Famed racing schooner yachts of the New York Yacht Club are neck and neck in a fleet race on Long Island Sound in this great painting by William G. Yorke. DREADNAUGHT, with the black hull on the left has pulled slightly ahead of PALMER with a white hull on the right. DREADNAUGHT’s crew is busy adjusting sails on her deck which may give PALMER a chance to pull ahead. Both yachts fly the triangular N.Y.Y.C. burgee from their fore-topmasts and the private yachting signals of their owners from the main gaff peak.
DREADNAUGHT was designed by William Townsend and built in 1871 by C.R. Poillon at Greenpoint, Long Island. At the time this was painted, the yacht was owned by C.J. Osborn, who was elected to the NYYC on July 17, 1873 and she flies his flag. She was a full keel design, 135.33 tons and measured 170' x 25' x 10.6'. Osborn would go on to sell DREADNAUGHT to William L. Scott of Boston in 1879.
The center board schooner PALMER was built in 1869 for Rutherford Stuyvesant, and early member of the NYYC. The yacht was designed by R.F. Loper and built in Philadelphia by Hillman and Steaker. PALMER was slightly smaller than DREADNAUGHT at 124.58T, measuring 100'L x 23'B x 10'D. The schooner was named after the famous designer and clipper ship captain Nathaniel B. Palmer who was also a member and early promoter of the NYYC. Palmer had more than one ship named after him, and we’ve had paintings of a clipper ship also named in his honor. The yacht PALMER enjoyed a successful racing career well into the 20th century.
The painting has great atmosphere with the yachts cutting striking lines through the choppy waters. The wind is high as the sun begins to set, and the darkening orange tones on the background clouds. reate a great contrast with the ships still in full light. Among other schooners in the background is the Sandy Hook light ship, a frequently used mark on the N.Y.Y.C. race course.
PALMER and DREADNAUGHT were two of four yachts selected to represent the United States in the America’s Cup of 1871.
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