Saturday, June 29, 2019

Queens Cup Preview

Queens Cup race course (Milwaukee, WI)- The 81st challenge of one of the most storied yacht races on the Great Lakes this coming weekend- the Queen’s Cup. This year’s night race across Lake Michigan departs from Milwaukee, WI for St. Joseph, MI on June 28, 2019. Both Milwaukee’s South Shore Yacht Club and St. Joseph River Yacht Club will provide an experience worthy of this 81st Queen’s Cup Race.

South Shore YC has been hosting a race across Lake Michigan, starting in Milwaukee and finishing at some port in Michigan, since 1938.  The Cup itself, deeded to the Club by William Hull, dates back to 1847 and is older than the America's Cup. The Queen's Cup® Trophy is one of the oldest cups in world yachting still offered for competition every year. Its history dates back to an age when both British Victorian silver work and sailing yachts were without rival anywhere.

American shipyards of this era were turning out very fast sailing vessels called “clipper ships”. These craft were extreme designs built to out-perform the fast new breed of ships powered by steam. The American racing sloop Silvie was built during this era using this radical new technology.

On August 19, 1853, she won second place in a regatta scheduled by the Royal Yacht Squadron that was raced off Cowes, England.

Queens CupFirst prize- a cup valued at 100 guineas- was won by the English yacht Gaily, six minutes and 38 seconds ahead of Silvie. This outstanding performance led the squadron to award a special prize to her, a 50-guinea cup, now known as the Queen's Cup!

The cup was brought back to the New York Yacht Club, Silvia's home port, and went into obscurity until 1874, when a Mr. J.H. Godwin, of Kingsbridge, New York, gave the cup to his friend Kirkland C. Barker, commodore of the International Yacht Club of Detroit. The cup was to be offered as an international challenge called the Godwin Cup.

But, as it turned out there was only one challenge, Annie Cuthbert of Hamilton, Ontario. Barker's yacht Cora won the first race, with the Canadians winning the second but forfeiting the final race. This gave Barker his victory, but left very strained relations between the Detroit and Hamilton yachtsmen. The cup was never offered for competition again, probably due to the untimely death of Commodore Barker. He and two other crew members drowned while shifting ballast in Cora in preparation for the 1875 racing season.

Nothing more is known about the cup until about the turn of the century, when a young lad, while cleaning out a family storeroom, discovered an exquisite rosewood box holding the cup. The lad was Walter Hull, whose father was Charles Hull, son-in-law of Commodore Barker, to whom the cup had been given.

Walter Hull treasured the cup for the rest of his life and kept it in his possession until September 1, 1938. At that time his good friend William Lawrie (later Commodore of South Shore Yacht Club in 1944) persuaded him to deed it to South Shore Yacht Club, "for an annual race across Lake Michigan, always starting off South Shore Yacht Club, and ending at a point in Michigan, open to all yachts of a recognized yacht club on the Great Lakes."  The cup was crafted by the silversmith firm of Robert Garrard in 1847-1848.

This 90.0nm sprint across Lake Michigan has been fraught with numerous challenges over time.  From drifters, to gales, to waterspouts, to a Sunday “walk in the park” experience. Given that current weather has been nothing but normal, the weekends sprint across the lake could experience everything in one storm front!

Some of those teams braving the elements in the 2019 edition of the Queen’s Cup are the following PHRF Big Boat division teams; Justin Falconer’s J/111 LUCKY DUBIE, Bill Schanen’s J/145 MAIN STREET, Robert Klairmont’s J/133 SIROCCO 3, and Jim Richter’s J/44 CHEEP’N’DEEP.

In addition, there are six J/111s on the starting line: Richard Hobbs’ HOBGOBLIN, Jeff Schaeffer’s SHMOKIN JOE, Spencer Thomason’s JUST ONE MORE, Mark & Colin Caliban’s NO QUARTER, Brad Faber’s UTAH, and Kevin Saedi’s MOMENTOUS.

In the division below them will be Frank Giampoli’s J/120 JAHAZI, Ben Lumpkin’s J/112E MARY GAIL, Mitch Weisman’s J/35 THE FLYING SPHAGETTI MONSTER, and Doug Evans’ J/109 TIME OUT.

Two one-design divisions are racing.  A quintet of J/88s are sailing; including Tod Patton’s BLONDIE 2, Andrew Graff’s EXILE, Dan Floberg’s MISTY, John Leahey’s DUTCH, and Ben Marden’s BANTER. Then, a quartet of J/105s are participating; Don Brackey’s BIENFAIT, Vanessa Gates’ STRIKING, Mike Ludtke’s SMOKIN J, and Mark Stoll’s PEREGRINE.

Finally, there are two PHRF Shorthanded Teams racing; Tom Cairns’ J/105 BEDAZZLED and Ron Otto’s J/110 TAKEDOWN 2.  For more SSYC Queen’s Cup Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.