A race well underway and Archibald Cary Smith was evidentially on hand to have painted this fine representation of the day's event. A capable yacht racer, it is likely that the primary gaff-rigged shoal draft speedster is smith's own sandbagger. The accuracy of the painting shows A.C. Smith's active familiarity with these popular yachts. It is recorded that many of the wealthiest members of the New York yacht club would slip off to race their sandbaggers when the competitive spirit of the prestigious club events inspired them to personally take the helm.
Smith's first ship was comet, an 18' catboat which he designed, built and raced. He would go on to design nearly every type of yacht in his 56 year career. The sandbagger hull was nicknamed the ‘skimming dish', and primarily only the rig differed from the slightly smaller catboats. Each racer wears an identifying red course pennant at the main for the judges' reference, one of whom is armed with a spyglass, while others excitedly point out the action.
Superior results achieved in his artistic and architectural pursuits, this painting shows smith's mastery of each. It has survived in its original unlined state and is in excellent condition. The brilliant coloration is finished with the artist's full range of shadow and light, employing an interesting technique of illuminating the waves with multiple hues mixed within the water. Note the spectacle of a ship knocked down, her crew riding on the windward rail to keep her righted and underway. Several others stow their rigs, while the apparent winner flies an American ensign and a three-flag code probably announcing their elapsed time for the observers. The sloop LEONOA appears at rest, her sail furled and watching the action, while her name pennant flies on the main behind the foremost sandbagger. Complete in every sense for a period yacht painting; a top work by this artist.
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