A Close Race. AURORA, BEATRICE and AMERICA are close together passing Osbourne House
during the race for the One Hundred Guinea Cup (the first America's Cup), on Friday, August 22, 1851
Oil            26" x 40"            SOLD

The racing yachts present a wonderful sight as they pass Osborne House, Queen Victoria's residence on the Isle of Wight. The Queen's royal yacht, VICTORIA and ALBERT is just leaving her mooring, close beneath Osborne House. A small open boat, with tan sails is being overtaken by the fleet. To windward of AMERICA is the 47 ton cutter AURORA (second yacht to finish after AMERICA) and the 161 ton schooner BEATRICE. Just astern of AMERICA is the small white cutter WILDFIRE, (an unofficial starter because she carried moveable sand bags of ballast- but actually finished the race ahead of America) the large 218 ton schooner CONSTANCE and the 60 ton cutter FREAK. The 48 ton cutter VOLANTE and the 160 ton schooner GYPSY QUEEN are leading the race, just out of the painting.

The race started for the yachts off The Castle, Cowes. As was the practice of the time, all yachts were anchored, and hoisted their sails after the starting gun. AMERICA had a late start after sailing over her anchor while hoisting her sails. She had to drop her sails in order to retrieve her anchor first. By the time she reached Osborne House she had already passed many in the fleet of 15 yachts. The wind has shifted from the west into the south and is increasing to a beautiful full sail breeze. The cutters are carrying very large balloon jibs and the topsail schooners have large square foresails, held out to windward by an extra boom. Their huge mainsails are also set ‘loose footed’ unlike AMERICA’s, which is lashed to the main boom. AMERICA, with her heavily raked masts, has her new extra flying jib set. The jib-boom, holding the flying jib out beyond the bowsprit broke off when the wind increased later in the race, so AMERICA finished the race without it. She won the 53 mile round the Isle of Wight race and the One Hundred Guinea Cup, which is now known as The America’s Cup.

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