westward & eleonora

Download Westward  & Eleonora

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Veleros de siempre , Westward mas de 100 años después , sigue navegando Eleonora ...

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  • 1. A NOBLE LEGEND SAILS ON FROM Westward TO Eleonora 2000 1910
  • 2. 3 Shes a wonder. So declared Captain Charlie Barr at the launching of the dazzling schooner Westward. His prophetic pronouncement would reverberate throughout the career of this awe-inspiring vessel as she sailed her way to super stardom during the Golden Age of Big Class racing. The press heralded Westward as the new Herreshoff flyer, and fly she did. Less than a month after her launching on March 31, 1910, she sailed to Europe to challenge the worlds most formidable schooners in the premier regattas of England and Germany. Sailing fast, strong, and proud, she took first place in all eleven starts during her first season. In ensuing years, she regularly showed her stern to all of her exalted contemporaries, including Lulworth, Meteor II, and Germania, and raced against King George Vs cutter Britannia no fewer than 174 times. She even took on the towering cutters built as Americas Cup challengers, and left them all in her wake more than once. Conceived by The Wizard of Bristol, built for the worlds richest bachelor, and originally helmed by the finest captain of all time, Westward was indeed a wonder. Westward charging along in a 1910 race in Cowes (opposite) Photo by Beken of Cowes. Herreshoffs Westward drawing courtesy of Hart Nautical Collections of MIT Museum.
  • 3. 4 TheWizard of Bristol Alexander Cochran, Westwards first owner, was an avid yachtsman who had already owned several competitive vessels. He had been especially impressed by the performance of the Americas Cup contender Defender, designed and built by Nathanael Herreshoff, and so he put the creation of his stunning new schooner in the hands of the Wizard of Bristol, giving him free rein to specify the very best of everything for her. Nathanael Greene Herreshoff is certainly the most famous and most accomplished American yacht designer and builder of all time. Many believe that he is the most outstanding in the world. For some 75 years, Captain Nat, as he was called, dominated the naval design fraternity as an innovator who created vessels that were advanced and extreme, but always, always beautiful. He and his brother John founded the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in Bristol, Rhode Island, in 1876. Educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nathanael was the Chief Designer and Engineer while John primarily ran the business. John had gone blind at the age of fifteen, but he never lost his natural ability to evaluate the seaworthiness and speed of a design. Together, the brothers turned out several thousand vessels ranging from steam torpedo boats for the U.S. Navy, to storied sailing and power yachts, to fine little catboats and dinghies. Most prominently, the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company designed and built all the Americas Cup defenders all of them of course successful from 1893 through 1920 (Vigilant, Defender, Columbia, Reliance, and Resolute), and those years are commonly referred to as The Herreshoff Era. The defenders they created were the largest, fastest, and most expensive ever to sail in the Americas Cup races. As if designing and building these vessels werent enough, Captain Nat also helmed some of them. The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company also built Americas Cup defenders designed by Starling Burgess in 1930 (Enterprise)and 1934 (Rainbow) and, between 1890 and 1938, Herreshoff designs also won the Astor Cup (won by Westward in 1911), the Puritan Cup, and the Kings Cup. Captain Nat was quiet to the point of being nearly uncommunicative. Considering the range of his inventions, it is perhaps not surprising that he kept his cards close to his Westward on her launching day, March 31, 1910 (above) and racing off the Isle of Wight in the summer of 1910 (below) Launch photo courtesy of The Herreshoff Marine Museum. Photo of Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, 1894, Mystic Seaport, Rosenfeld Collection, Mystic, CT, #B443; photographer: James Burton. Sailing photos, above and opposite, by Beken of Cowes. Nathanael Greene Herreshoff
  • 4. 5 chest. Among the many innovations with which he is credited are hydrodynamic fin and bulb keels, below-deck winches, folding propellers, sail tracks and slides, cross-cut sails, metal masts, and the formula for handicapping dissimilar yachts for racing. Captain Nat even received the first patent for a catamaran sailboat way back in 1876. When Alexander Smith Cochran asked his captain, Charlie Barr, how he might prevail upon Nathanael Herreshoff to design and build a schooner that could cross the Atlantic and race in Europe, Barrs advice was as follows: All you will have to do is run up to Bristol and tell N. G. Herreshoff you want a yacht for that purpose and be sure not to tell him how to design her for if you do he probably will not take the order. You may have to show him some credentials for he doesnt like to design a large yacht unless he thinks the owner can afford it. Captain Nat began the design for Westward in the autumn of 1909, and she was launched just six months later, the longest sailing yacht that Herreshoff had built at the time. The Wonder When Captain Charlie Barr called Westward a wonder, he knew whereof he spoke. Many years later, in Yachting, A Pictorial History (Viking Press 1972), author Peter Heaton hailed Westward as perhaps the most famous of all racing schooners. She was also the swiftest schooner in the world in 1910, and remains one of the fastest ever to cross a finish line. Also the largest Class-A racing schooner of her time, Westward measured 41,50 meters/135 feet 4 inches on deck. In preparation for racing, her cruising rig was replaced with a taller mast, longer boom, and longer bowsprit to accommodate a considerably greater sail area. With her racing rig stepped, she measured an impressive 59,13 meters/194 feet overall. Herreshoff hull number 692 was made of riveted steel, with pine decks over the steel plating. Westwards masts were of solid Oregon pine, and when the mainmast was stepped, it weighed four tons including the rigging and hardware. Launched on March 31, 1910, Westward was a breathtaking sight to behold, her long bowsprit and tapering overhangs creating a vision of gracefulness and a sleek and slender profile to be reckoned with on the racecourse. Overhead, canvas blossomed like a magnificent, many-petaled flower from her towering masts as she sailed before the wind. For nearly four decades, from 1910 until 1947, Westwards name was always in the Westward, carrying a spectacular amount of sail, leads Britannia on a downwind leg in 1927 forefront of any discussion of yacht racings grandest spectacles. She not only was the fastest schooner, she also regularly left the biggest cutters behind. Even today, no account of the greatest moments in yacht racing is complete without a deep bow to the sublime Westward. Newsclip (with misspelling of Cochrans name) from The New York Times, April 1, 1910.
  • 5. 6 Westward was owned, treasured, and raced by a series of owners, each with his own intriguing story. Her first owner, Alexander Smith Cochran, was the heir to a family fortune, while her last owner, T. B. Davis, was a self-made multimillionaire. These two men, more than any of the others, savored the excitement of owning one of the worlds most spectacular racing yachts and sailing her to victory on the racecourse. 19101911: Alexander Smith Cochran Westward was commissioned by Alexander Smith Cochran of New York City, fabulously wealthy heir to the Alexander Smith carpet-manufacturing empire. His maternal grandfather, Alexander Smith, had invented the motorized Moquette loom and founded a very successful carpet factory in Yonkers, New York. In later years, Cochran became active in the progressive Republican Party and ran for the U.S. Congress. Cochran only briefly abdicated his position as worlds richest bachelor, a moniker given him by the press, when, in 1920, he fell under the spell of the glamorous Madame Ganna Walska. Ravishingly beautiful, Walska fancied herself an opera singer, but her talent was questionable at best. People came to her concerts primarily to gaze on her and her elaborate costumes; they winced at the sound of her voice, which was described generously as tiny, and less generously as screeching. Cochran was the third of Walskas six husbands, and their marriage lasted mere months. Her lawyer stated that Alexander Smith Cochran has been joy riding all over the world, buying and selling houses and yachts by whim and caprice. If Mr. Cochran thinks that he can dispose of his wife the way he disposes of toys and playthings, he is much mistaken. Walska declared If Cochran wants to get rid of me he must pay until it hurts for his own good. The divorce cost him $3,000,000. By her fifth divorce, Walska was an extremely wealthy woman. Cochran gave his money to the arts far more willingly. He donated an important collection of Near Eastern tapestries, books, and miniatures to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and, at his alma mater Yale University, he founded the Elizabethan Club with his donation of a collection of astoundingly rare manuscripts including the first four Alexander Cochran, Westwards first owner