Thursday, July 5, 2018

Light Air Queen’s Cup Race

J/145 Main Street sailing Queen's Cup J/145 MAIN STREET Tops Class, J/110 Eclipses Doublehanders
(Milwaukee, WI)- The 80th running of the Queen’s Cup, one of the most storied yacht races on the Great Lakes hosted by the South Shore Yacht Club will certainly not go down as one of the fastest in history.  When TP52s take an average of 7.5 kts to cross a distance of 68.5nm from Milwaukee, WI across Lake Michigan at a course of approximately 89 degrees to Grand Haven, MI, you know it was not going to be one of those famous Midwestern “barn burners”, for sure.

Nearly 200 boats participated, with over 1,200 sailors enjoying great parties both pre-race and post-race at each venue.

The Queen's Cup is one of the oldest cups in the yachting world yachting that is still offered for competition every year. Its history dates back to an age when both British Victorian silverwork and sailing yachts were without rival anywhere.

American shipyards of this era were turning out very fast sailing vessels called “clipper ships”. These craft were extreme designs built to out-perform the fast new breed of ships powered by steam. The American racing sloop Silvia was built during this era using this radical new technology.

On August 19, 1853, she won second place in a regatta scheduled by the Royal Yacht Squadron that was raced off Cowes, England.

First prize- the 100 Guineas Cup - was won by the English yacht Gaily, six minutes and 38 seconds ahead of Silvie. This outstanding performance by the American Silvie led the RYS to award a special prize to her, the 50 Guineas Cup, now known as the Queen's Cup.  Notably, this took place exactly two years after the yacht America won the first 100 Guineas Cup in 1851!

The cup was brought back to the New York Yacht Club, Silvia's home port, and went into obscurity until 1874, when a Mr. J.H. Godwin, of Kingsbridge, New York, gave the Cup to his friend Kirkland C. Barker, Commodore of the International Yacht Club of Detroit. The Cup was to be offered as an international challenge called the Godwin Cup.

Queen's Cup race courseBut, as it turned out there was only one challenge, Annie Cuthbert of Hamilton, Ontario. Barker's yacht Cora won the first race, with the Canadians winning the second, but forfeiting the final race. This gave Barker his victory, but left very strained relations between the Detroit and Hamilton yachtsmen. The Cup was never offered for competition again, probably due to the sudden death of Commodore Barker. He and two other crewmembers drowned while shifting ballast in Cora in preparation for the 1875 racing season.

Nothing more is known about the Queen’s Cup until about the turn of the century, when a young lad, while cleaning out a family storeroom, discovered an exquisite rosewood box holding the Cup. The lad was Walter Hull, whose father was Charles Hull, son-in-law of Commodore Barker, to whom the Cup had been given.

Walter Hull treasured the Cup for the rest of his life and kept it in his possession until September 1, 1938. At that time, his good friend William Lawrie (late Commodore of South Shore Yacht Club in 1944) persuaded him to deed it to South Shore Yacht Club, "for an annual race across Lake Michigan, always starting off South Shore Yacht Club, and ending at a point in Michigan, open to all yachts of a recognized yacht club on the Great Lakes."

Of note, the silversmith firm of Robert Garrard, 29 Panton Street, St. Martins, England, created the Queen’s Cup in 1847-1848 (the official silversmith of the British Royalty).  Interesting history, how “son of America’s Cup” ended up at one of the most laid-back, unassuming sailing clubs on Planet Earth- and, at that, in the Great Lakes!

Given that cool history behind the how the Queens’ Cup ended up in Milwaukee, here’s how it all went down for this year’s race.

Winning PHRF 1 Class was Bill Schanen’s elegant, bright fire-engine red J/145 MAIN STREET, a fixture in big boat offshore events for over a decade on Lake Michigan. As usual, it was a “family affair” with many Schanen generations enjoying a benign cruise across the lake.

J/Crews nearly swept PHRF 2 class. Taking second was Doug Petter’s J/130 WILLIE J, fourth was Bob Klairmont’s J/133 SIROCCO 3, fifth Jim Richter’s J/44 CHEEP-N-DEEP II, and sixth Bob McManus’ J/130 EDGE.

PHRF 3 was the J/111 Division.  Winning that incredibly competitive class was Mark Caliban’s NO QUARTER, followed by Brad Faber’s UTAH in second and Richard Hobbs’ HOBGOBLIN holding on for the bronze.

Hanging in for fourth place in the PHRF 4 class was Doug Evans’ J/109 TIME OUT.  Then, in PHRF 8 Class also taking fourth was Dennis Dryer’s J/30 FRANK LLLOYD STARBOARD.

Sailing like a dynamic-duo possessed in the PHRF Shorthanded was Ron Otto’s J/110 TAKEDOWN 2, taking home the gold by a fairly decent margin!   For more Queen’s Cup Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.