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October 2014 Issue 221: The Kaiser’s Cup

Sep 30, 2014
Scott Cookman’s book Atlantic details the 1905 race won by the 
three-masted schooner.

Scott Cookman’s book Atlantic details the 1905 race won by the three-masted schooner.

German Kaiser Wilhelm was in a hurry. The grandson of Queen Victoria and the son of Kaiser Friedrich III, Wilhelm wasted no time after his father died. He buried his father without an appropriate period of mourning and immediately assumed the role of Kaiser. His relatives, the British royal family, were shocked by “Willy’s” behavior, but not totally surprised. In a family line that included hemophilia, dementia, alcoholism, and cancer, Willy, as he was known in the family, was just another pompous prince in waiting.

Wilhelm’s one desire was to achieve German naval supremacy, usurping the power of the British Royal Navy — the number one navy in the early 20th century.

The resulting bloodletting was referred to as the Great War. In terms of death and stupidity and bloodshed, it still has yet to be eclipsed. In order to make his bones, so to speak, in the world of the American and British oligarchs — the members of the New York Yacht Club and the British Royal Squadron — and in order to take the eyes of the world off some embarrassing colonial problems in Africa, Wilhelm challenged the world’s yachtsmen to an international trans-Atlantic race to begin in Sandy Hook and to end in the godforsaken peninsula known as the Lizard.

With the gauntlet thrown down, 11 yachts ranging in length from the 108-foot LOA Fleur de Lys to the mammoth 205-foot LOA Valhalla entered into the fray, five of the entries coming from the New York Yacht Club and one, the 2-masted schooner Hamburg, 158-foot LOA, representing the Kaiser. Departing Sandy Hook in May 1905, the race was front-page news in the international press.

The great America’s Cup skipper Charlie Barr was hired to drive the 184-foot LOA, 3-masted schooner Atlantic, designed by William Gardner and owned by William Marshall, scion to the Broadway Stage Line fortune. The race took some of the vessels north into the ice range where they encountered horrific storms and gales. Yet they pressed on through icebergs and growlers, using only celestial navigation when the sun shone to get their positions. They raced to win. And 12 days, four hours and one minute after departing Sandy Hook, schooner Atlantic had sailed 3,013 nautical miles at an average speed of 10.32 knots, with a best day’s run of 341 nautical miles. That was good enough to win the cup.

Hamburg came in second almost a day later. Atlantic’s monohull record stood until 2002. The Kaiser’s Cup, by the way, reputed to be made of solid gold turned out to just to be gold-plated.

Let’s join Capt. Barr on the deck of Atlantic on May 25th (we’ll use the 2014 Nautical Almanac). Capt. Barr gets a glimpse of the sun at 1425:27 GMT. He gets off a shot of the lower limb while at a DR position of 48°, 20 minutes north by 34°, 40 minutes west. His height of eye is 15 feet. The Hs is 62°, 11.3 minutes.

A. What is the Ho?
B. Plot and find the EP.


Answers:
A. Ho is 62°, 23.0 minutes.
B. EP is 48°, 19 minutes by 34°, 38 minutes west.

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