Historic Ryde Society

‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 28 September 2023 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.

Following her great successes in 1851, the 1852 Ryde Regatta proved to be different for the America. Widely reported in the press, the turnaround of her fortunes came as a great surprise.

‘It would be difficult to convey to the minds of persons removed a distance from the spot anything like an adequate idea of the surprise which pervaded all classes in the Isle of Wight on the unexpected result of the race for her Majesty’s cup of 100 guineas, and the defeat of the hitherto unconquerable schooner and clipper America, by one of the oldest cutters in the Royal Victoria Club’s squadron.

The extraordinary powers and swift sailing of the America, as witnessed last year both at Ryde and at Cowes, had given so strong an assurance of her success, that the match had to a certain extent been stripped of its interest, and by the great majority of yachtsmen the competition for the prize was almost looked upon as a settled question. Therefore the reverse of this has naturally excited the greater amount of astonishment.

The winning vessel, which is the property of the vice-commodore of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, (Mr Thomas Chamberlayne), it is true is not the Arrow of last year; for during the winter she has been lengthened at the bows and otherwise improved, and many of those alterations were probably the result of suggestions which presented themselves from the appearance of the America amongst the yachts of the British squadron. Although an old yacht, the Arrow has always ranked as a fast vessel of her class, as she proved last year at Cowes, when she contended against the Bacchante, in a race very well and very closely contested. The honours of the club have thus been regained; but whether a similar event will take place at the coming regatta of the Royal Yacht Squadron, at Cowes, remains to be seen.

The following is the official return of the arrival of the yachts off the pier, as communicated to the commodore of the club:-
Arrow……………………………….       6h     59m    30s
Mosquito…………………………..        6h     59m    31s
America…………………………….       7h       1m    20s
Zephyretta…………………………        7h     39m     0s

It will thus be seen that there was but one second difference between the arrival of the first and second vessels, and the guns from the Brilliant were so closely following each other that they were almost fired simultaneously. The America was scarcely two minutes astern, and although a beaten competitor, still the general feeling appears to be that had there been anything of a breeze she would have proved herself as dangerous as when she originally came into these waters. The Zephyretta was so far astern that she was considered out of the match, and did not arrive for more than half an hour after the America.

Lord Blaquiere had bought America for 4000 guineas in September 1851. By December that year, ‘The America yacht at a discount’ was making headlines. ‘The famous clipper yacht America, purchased by Lord Blaquiere for 4000 guineas, is reported to have so much fallen off in his lordship’s estimation that the gallant and noble officer would not refuse an offer of 3000 guineas for her.  She is now en route to the Mediterranean with her noble owner.

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