Lugger yachts were commonplace around the British racing scene in the 1820s but thereafter fell out of favour for about thirty years until Lord Willoughby de Eresby tried to revive them in 1859 with his celebrated New Moon. An immense vessel of 209 tons measuring 134 feet in length (130 feet at the waterline) yet with only an 18½ foot beam, she was built at Hastings and had a reputed speed of 14-15 knots in ideal conditions. Unsurprisingly, on a reach in a good stiff breeze, she could leave her competitors hull down and with their crews in awe since she was so much longer and narrower than the best racing schooners of her day. When coming about however, the time taken to dip her enormous lugs proved her undoing and allowed the gaff-riggers to overhaul her, thus proving that the dipping lug was just not appropriate for the sport as it had developed by the mid-nineteenth century.
The 19th Lord Willoughby kept her until 1864 when she passed to his son, the 20th Earl. He kept her only two years and, after an embarrassing performance in the Royal Thames Yacht Club's race from the Nore to Dover which opened the 1866 Season, she was withdrawn from racing, her subsequent history unknown.
A remarkable craft and highly distinctive in appearance, her image is relatively well-known thanks to Thomas Dutton's engraving which is often reproduced in yachting works of reference and which may have been taken directly from this painting.