Monday, August 8, 2011

An 8 Meter Story from Lake Ontario 1954

The two 8 Meters that met in 1954 live on today in Toronto.

Surviving video from the challenge.

The Canada's Cup was being challenged in 1954 by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. The Rochester Yacht Club had successfully defended the Cup for over 50 years. Both clubs had to scramble to get boats that could be competitive...


In 1954 RCYC issued a challenge for the Canada’s Cup, which had been held by Rochester Yacht Club for more than 50 years. The two clubs agreed to use existing boats but the only 8-Metres then at Rochester and Toronto were considered too outdated and there was a scramble to acquire suitable boats. Both clubs set their hopes acquiring the Olin Stephens-designed and Swedish-built Iskareen. RCYC sent George Cuthbertson, to Scotland to chase up Iskareen. Cuthbertson, who later went on to establish C&C Yachts, found that Iskareen had been bought hours before his arrival via cable from a Rochester member. “We later found out that they had picked up word of my excursion,” says Cuthbertson, “ and had acted sight unseen.”

From RYC webpage
“Iskareen was snatched out by a timely cable from Herb Wahl, from under the nose of George Cuthbertson who had flown to Scotland to buy the Swedish-built Sparkman and Stephens boat for RCYC.”

Cuthbertson studied all of the available data and suggested that the next best boat Venture II, an E. Arthur Shuman design, then in Detroit should be investigated. Both Iskareen and Venture II had built in 1938 and were considerably advanced technically over the older Eights used in the Canada’s Cup.

After Walsh had acquired Venture II, he set Cuthbertson to design and implement upgrades to her. They replaced the heavy wooden mast and lightened the hull. “She was ruthlessly stripped of anything that could be eliminated,” says Cuthbertson. Venture II was outfitted with one of the first suits of Dacron synthetic sails on the Great Lakes, although, a fine set of cotton sails was obtained as a hedge. 

In the 1954 Canada’s Cup series, Iskareen won the first race. “In the next race, Venture II evened the series which saw the lead change five times. Eventually, the Canadian boat won the series and brought the Canada’s Cup back to the north shore of Lake Ontario for the first time in 53 years. 

There was another hiatus, this time 15 years long, before the Cup was again contested in 1969.


From :
From:   North American 8 Meter Assoc.

Video of Canada's Cup racing today!

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