Friday, February 15, 2019
Herreshoff yacht, Reliance
This sloop- is it a sloop?- was America's entry for the America's Cup in 1903. The design made use of a loophole in the rules, that when heeled over, due to the bow and stern overhangs the waterline length greatly increased from 89 feet 8 inches at dock (just meeting the 90 foot limit) to about 130. Someone once explained to me why this is so, but an increase in hull length means an increase in the speed of a boat. I didn't understand it then and still don't really.
The hull was light as could be, 3/16" bronze plates over a light steel frame. The deck was 1/4" aluminum plate. The 19 foot deep keel was where the weight was, it was filled with 100 tons of lead.
Due to a 199 foot mast and long bowsprit and boom (totalling the overall boat length at 200 feet) there was 16,000 sq feet of canvas to propel the boat. It was the first yacht to have winches for the sails below deck. Despite the powered winches, there were still 64 crew members. To save weight the boat was completely unfinished below decks. The boat soundly defeated the English challenger Shamrock III in all three races.
The boat was sold for scrap 10 years later.