The New York Yacht Club flagship schooner, PHANTOM, is leading the fleet around the Sandy Hook Lightship in its annual regatta. The year is 1867, and the fleet includes such stalwart members of the Club as Richard Loper onboard PALMER, and J. Gordon Bennett Jr.'s DAUNTLESS, two of the period's most renown schooners. Sailing also is the first successful America's Cup defender, MAGIC, and fresh on the return from the first Transatlantic yacht race, VESTA, owned respectively by William H. McVicker and Pierre Lorillard. The superb artistry of Shane Michael Couch has never been more detailed nor layered with such delicate precision, as he capably shows the seven vessels here: five racing, the famous lightship and a two manned digny enjoying the view.
The newly establish event, scheduled in the peak of summer, was based on a simple principle. If you sail two boats together, they'll race to their destination. Soon private wagers led way to offered prizes, stakes wagered, and trophy cups. PHANTOM's owner, Henry Stebbins, started the schooner's very successful career at this event, here rounding the Lightship with a fresh southern breeze on a light and variable day, to lead the final leg back to the Staten Island starting line. PHANTOM, built by Joseph Van Dausen as a modified version of Archibald Cary Smith's design for SILVIE, would be kept in prime condition and sailed with the club until 1900. She would win the Vice Commodore's Cup in 1868, a Sweepstakes against CAMBRIA and MADELINE in 1870 and the Citizens Cup that same year.
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