Under a high gray English sky, a ray of light catches the American Racing Schooner COLUMBIA in this scene by James E. Buttersworth, competing in the waters of the artist's land of birth. COLUMBIA, owned by Franklin Osgood, is heeled over showing her deck and active crew, the slick schooner in racing trim with the yachting national ensign and his private signal on display.
Franklin Osgood, at the time Rear Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, and part of the successful group of yachtsmen who triumphed in the second defense of the America's Cup in 1871 against the English challenge of LIVONIA, sailed for England in 1875 and competed in match yacht racing with his champion schooner COLUMBIA. His yacht was built by Joseph B. Vandeuson at his 16th Street, East River, New York yard in 1871. Osgood was following in his older brother George's spirit, who had sailed his Vandeusen-built FLEETWING to England to race in 1871 and 1872. FLEETWING had previous been part of the regatta that defended the first challenge for the America's Cup.
Shown with the reflective light creating strong watery illusions, two English cutters give chase in the race, while a rowed boat is nicely displayed with a man standing watch in the bow, two oarsmen, and at least one passenger in a red cloak. On the headland before them several buildings including a castle battlement, and is very near Portsmouth in the south of England, across from the prominent yacht racing courses of the Isle of Wight. Buttersworth would have painted this as a commemorative moment of a great American racing yacht's season overseas.
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