In July of 1890 W.R. Hearst of newspaper fame and fortune placed an order for the 98 foot JAVELIN, with the most innovative yacht designer of his day- Nathaniel "Nat" Herreshoff of Rhode Island. In addition to building yachts of various sizes for nearly every prominent American yachtsman of his time, Herreshoff’s yard built every winning America's Cup Yacht from 1893 to 1934.
JAVELIN was Herreshoff design #164- 94 feet at waterline with a 10’2” beam and drawing 4’9”. The boat wasn’t even completed when Hearst changed his mind and ordered a bigger boat, a 112 foot that would be called VAMOOSE. JAVELIN was bought partially completed, by E.D. Morgan in January 1891.
Edwin D. (E.D.) Morgan has been described as "The Greatest American Yachtsman." Morgan was the organizer/manager of successful America's Cup defenses during the golden period of very large sloops. He was a grandson of New York Governor and United States Senator Edwin Dennison Morgan and a distant relation of J.P. Morgan. At a young age, Morgan was left a huge fortune and became a professional sportsman mainly devoted to yacht racing.
In addition to serving as commodore of the New York Yacht Club from 1893-1894, Morgan was a four time member of the Club's America's Cup Committee. He owned some 17 vessels including steamers, schooners, sloops, America's Cup Defenders and many smaller yachts.
JAVELIN had a triple-expansion engine of 9, 14, and 22.5 inch bore with a 12-inch stroke and was guaranteed by HMC to make a speed of 20 knots. She carried a British Thornycroft boiler, only the second of Herreshoff’s yachts to get one, which were exclusive to the firm in the US. JAVELIN managed over 22 knots in trials and races, making her one of the fastest open launches of the time. VAMOOSE and JAVELIN took on passenger steamer MARY POWELL, defeating her in the first of many exhibition races the two speed boats would run against commercial vessels. It was a race against the MARY POWELL that made the Herreshoff name as builders of the world’s fastest yachts.
Morgan and Nat Herreshoff’s partnership was legendary in competitive yachting. It began when Nat built the famed breakthrough yacht GLORIANA for Morgan, which won all eight races in the New York Yacht Club's most competitive class in 1891. The duo's accomplishments included very direct involvement with four Cup Defenders: VIGILANT in 1893 over VALKYRIE; DEFENDER in 1895 over VALKYRIE II; COLUMBIA in 1899 over SHAMROCK; and COLUMBIA in 1901 over SHAMROCK II with E.D. Morgan as syndicate manager.
In his diary Morgan noted that Hearst had left Javelin more than half paid for and Mr. Herreshoff “sold her to me for the money it would take to complete her.” He noted, “She was a very interesting boat, but, except for going to New York or some distant point, her speed was too great for the ordinary daily life of Newport, as one saw everything and was back almost before starting.”
Morgan eventually sold JAVELIN to the Brazilian navy, desperate for ships to fight a Naval Revolt, who renamed her POTY and converted her to a torpedo boat aboard the armed cruiser NICTHEROY.
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