“Columbia” passes “Shamrock I” during race 3 of the America’s Cup, 1899.

“Columbia” passes “Shamrock I” during race 3 of the America’s Cup, 1899.
Race 3 of the America's Cup on October 19th, 1899, between the defender "Columbia" and challenger "Shamrock I" , was described by the press of the day as the most exciting race for many years. In a 20 knot wind the yachts raced over a 30 mile course off Sandy Hook, New York, consisting of a 15 mile run to the leeward mark, followed by a 15 mile beat back to the finish.

The painting depicts the yachts, with working topsails and carrying spinnakers on the run to the leeward mark. "Columbia", skippered by the famous Charlie Barr, has managed to pass "Shamrock I", but is having to change her course to starboard to prevent "Shamrock I" from 'taking her wind'. At times, it was said, “Columbia’s” spinnaker ballooned upwards and the spinnaker pole would bend alarmingly. A cloud casts a shadow on the water ahead of “Shamrock I”. The weather is fine with a fresh 20 knot wind and sea running, enabling the yachts to surf down the waves at speeds in excess of 15 knots.

There is a large spectator fleet following the yachts. The Navy sent a flotilla of torpedo boats to patrol the spectator fleet and keep them away from the racing yachts. One of the black Herreshoff designed and built torpedo boats can be seen astern of “Columbia”.

Commodore J.P. Morgan is on board his steam yacht "Corsair", which can be seen in the background on the left hand side of the painting, together with the white steam yacht "Erin", owned by Sir Thomas Lipton, the owner of "Shamrock I".

"Columbia" managed to hold off "Shamrock I" until the leeward mark. On the beat back to the finish "Columbia" pulled away and finished 6minutes 34 seconds ahead on corrected time to win the America's Cup.

"Columbia" was designed by Nathaneil Herreshoff and built for a New York Yacht Club syndicate of Commodore J.P.Morgan, ex Commodore E.D. Morgan and C. Oliver Iselin. "Shamrock I" was designed by William Fife Jr. and built at Thorneycroft's yard on the Thames, England, for Sir Thomas Lipton.
Dimensions30" x 40"
MediaOil on canvas


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