The British steel hulled gaff cutter GALATEA was designed by John Beavor-Webb and built in 1885 for owner Lieutenant William Henn of the Royal Navy. From 1888 until 1894, Mr. and Mrs. Henn lived aboard GALATEA in Britain. Following Lt. Henn's death in 1894, Mrs. Henn continued to live aboard the yacht until her death in 1911.
GALATEA was the sixth challenger for the America's Cup in 1886, losing to the American defender MAYFLOWER. Henn challenged again in a private re-match in 1887 which the British yacht also lost. It should be noted that GALATEA was unique for a racing yacht in that she was set up for live aboard cruising, and carried several tons of elegant furnishings below, making her speed much slower than her competitors. Also making her unique during the 1886 racing season, GALATEA carried a monkey named Peggy on board as a mascot. The first "rally monkey", Peggy became ill and died and was buried in Brooklyn, NY.
Here, James Buttersworth portrays GALATEA on a beam reach leading a fleet of racers off the Battery. Landmark forts Castle William and Castle Garden are visible in the far distance. The view does not appear to show the America's Cup competition, as it was sailed on a different course, and the second place yacht in the painting is also British. Of note, is master James E. Buttersworth's noted skill at portraying atmospheric detail which includes the small dark rain squall in the sky just ahead of GALATEA's massive spinnaker.
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