July 23, 2021
Herreshoff Marine Museum presents its first Golden Jubilee Trophy to Fishers Island, NY Bullseye Fleet
Herreshoff Marine Museum presented the Fishers Island Yacht Club Bullseye fleet with a new trophy in celebration of the museum’s 50th anniversary.
Fishers Island, NY – For nearly 100 years, Fishers Island families have shared a special relationship with the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, the world-renowned yacht designer and builder from Bristol, RI. On Friday, July 17th, the Herreshoff Marine Museum extended this historic bond by presenting the Fishers Island Yacht Club Bullseye fleet with a new trophy in celebration of the museum’s 50th anniversary.
At a special event called “Honoring the Legacy of the Herreshoff Bullseye and Sailors at Fishers Island Yacht Club”, the museum unveiled the new "David Burnham Bullseye Masters Trophy" as a new Bullseye Class National Championship award, named for the long-time Fishers Island Bullseye sailor and former Herreshoff Marine Museum trustee and board chair. David’s daughter, Louise, and nephew, David H. Burnham, accepted the trophy on behalf of the fleet.
The Bullseye fleet captain, also a family member, David C. Burnham II, said, “I am happy to report that the Fishers Island Bullseye fleet is alive and ascending with more than 15 boats. The fleet is doing very well, and it’s fair to say that this fleet would not exist if it were not for my uncle.”
This was the first of 12 Herreshoff Golden Jubilee trophies to be presented this year by the museum. The trophies feature an authentic Herreshoff bronze cleat mounted on a mahogany backboard, sponsored and produced by JM Reineck & Sons and MPG Boats.
Captain Nathanael G. Herreshoff designed and built a seaworthy little daysailer named the Herreshoff 12½ footer, delivering the first boats in 1914. Several reached Fishers Island in 1925. Captain Nat’s son, A. Sidney DeWolf Herreshoff, modernized the design in 1928 and, in time, it evolved into the Bullseye. Cape Cod Shipbuilding Co. began building a fiberglass version in 1946 as an enduring and competitive continuation of this ubiquitous Herreshoff design.
At the request of Fishers Island sailors, Sidney Herreshoff designed and the company built the Fishers Island 31 in the 1930s followed by the Fishers Island 23, which emulated the long overhangs of the Herreshoff-built 1899 and 1901 America’s Cup defender, COLUMBIA. While very few of these yachts exist today, the museum proudly displays the Fishers Island 31, TORCH, and the Fishers Island 23, HORNET.
The Herreshoff Marine Museum launched its Golden Jubilee earlier this year with a series of articles on an Anniversary section of its website (www.herreshoff.org/50th), including the curious story of its founding in 1971. Sponsored by BankNewport, Ørsted, Ocean House, East Bay Newspapers, Pure Insurance, Gowrie Group, Bristol Marine, and Shipyard Brewery, this Golden Jubilee aims to engage sailors across the globe with a special focus on Herreshoff owners, past and present, and Herreshoff one-design fleets that continue to race actively from Maine to Florida. These fleets, such as Fishers Island’s, demonstrate the multigenerational dedication to the boats, and the museum is celebrating the commitment to the Herreshoff legacy with a monthly article in WindCheck Magazine, its official Golden Jubilee media partner. Also celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Newport International Boat Show has selected the museum as its charitable partner for its September 16-19, 2021 show (www.newportboatshow.com).
The museum is also hosting an expanded Herreshoff Regatta and Rendezvous from August 27 through 29, and the Golden Jubilee Gala on September 30. The museum’s 50th Anniversary concludes with a dinner at the New York Yacht Club in New York on November 18, 2021.
Since its founding, the Herreshoff Marine Museum waterfront campus has grown dramatically, starting in 1971 when it had no home but instead consisted of a small fleet of Herreshoff boats, a literal “floating museum.” Today, the museum includes a number of original company buildings, the Herreshoff family homestead, and a modern exhibition building, the Isaac B. Merriman, Jr. Hall of Boats. Named for one of the museum’s earliest benefactors, this exhibit space displays more than 60 Herreshoff boats, steam engines, and an array of artifacts. The Nathanael G. Herreshoff Model Room & Workshop exhibit is a re-creation of Captain Nat’s own model room and workshop, and contains more than 500 original design models, tools and documents. Over the past five years, the museum has delivered STEM-focused experiential education programs to thousands of Rhode Island students. The museum is now partnering with the National Sailing Hall of Fame on an America’s Cup Hall of Fame exhibit at its new Sailing Museum in Newport, RI.
The 50-year history of the Herreshoff Marine Museum has not only preserved this chapter of American ingenuity, it serves as a bridge to the future of boatbuilding. Happy The Town of Bristol and State of Rhode Island continue to prosper as a cradle of innovation for the maritime community. According to the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, the state’s marine industry is comprised of more than 1,700 companies employing 13,000 people and generating $2.7 billion in annual revenue.