• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2129

    Maritime Decorative Arts

    15 January 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 138

    Richard M. Firth (British, b. 1971)

    Vigilant and Valkyrie II, racing off Newport in the America's Cup, 1893

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Richard M. Firth (British, b. 1971)
    Vigilant and Valkyrie II, racing off Newport in the America's Cup, 1893
    signed 'Richard M Firth' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    36 x 60 in. (91.4 x 152.4 cm.)


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    To challenge for the America's Cup in 1893, the Earl of Dunraven commissioned G.L. Watson to design a yacht worthy of the challenge for the America's Cup, thus was conceived Valkyrie II. Built by D. & W. Henderson and rigged as a cutter, she displaced 95 tons and measured 117 feet in length. To defend the cup, the New York Yacht Club syndicate headed by C. Oliver Iselin commissioned Nat Herreshoff to design and build Vigilant. Her dimensions matched Valkyrie's closely, but had the advantage of carrying slightly more sail than the challenger. The first race took place on 7 October, and Vigilant won by 5 minutes 48 seconds; two days later she took the second race from Valkyrie 10 mins. 35 secs. In the third and final race, sailed on Friday, October 13th, was destined to become one of the most hotly contested in the history of the America's Cup and was won by Vigilant with the narrowest of margins, a lead of only 40 seconds and the closeness of the finish encouraged Dunraven to challenge again in 1895.