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    Sale 5386


    21 May 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 77

    Shane Michael Couch (b.1963)

    Atlantic and Katoura racing for the Cape May Cup, 16th September, 1915

    Price Realised  


    Shane Michael Couch (b.1963)
    Atlantic and Katoura racing for the Cape May Cup, 16th September, 1915
    signed 'Shane Michael Couch' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    12 x 18 in. (30.5 x 45.8 cm.)

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    In the history of ocean racing, the story of Atlantic is best summarised by a quotation from Alfred Loomis's classic work on the subject, first published in 1936:

    "The record of the three-masted schooner Atlantic in the race of 1905 overshadows every other incident of the fourth transatlantic contest. Favoured by fresh breezes and strong quartering gales and by a hull speed sufficient to keep her in them, Atlantic raced from Sandy Hook to the Lizard at a pace that swept her into the gallery of imperishable fame."

    The 1905 race, titled the Kaiser's Cup after the magnificent gold cup put up by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, was from the Sandy Hook lightship to the Lizard, a well-tried course of approximately 3,000 miles. Leaving on 18th May, Atlantic romped across in 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds for a distance of 3,014 miles, almost a full day ahead of her nearest rival. Had she not run into a calm right at the very end of the race, she would have won in under 12 days and although denied this astonishing achievement, her record nevertheless stood for at least thirty years and was still extant when Loomis wrote his standard history of ocean racing.

    Atlantic herself was a big steel three-masted centre-board schooner designed by Gardner & Cox of New York and built by Townsend & Downey in their Shooter's Island yard in 1903. Registered at 206 tons net, she measured 144 feet in length with a 29 foot beam, carried 18,500 square feet of sail and was owned by Wilson Marshall of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

    Pitted against Atlantic in the contest for the Cape May Cup in 1915 was the splendid new schooner Katoura. Designed and built for Robert Elliot Tod, the Commodore of the Atlantic Yacht Club, by the great Nat Herreshoff at Bristol, Rhode Island, she was the second most expensive yacht ever launched from the yard and cost $162,400 upon completion in 1914. Measuring 162 feet in length overall with a 30 foot beam, L. Francis Herreshoff wrote that "she was, all around, the finest Captain Nat [L.F.'s father] ever designed." She enjoyed notable success, particularly in the races for the Brenton Reef and Cape May Cups over several seasons, until Tod sold her to R.A. Alger, who renamed her Elfay, in 1920. Sold out of American ownership in 1926 and renamed Magdalene (II), she was thereafter to be seen in British waters until 1932 when she was bought by a French woman who renamed her Lou-Kiani (II). Finally reverting to her original name of Katoura in 1936, she was still afloat after the Second World War but by then was called Ea.

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