-bowed English cutter, CONSUELO was followed in 1887 by CLARA, also a plumb-bowed cat yawl, but slightly larger (29 foot 6 inch), with an improved underwater body (the restored CLARA is on display in the Museum's Hall of Boats). Both were fast sailers and had advanced features for the day; 100% outside lead ballast secured by both keel bolts and external straps, double planked hulls, bronze screws throughout, iron hanging knees and specially designed windlass and steering gear.

In 1890 Edward D. Morgan, a prominent member of the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) was building a new residence in Benton's Cove where he kept several sail and steam yachts including the 1886 48-foot Herreshoff steam launch HENRIETTA. The two became acquainted and late that summer Mr. Morgan visited Bristol in his Edward Burgess (reigning America's Cup designer) designed 40-foot racing sloop MOCCASIN, sailing back down the Bay aboard CLARA. As Capt. Nat later described the visit and subsequent sail; "He took the wheel and he was astonished the way we (i.e. the 29-foot CLARA) held to his 40-footer in beating to windward."

"Astonished" not only with the performance of CLARA, but also with Nat's ideas on how he could improve on her performance, Morgan ordered two new Herreshoff cat yawls; a 26 foot 6 inch waterline PELICAN for himself and a 29 foot 6 inch waterline GANNET for his brother-in-law. They were built from the same molds, but with different frame spacing and as Capt. Nat later wrote in Recollections, "These were the first I had designed with an overhanging bow and I was so impressed with the advantages, I used the principle in the extreme in designing GLORIANA the following year."

Overhanging bow GANNET HMCo 409 Courtesy of Hart Nautical Collections MIT Museum

The summer sail in CLARA cemented a bond of friendship and mutual respect between the two that strengthened as E. D. Morgan became Vice Commodore of the NYYC in 1891 and Commodore in 1893, and formed the syndicate to build the Herreshoff's first America's Cup winner VIGILANT.

John Palmieri

The CLARA Trilogy, Classic Yacht Symposium 2005. Herreshoff Marine Museum.
Nathanael G. Herreshoff, Recollections. Herreshoff Marine Museum.1998
Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, William Picard Stephens; annotated by John W. Streeter, Their Last Letters. Herreshoff Marine Museum.1988


There is still time to enroll in evening Navigation Classes at the Museum, beginning Monday, March 14. Contact Richard Feeny for details at
[email protected].

Beginning April 19th, the USCG Auxiliary will be teaching their Boating Skills & Seamanship Course here on Tuesday evenings. Register with Richard at
[email protected].

Summer Sailing Class registration is open now.
CLICK HERE for more information

February, 2011


Dear Friends of the Herreshoff Marine Museum:

At the end of January, the HMM board approved a very strategic and important partnership agreement with Mystic Seaport. The unanimous approvals by the boards of both HMM and Mystic Seaport demonstrate the wide support for the partnership at both organizations. This partnership has been deemed an Affiliation.

So what is an Affiliation? How will it affect our Museum? In this and subsequent issues, I will explore how this Affiliation will evolve and benefit the Museum, its members, and supporters.

At the foundation of the Affiliation is the wide overlap in missions between the two organizations. This overlapping purpose is to educate and inspire the public through the preservation and interpretation of American maritime history. The collections of the two organizations represent the finest and most extensive representation of the many different periods and facets of the long and varied maritime history of this great country, from the earliest settlers to the next America’s Cup.

OK, sounds good on paper, but how will this change what we do at the Museum? One of HMM’s greatest challenges has been telling our story externally, beyond the confines of our Bristol campus. In fact, some would claim that our Museum is somewhat of a secret - yes, some have said they have driven right by the Museum without even noticing.

Our new Affiliation with Mystic Seaport brings the ability to tell our compelling story outside of our walls by developing external exhibits that would travel to locations near and far. One exhibit under discussion would tell the wonderful story of AMARYLLIS, Captain Nat's revolutionary catamaran design of 1876. I can't think of a more timely exhibit, given the direct lineage between AMARYLLIS and the giant multihulls of America’s Cup 34. A second exhibit could incorporate the display of a Herreshoff vessel at Providence’s TF Green Airport. I'm hopeful and confident that Newport will be selected as a major America’s Cup trials site, and that visitors will be coming from all over the world via TF Green for these races, in addition to travelers those coming to visit the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America’s Cup Hall of Fame and Mystic Seaport.

These discussions are still in early stages and may change, but I wanted to give you an idea of how our weeks old Affiliation is already changing the way we think and operate. I welcome and encourage you to send me your thoughts, suggestions or questions about our Affiliation and how we can make the most of this new partnership.

Until next time,
Dave Ford, Chairman


Last month, we announced our Grand 40 Gala to be held on June 4, a black-tie optional dinner, dance, and live auction celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the Herreshoff Marine Museum. Only a few short weeks later, we are thrilled to say that nearly two-thirds of the tables have already been sold, and we have received sponsorship commitments from Chubb & Son as well as US Trust. Please click on the image below for more information about the event, and to reserve your table now! Your support allows us to continue our ongoing mission of education and inspiration.

* * * * * * * * * *

For those of you already tired of winter and thinking about all the spring boating projects waiting to be done, we have the ideal evening out for you. In partnership with our friends at Points East, and kicking off our winter presentation series, we welcome you to join us at “Ask the Experts” night, on Thursday, February 24 at 7:00 PM.

We've brought together a group of specialists on every phase of boat maintenance - sails, rigging, electrical, plumbing, engines, paint, etc. to get you started on the right path. Ben Hall of Hall Spars, Henry Little of North Sails, Paul Dow of New England Boatworks, Dennis Klodner of DePaul Diesel, Mike Moriarty of IMTRA, and Brian Gustafson of New England Tech will be here to address your inquiries and provide information. So bring all your questions, and enjoy free refreshments courtesy of Cisco Brewers. As always, admission is free for Museum members, and $5 for all others.

For more information about this event, visit https://www.herreshoff.org/programs/lecture_series.html
or the event's Facebook page here.

We lok forward to seeing you!

 - Sara Watson, Director of Institutional Advancement


What Goes Around Comes Around

The press has been filled with exciting yacht racing news for Rhode Island. First, the State and the boating community are working hard to host an America’s Cup World Series event in Newport featuring the new 70-foot catamarans. And just last week came the announcement that three J boats will race off Fort Adams this June in the J Boat Newport Regatta. 

Both events evidence the yachting world’s agreement with what Captain Nat Herreshoff wrote some 76 years ago; “Rhode Island is favored by containing one of the best sheets of water to be found for pleasure sailing and it is not to be wondered… that it was probably the first section in our country to develop pleasure boat racing.”

While I am on the subject of Capt. Nat there is certainly a strong connection between his genius and creations of the past and the recent events. 

The first racing catamarans to grace Narragansett Bay were designed by Capt. Nat starting in 1875. His first, AMARYLLIS, went on to beat all-comers in New York’s 1876 Centennial Regatta. 

Fast forward to the 1890s and the early 1900s; the first America’s Cup boats to be built and sailed on the Bay were his designs. Great 90-Footers carrying an expanse of sails as much as twice that of the later J boats and with numerous innovations including the first use of new hull materials - bronze and aluminum. The Cup races were held off Sandy Hook New York, but the 3-4 month long work ups and some competitions to select the American defender were held off Newport in Rhode Island Sound. 

While dominating the Great 90-Footers era of the Cup, Capt. Nat was not pleased with the drive to light displacement scows or “skimming dishes” under the Seawanhaka Rule and determined to establish a new rule that would encourage more wholesome boats of heavier displacement. The Universal Rule, first proposed by him in 1900, and adopted in 1903, is the rule under which the J boats of the 1920s and 30s were designed.

Thank you, Capt. Nat, for leading the way. Let the races begin.

- John Palmieri, Curator

Herreshoff Marine Museum Catamaran Archives
SNAME Transactions 1935; NGH Comments to Spring Meeting May 28, 1935 Paper “Yacht Measurement” by W. P. Stephens
The Universal Rule and the America’s Cup, John J. Palmieri, Curator Herreshoff Marine Museum/America’s Cup Hall of Fame


In celebrating the Museum’s 40th anniversary, we are pleased to present several new, exciting options for enrollment in the Herreshoff Institute Seamanship Program. Our mission is to teach safety, seamanship, and the principles of sailing, with the goal of promoting responsibility, accountability, and self-reliance both on and off the water. We will expand our focus this year with programs dedicated to safety at sea and near-coastal cruising as well.

As always, we are offering daytime youth sessions for advanced, intermediate, and beginner students, aboard the historic Herreshoff 12 ½s, Fish Class sloop, S boat, and the Fishers Island 31 KESTREL; evening adult sessions will utilize the same fleet. In addition, we will now present family sailing classes and private lessons. Youth programs will be presented in two different sessions, both with the option of morning or afternoon classes.

Youth programs this season will also include a Junior Instructor Training Class, opportunity for high school aged students to participate in the Ida Lewis Distance Race, and other special offerings such as sessions on the LADY MARYLAND (a 104’ schooner in the Living Classrooms educational fleet), AMERICAN PROMISE (flagship of the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean), and other special visitors.

Please click here for more information or to register now.

- Richard Feeny, Sailing Master and Director of Program

January, 2011


As we emerge from the holiday season and into the snows of winter, great excitement is building for the Museum’s fortieth season. In 1971, Sidney and Becky Herreshoff were contacted by the estate representative of Mr. Daniel A. Newhall, informing them that Mr. Newhall had bequeathed the 1905 Herreshoff motorlaunch Thania to the “Herreshoff Marine Museum”. A problem existed in that there was no such institution currently in existence. Mr. Newhall’s attorney made a suggestion: that they form the Herreshoff Marine Museum in order to accept this extraordinary donation and preserve it for future generations. This fairly simple act set in motion a series of events that has created an institution of internationally respected standing.

This past fall, we began to prepare to enter our fifth decade by re-focusing on our core values of education and inspiration, and providing new opportunities for engagement of both youth and adults. The Museum’s new navigation and seamanship courses, the youth mentorship program in classic boat repair, renewed exhibitions, a new lecture series, and the new monthly newsletter are programs developed to expand and engage our audience and provide value to our members. These programs are initiatives that help move the Museum beyond being more than a static collection of objects and toward our goal of being a fully interactive environment of experiential learning.

Initiatives such as these are only enabled by fundraising successes. We are grateful for the strong showing of support at the end of 2010, and it is my hope that this trend continues into and through 2011, to help us realize all of our plans. I thank each of you that have contributed to the Annual Fund, and invite those that have not had the opportunity to do so to make a gift through the Museum’s website. 

The Museum will open at the end of April for a season filled with opportunities for you to participate in our activities and make the most of your membership. Two of the not-to-miss events of the summer are the Grand 40 Gala in June and the Herreshoff Classic Regatta in August. I hope to see you here!

- Jonathan Goff, Chief Operating Officer


For forty years, the Herreshoff Marine Museum has collected and preserved maritime history, honored technological and scientific innovations, and welcomed visitors to our historic waterfront campus. This is the same campus from which the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company led the world in yacht design and construction for so many years.

We are thrilled to be celebrating our fortieth anniversary in 2011, and as the highlight of our year-long commemoration, the Museum is proud to announce the date of its official birthday party – June 4, 2011. The Herreshoff Marine Museum Grand 40 Gala, hosted on the waterfront, will draw hundreds from around the world to celebrate with us and launch our renewed commitment to education and inspiration.

For more information about tickets, sponsorship, and participation, please contact us at [email protected].

* * * * * * * * * *

Points East Magazine has joined the Museum as a presenting sponsor of our winter presentation series. The magazine, along with Cisco Brewers of Nantucket, recognized the need for the marine community to fill the sailing void during the colder months, and were excited about being a part of the series. While we are finalizing some of the lectures, we’re honored to announce that legendary sailor-writer John Rousmaniere will present his illustrated show “The Golden Pastime: Icons of Classic Yachting” on March 24 at the Museum.

John has written 28 historical or instructional books and hundreds of articles about boats and other topics. His books include The Golden Pastime: A New History of Yachting; Fastnet, Force 10, about the deadly 1979 Fastnet Race storm (in which he sailed); After the Storm; In a Class by Herself (about the classic yawl Bolero); and histories of the America’s Cup, the Newport Bermuda Race, and the New York, Fishers Island, and Shelter Island Yacht Clubs. He edited Olin Stephens’ autobiography, All This and Sailing, Too, and has written the scripts of several of Gary Jobson’s shows.

John has sailed more than 40,000 miles since he started sailing at Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, and he regularly speaks about safety at sea and seamanship and is writing the 4th edition of his sailing manual, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship. He is a member of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, and US Sailing’s Safety-at-Sea Committee, where he coordinates the Hanson Rescue Medal program.

The next lecture on our calendar features noted author Maynard Bray and photographer Benjamin Mendlowitz presenting their latest work, The Book of Wooden Boats on April 21 at 7 PM. Maynard, one of the co-authors of Herreshoff of Bristol, has joined with one of the most respected classic yacht photographers in Benjamin and we are honored to host them.

We hope you will join us for these events!

- Sara Watson, Director of Institutional Advancement


"This Week in Herreshoff History" for Dec. 12 - 18, 2010 quoted a New York Herald report of Dec. 12, 1877 that the US Revenue Cutter DEXTER had taken up a close watch of the Herreshoff built 120-foot steamer ESTELLE and refused requests for further trials. We promised to tell more of this story in a museum newsletter....

In May 1877 John Brown (J.B.) Herreshoff received an order from a New York lawyer, with a bonus for fast delivery, for a120-foot steamer capable of a trial speed of 16 mph for three hours. Nat Herreshoff took leave from his employer the Corliss Steam Engine Co. to design the vessel and its compound condensing steam engine. Because J.B.’s Bristol yard was not yet capable, the hull was built in a Fall River yard and the engine at the Rhode Island Locomotive Co. of Providence. The coil boiler, designed by another brother, James B. Herreshoff, was built in Bristol by J.B. During the first trials on Oct. 30 ESTELLE bettered the contract speed, but suffered a rudder casting failure. Repairs were made and by late November all was in readiness for final trials. Then the government stepped in; inspectors refused to certify her boilers and the DEXTER arrived with orders to closely watch ESTELLE. Why did the government intervene?

Mrs. Sangelli and my baby Estella 
On Nov. 13, 1877, the New York Herald ran the following advertisement: “Wanted – A wet nurse with a full breast of milk to travel with my baby, Estella, in the West Indies. Call on Mrs. SANGELLI, 313 West 32d St.”

According to a Herald article dated Nov. 20, it was suspected by the State and Treasury Departments that Cuban insurgents had been fitting out a military expedition against the Spanish government in Cuba. They were said to have had built one good steamer and purchased two others, destined to start respectively from the ports of New Orleans, Bristol and Philadelphia. The interpretation given to the advertisement was that it originated from impatient Cubans, anxious to be off for the Cuban coast. This and other evidence brought charges by the Spanish minister to the US that ESTELLE was intended as an arms carrier and that her sailing should be prevented.

ESTELLE at customs Dock on State Street in Bristol following seizure by the US Treasury Department

Ordered to watch ESTELLE, the captain of DEXTER put an officer aboard to witness dock trials. When the officer reported that steam could be raised and the engine started in the remarkable time of 8 minutes he realized that DEXTER must keep steam up at all times to prevent an escape by ESTELLE. Following the Dec. 12 final sea trial ESTELLE was accepted by the owner’s agent and immediately seized by the US Treasury. In 1878 ESTELLE was returned to the New York lawyer and went on to serve in the south as a US mail carrier and later tow boat on the Mississippi. 

ESTELLE’s Legacy
The commercial and technical success of ESTELLE was significant in encouraging J.B. and Nat to establish the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. on Jan. 1, 1878. One of the first orders for the new company was from the Spanish government in Cuba for CLARA, a 140-foot gunboat with the exact same machinery as in ESTELLE. 

Carlton Pinheiro, The ESTELLE Affair. Bristol, RI 300th Anniversary Book. 1980
New York Herald; Nov- Dec 1877
ESTELLE archives. Herreshoff Marine Museum

- John Palmieri, Curator


The Herreshoff Institute Afterschool Mentorship Program continues this month, teaching 'Classic Boat Repair and Maintenance'. Annual maintenance on the 12 1/2s is proceeding under this program which aims to teach character development through craftsmanship. We have nine students attending regularly, Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays from 3:00-5:00pm. Work traditionally done by volunteers and shipwrights is now being taught to teenagers. 

Our volunteers are passing on their knowledge and love of the Herreshoff 12 1/2 fleet to the next generation of stewards. Students are learning to paint and varnish, and these students will be custodians and guardians of the boats next summer. Our mentors are passing along values and traditions of classic boat building, and working to ensure these skills will survive and flourish. This course is funded by a grant from The Collectors Foundation, and donors like you who have contributed to the 12 1/2 endowment fund.

Interested mentors or students please contact us by phone at 401.253.5000 or click here to e-mail.

February Navigation and Seamanship Classes Offered at the Herreshoff Marine Museum

Piloting and Navigation Classes will be offered on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 17 Burnside Street. February classes start Monday 2/7/11. Classes meet from 6:30 - 8:30pm. Students will be taught the skills of plotting courses and bearings on provided charts with parallel rules and dividers also provided. Topics will include the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, latitude and longitude, nautical chart symbols, magnetic and true directions, tide and tidal currents. Museum Members: $150, all others $180. 15% discount for two people in the same family. Space is limited to 8 students.

Seamanship Classes will be offered Wednesday evenings from 6:30 - 8:30pm. Meeting dates are February 9, 16, 23. This class will repeat in March. This class will kick off the Herreshoff Seamanship Institute's 2011 theme: safety beyond Narragansett Bay. Museum Members: $80, all others $105. 15% discount for two people in the same family. Space is limited to 12 students. 

Please click here to register now!

- Richard Feeny, Sailing Master and Director of Programs

December, 2010

Looking to the Future

A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend a day on the waters off Auckland, New Zealand with the late Sir Edmund Hillary. Also aboard that day was Halsey Herreshoff, and the three of us spent our time together talking about the future.

For each of us there were different challenges in the months ahead, but a common thread was that we were all looking to the future by building upon a base in the past.

Sir Edmund was a modest man, a New Zealand beekeeper thrust into notoriety as the first man to stand atop Mt. Everest. For him, looking forward meant he (at age 80) was about to embark on another trip to Nepal where he would dedicate a school. For much of his life, Ed Hillary, his family, and the Himalayan Trust he had created, devoted their efforts to improving the education and health of the Nepalese, while respecting their history and maintaining their culture. He was leveraging the admiration and honor he had earned in the past to build for the future.

For the Herreshoff Marine Museum we face the same challenge. We look to the future by learning from, respecting, and building upon the past, while allowing the knowledge of that history to guide our efforts going forward. I hope you will join us on this expedition into the future, with your time, your resources, and your desire to explore.

I would like to hear your suggestions for the museum as we move forward. Please email me at [email protected] with your thoughts.

On behalf of all members and staff of the Museum, we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season, and all the best for 2011.

- Wm. H. Dyer Jones, CEO


“Being able to be out on the water with these classic boats, teaching kids how to sail - and hopefully teaching them to love to sail - is really what makes it a dream job.” – Luke Rein, 18, Herreshoff Seamanship Institute Instructor

It’s easy to be overwhelmed at this time of the year by all the requests coming at you from all sides. Your kids have an ever-growing list for Santa; your boss needs you to finalize the end-of-year projects; and every nonprofit with which you’re involved is seeking your support. So why are we worthy of your attention?

The kids enrolled in our educational programs are getting a leg up on their peers, learning different aspects of science, engineering, mathematics and technology than they’d learn in a traditional classroom, which benefits them in higher education and beyond. Whether enrolled in the Seamanship Institute or the Afterschool Mentorship Program, our students are receiving a hands-on education from experienced instructors. Often, these instructors (like Luke), started as participants in our program, and have come to love it so much that they stay involved with the program for years.

What sets us apart from similar institutions is the commitment and passion of our students, instructors, and those who understand the importance of our programs. We’re not only telling amazing stories – like Capt. Nat and JB Herreshoff’s trip on SPRITE to see the Great Eastern in New York City as teenagers – we’re inspiring new generations to appreciate yachts and the science and technology that go into designing, building, sailing, and maintaining a seaworthy vessel – inspiration that lasts a lifetime.

One of the things we’re most proud of is that we’re able to offer our programs for free to students who cannot afford the tuition. Our ability to continue this and many other aspects of our work is dependent upon support from friends like you, who make tax-deductible gifts to our annual fund. Please, before you make that trek to the mall, quaff that cup of cheer, or wrap that gift, consider supporting our efforts by clicking here. There are many future Captain Nats out there just waiting for you to help fuel their passion!

- Sara Watson, Director of Institutional Advancement


The “Accomplishments” and “Developments” of Captain Nat

Captain Nat was a master of his profession with many innovations and successes. Thanks to two of his sons we have the following:

• L Francis Herreshoff (LFH) in Captain Nat Herreshoff: The Wizard of Bristol lists fifteen specific “accomplishments” plus a summary of yacht winnings that “in important classes … outnumber the winnings of all other designers between 1890 and … his death in 1938.”

• A. Griswold Herreshoff lists (Herreshoff Marine Museum Chronicles, Spring 1981) thirty-two “developments my father brought out during his long career.”

This is the first of a series of short essays in The Curator’s Log exploring the basis for the claims of Captain Nat’s “inventions”, and offering comparisons to today. This essay discusses LFH’s first listed “accomplishment:”

“He (Capt. Nat) designed the first light steam power plants.”

By the mid 19th century steam machinery had been applied to every purpose, including the powering of ships, and was entering a period of gradual improvement. One improvement, beginning in the 1870s, was the application of steam to launches and small yachts. The first applications were heavy and complicated, encouraging interest in lighter, more compact plants to provide better speed, endurance, and payload. The leading navies, wanting to apply the technology to armed launches and torpedo boats, carefully monitored developments. Their observations, competitive procurements and trials provide insight into who was producing the best light steam power plants. The superiority of Capt. Nat’s power plants is demonstrated in the following three examples.

Oct. 15, 1875 - Report of Capt. K. R. Breeze, Officer-in-Charge US Torpedo Station, Newport RI: “I have been to witness the performance of Herreshoff’s engine and safety coil-boiler and have been much impressed with them for naval purposes in boats. For cheapness, lightness, and doing away with fresh water (sea water was used in the early HMCo plants) they seem to me unsurpassed, and I know of no other boiler upon which steam can be raised so rapidly, and so far as I understand with so much safety.” This report included a proposal from the HMCo to build a torpedo boat capable of 19 mph. A contract was awarded and in acceptance trials, the US Navy’s first torpedo boat, LIGHTNING, developed 20.3 mph.

Oct. 1880 - Cmdr. Benjamin Isherwood, Chief Engineer of the Navy, conducted extensive ten-week trials of two identical Herreshoff 33–foot launches fitted with different engines against a 33-foot Navy designed and built launch. The results could not have been more conclusive: Herreshoff and the Navy were not in the same league.

The following is from the conclusions of the Navy report:

• “As regards the hulls - The models of the Herreshoff launches and distribution of their weights, have been so perfected by long and intelligent experience and experimenting, as to scarcely leave room for improvement…the required strength is obtained with the least weight…the Herreshoff steam launches are incomparably superior to the Navy launches.”

• “The machinery employed in the launches is quite original and greatly superior to the Navy… (Herreshoff) boiler is practically inexplodable… the lightest ever constructed for its power and the water contained in it is the least.”

The actual trials data show an even greater disparity between the launches:

• Herreshoff weight was half that of the Navy’s, and economy of fuel was doubled
• Herreshoff maximum speed was 11 mph vs. the Navy’s 8.5
• Herreshoff carrying capacity, finish and arrangement, and capability of continuous service were all evaluated as “greater or enormously greater”

1881 - In the late 1870s the British Navy invited private shipbuilders to compete for construction of a new type of versatile steam launch called a “vidette”. The most successful builder was John Samuel White of Cowes, an experienced builder of earlier British torpedo boats. His vidette was capable of 13.3 knots. The Herreshoffs, hearing of the competition, offered a boat superior in all aspects including speed. The Navy responded; if they presented for trial in English waters two videttes of the same capacity as White and capable of 14 knots, they would be purchased at a satisfactory price. In July 1881 two 48-foot videttes were delivered for trials against a new White design. Because of the coil boiler the Herreshoff videttes were much lighter and they achieved 15.5 knots, easily beating White’s 12.6 knots. The Herreshoffs were promptly paid $25,000 and awarded an order for smaller boats (pinnacles). In extensive trials the next October the Herreshoffs again bested White (9¼ knots to his 7.3). In winning, they also went home with an order from France.

I submit that the above examples provide ample proof of this “accomplishment” within the context of the state of steam plant development for launch type vessels in the 1870s and early 1880s. Today we are more specialized and compartmentalized. There is no one individual who provides like capability as demonstrated by Capt Nat: design of the power plant, design of the hull, and integration of the power plant into the hull.

- John Palmieri, Curator

Thurston, Robert J. Prof. Mech. Eng., Stevens Inst. of Technology. A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine. Appleton & Co. New York, 1878.
Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy 1876.
Isherwood, Benjamin, Report of US Navy Trials, Oct. 1880 .
New York Sun, Dec. 1881. 

November, 2010


I am very happy to introduce the inaugural edition of our monthly newsletter. We hope to keep you updated with our events and to fill you in on some interesting Herreshoff and America's Cup history. We have big plans to reach out to the sailing community, our members, our neighbors here in Bristol, and our friends around the world.

Although the season is winding down here at the Museum, there's a new buzz about the place and a lot of activity is underway as we move into our 40th year and a new future. There's a wind of change blowing across the bay and through the halls of the Museum.

We have been pleased to start a new mentorship program in boat restoration and maintenance. The program, led by Museum Educator Richard Feeny, involves students and volunteers who assist in maintaining the Museum's fleet of Herreshoff 12 ½ s and other boats utilized in the Herreshoff Institute Seamanship Program.

A new management team is in place. Halsey Herreshoff resigned as President at the end of October. Halsey is still actively involved with the Museum as our ambassador and he is “our greatest cheerleader.” I myself was elected Chairman of the Board at the end of October, succeeding Dave Burnham. Many thanks to Dave, who accomplished much in his tenure and who is still actively involved as a member of the Executive Committee. Larry Lavers was elected Vice Chairman of the Board. Larry is an active member of our management team and is my logical successor to become our next Chairman. Jon Goff moved into the role of Chief Operating Officer in July and has complete operational oversight in running the day-to-day activities of the Museum. Just last week, the Board appointed Dyer Jones as Chief Executive Officer. Dyer is a former Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, current Chair of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, former President of the International Twelve Metre Association, and has been actively involved with the America's Cup campaigns since 1977. Dyer continues to be involved with Dyer Boats in Warren, RI, started by his grandfather in 1927. I am very excited to have Dyer aboard to fill out our new management team.

As always, thank you for your continued support. From where I sit, looking out over the Museum and Narragansett Bay, the future looks very bright indeed!

-Dave Ford
Chairman of the Board


The Finest All-Round Herreshoff Yacht That was Never Built
"The Most Singular Swindle Ever Perpetrated Hereabouts"

John Brown (J.B.) Herreshoff received the letter written on the stationery of New York's most fashionable hotel, The Waldorf, in the morning mail. Dated Oct. 23, 1893 and signed by Mr. Howard W. Ream was an inquiry for a guarantee of schedule delivery and rough maximum cost for a steam yacht of about 185 feet "which I believe the maximum length of a boat which will pass through the St. Lawrence into the Great Lakes." The vessel was to be the best shape of steel, combining comfort, luxury, speed and safety; and include the best of engines and boilers with electric lighting throughout. Included was a sketch of what Mr. Ream thought was proper for the interior cabins and staterooms. A prompt reply was sent and a few days later Mr. Ream appeared in Bristol to negotiate the contract for the "finest all-round yacht afloat". Claiming to be a stockbroker and nephew of Chicago millionaire Norman B. Ream he displayed remarkable knowledge of yachts, their speed, equipment and ownership. He also talked grandly of his business and personal assets.

The contract was negotiated by the 9th of November. For a price of $140,000, to be paid in 10 equal installments, the Herreshoff's were to deliver before June 1, 1894 a 185-foot twin-screw two-masted steam yacht powered by twin triple expansion engines achieving a speed of 16 mph. It would be their largest vessel.

They went to work right away. Nat made a model. Material was ordered. New pilings were sunk for a 20-foot shop extension. By the 1st of December steel angles had been rolled, one-half the steel plating was ready, the engine castings had been poured and an additional gang of steel workers hired.

But then trouble; the first installment had not been paid and daily excuses made J.B. suspicious. These became very pronounced when J.B. received a telegram from Ream requesting J.B. advance him $100 for a hotel bill. By the time work stopped on December 2nd the company was out $2-3,000. Investigations by a detective found Mr. Ream to be a "dead beat of the worst type" and a former inmate of the Chicago House of Correction. Fortunately most materials were salvaged for use in later contracts.

Ref: Providence Evening Telegram Dec. 5, 1893; NGH Diary 1893

-JJ Palmieri

KESTREL - HMCo. #1061

In early 2010 we were pleased to accept KESTREL, HMCo. #1061, a 1927 Fisher's Island 31 donated for educational purposes. The yacht spent the summer visiting Narragansett Bay sailing programs, teaching youth and adults alike the pleasures and thrills of sailing a Herreshoff yacht. She also recorded an enviable racing record.

In her first summer at the museum KESTREL has:
* Taken over 300 youngsters sailing
* Taken more than 350 people sailing overall
* Visited the following sailing programs: Bristol Yacht Club (twice), Barrington Yacht Club, Fall River/ Battleship Cove Community Sailing, Tiverton Yacht Club, Sakonnet Yacht Club (twice), East Greenwich Yacht Club, Wickford Yacht Club, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Edgewood Yacht Club, Providence Community Boating, the Museum of Yachting at Fort Adams, Sail Newport, and The New York Yacht Club Harbour Court (twice)
* Finished in first place 8 times; finished in second place 5 times

In addition to her many achievements, KESTREL won the Bristol Yacht Club Wednesday Night Series. She also won her division at the MOY Classic event, chartered and skippered by HMM member Steve Frary, winning the best corrected time by a spinnaker division boat, and best corrected time of a Herreshoff.

Needless to say, it has been a pleasure to have such a beautiful boat on campus and we are looking forward to many more adventures in the years to come.

KESTREL Program of the Herreshoff Marine Museum
• Traveling good will ambassador of the Museum
• Offering big boat sail training to the HMM Seamanship Institute
• Enhancing the image of the Museum and the Herreshoff legacy

KESTREL is available for charter to museum members – perfect for classic yacht regattas, Narragansett Bay races, harbor cruises, sunset cruises, Newport Jazz Festival, or coastal cruising. We are also seeking donations to support this program. Please send an e-mail to [email protected], subject: FIS5 (her sail number), and we will enter you in a drawing for an evening sail on KESTREL. Many thanks for your support of this program, the Seamanship Institute and the Museum. See you on the water.

-Captain Richard Feeny