A Power Boat Prophecy [1900]

Yachts and Yachtsmen

When Charles Fleming Day, editor of The Rudder, told the members of the Hartford Yacht Club at their present annual dinner that the days of sailing cruisers were numbered, his remarks did not exactly meet with the approval of the sailing enthusiasts in the audience.

Mr. Day, however, persisted in his prophecy, and when one of the diners gave expression to his disbelief, replied "Just wait a while, my friend, we'll see you on a motor yacht before many seasons." Indications of the past and present seasons certainly point to the decadence of the sailing cruiser.

The most characteristic feature both last year and this in the yachting market has been the demand for small auxiliary yachts. Said one designer and broker a day or two ago: "I have had ten applications for small power boats to one not equipped as an auxiliary. Of course this applies to cruisers and not to racing craft. The sailing racer will last as long as the sport, but I expect to see the day when racers will be carried on the davits of steam yachts. Our racers are now being built so that there is no comfort in living aboard."

There are several reasons for the gradual passing away of the one-time popular sailing cruisers. Chief, perhaps, is the growing cheapness of small auxiliary engines.

Another reason which Mr. Day urges as of no small importance is the difficulty in obtaining reliable sailing crews, which he says has acted like the servant girl problem in the struggle between private houses and the apartment plan.

Many enthusiastic yachtsmen have been driven from the large sailing cruisers because of unpleasant experiences with their seamen and commanders. For comfort they now use their motor craft, and for sport return to small racers which they can handle themselves with the help of a few friends, like themselves, amateurs.

(Transcribed from the New York Times, April 1, 1900, Sect. II p. 22. )

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page]


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Leslie Field, 1999