May 14, 2020

This Week in Herreshoff History: May 14

Two appearances from COLONIA (HMCo. #435), a little showboating from Captain Nat, and a racing proto-scow for the Midwestern scene

May 15, 1893

COLONIA (HMCo. #435) photographed later by Stebbins; image courtesy Historic New England Stebbins Collection

COLONIA (HMCo. #435) was launched 127 years ago tomorrow. COLONIA (later, CORONA) was originally built as a Cup Defender candidate but lost in the selection trials to another HMCo. designed and built vessel, VIGILANT (HMCo. #437). The two vessels were built almost simultaneously, and VIGILANT was a month away from launching when COLONIA went down the ways. VIGILANT went on to successfully defend the Cup in 1893. COLONIA was converted from a sloop to a schooner and also went on to have a long and successful racing career, winning two Goelet Cups, two Astor Cups and serving as the NYYC flagship from 1900 to 1902.

May 14, 1895

Just two years later almost to the day the candidate returns, but and sadly it's, "COLONIA who?" this time (see left). Though she may not have been a Cup Defender, she is still a home town hero, never mind the newspapermen in Boston. In the same issue of the Bristol Phoenix we discover Capt. Nat is not above a little show-boating (see right). The ALERION [II] (HMCo. #446) described here was the second of three ALERIONs he would design for himself. N.G.H.'s ALERIONs got progressively more comfortable, easier to handle, and sea-kindlier as he aged. The last, ALERION III (HMCo. #718) is perhaps his best known to the modern sailor. It is a part of the Mystic Seaport Museum Watercraft Collection today.

N.G.H.'s ALERION [II] (HMCo. #446), photographed later by Stebbins; image courtesy Historic New England Stebbins Collection

May 14, 1896

A strange looking scow-like creature was launched at HMCo. on this day 124 years ago. The sloop ALFRIDA (HMCo. #473) was built for a sailor from Minnesota named Milton Griggs to race on White Bear Lake. The vessel contract had been signed by Griggs' friend, businessman Lucius Pond Ordway, while visiting his father in Rhode Island the previous January.

Carved half model of ALFRIDA, currently on display in the HMM Model Room
Photo of ALFRIDA, HMCo. #473 from Rudder, March 1898; image courtesy the Herreshoff Catalog Raisonné