HMCo #442s Houri



Construction_Record_Title.jpgName: Houri
Type: Larchmont One-Design Fin Keel
Designed by: NGH
Contract: 1894-4-1
Launch: 1894-5-28
Construction: Wood
LOA: 31' (9.45m)
LWL: 21' (6.40m)
Beam: 6' 2" (1.88m)
Draft: 5' 4" (1.63m)
Construction Class and Number: #442-1
Rig: Gaff Sloop
Sail Area: 600sq ft (55.7sq m)
Keel: FK
Ballast: Lead
Built for: Duncan, W. Butler
Amount: $1,300.00
Note(s) in HMCo Construction Record: 4 Boats on moulds #442
Last reported: 1914 (aged 20)

Note(s): Vessel information is primarily but not exclusively from the HMCo Construction Record. Supplementary information when not cited here usually appears elsewhere in this record with a complete citation.
"[Sail area 600sq ft.]" (Source: Anon. "The Houri A Fast One." New York Times, June 2, 1894, p. 3.=


Model #6

Model number: 6
Model location: H.M.M. Model Room East Wall

Vessels from this model:
12 built, modeled by NGH
#442s Houri (1894)
#443s Adelaide (1894)
#444s Vaquero I (1894)
#445s Dorothy (1894)
#446s Alerion II (1894)
#447s Celia (1894)
#453s Vaquero II (1895)
#454s Lagofa (1895)
#457s Osprey (1895)
#458s Mist (1895)
#478s [Half-rater for A. J. Drexel] (1896)
#496s Spook (1898)

Original text on model:
"21' WL of 1894 (No. 442, 443, 444, 445, 447 28' 446 ALERION 2 scale)
1895 (28' WL 453 VAQUERO 15" scale ________ 12" scale, 454 LAGODA 19' 6", No. 457 OSPREY 15' 7" WL,
1896 458 27' WL, 478 15'7" WL 1/2 RATER" (Source: Original handwritten annotation on model. Undated.)

Model Description:
"#442 Houri, 21' lwl fin-keel sloop of 1894. Also used for #443 Adelaide, #444 Vaquero, #445 Dorothy, #447 Ceila, and with scale change for #446 Alerion, 28' lwl of 1894, #453 Vaquero II, 26' lwl of 1895, #495 Lagofa, 19'6" lwl of 1895, #457 Osprey, 14'5" lwl of 1895, #458 Mist, 27' lwl of 1895, and #478, 14'5" lwl half-rater of 1896." (Source: Bray, Maynard. 2004.)

Related model(s):
Model 1109 by NGH? (1897?); sail, not built
{?}: Fin Keel???

Note: Vessels that appear in the records as not built, a cancelled contract, a study model, or as a model sailboat are listed but not counted in the list of vessels built from a model.


Offset booklet number(s): HH.4.90

Offset booklet contents:
#442 [21' w.l. finkeel sloop Houri].

Source: Hasselbalch, Kurt with Frances Overcash and Angela Reddin. Guide to The Haffenreffer-Herreshoff Collection. Francis Russell Hart Nautical Collections, MIT Museum, Cambridge, Mass., 1997, p. 32-43.

Raw Offset Info Database Entry

Microfilm Reel No. (Hart Nautical Offset Info): HAFH.4.5B
Box No. (Hart Nautical Offset Info): HAFH.4.5B
Acc. No. (Hart Nautical Offset Info): HH.4.90
Vessel Descr. (Hart Nautical Offset Info): #442 [21' w.l. finkeel sloop Houri]


Nathanael G. Herreshoff

"[1894-04-17] Tue 17: Have order for #442 [Houri], 21' fin keeler, from Mr. Duncan.
[1894-04-27] Fri 27: Set up frames for #442 [Houri]. ...
[1894-04-28] Sat 28: Began planking #442 [Houri]. ...
[1894-05-03] Thu 3: Finished planking #442 [Houri].
[1894-05-28] Mon 28: Launched #442 [Houri].
[1894-05-29] Tue 29: Trial of #442 [Houri].
[1894-05-30] Wed 30: Off in Houri #442." (Source: Herreshoff, Nathanael G. Diary, 1894. Manuscript (excerpts). Mystic Seaport Museum Collection. Manuscripts Division, call number VFM 1555.)

"In this spring (1894), we built the twenty-one foot Larchmont Class of fin keel, jib and mainsail craft, and Wilson and Silsby of Boston were making our sails and had for about all craft since the advent of GLORIANA. It appeared very uncertain about obtaining good setting sails. Asa Hathaway [Noted sailmaker and foreman of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company's sail loft] came to us the year before to make the awnings and other canvas work for our steamers. I got interested, the previous winter, in trying to find out how to make good setting sails and made many experiments on sail cloth. I soon discovered that due to the principle of weaving, the 'take up' on the warp was much more on the filling or weft, and that, quite naturally, sailcloth would stretch much more lengthwise than crosswise. As a sail is stretched much the hardest in [the] direction of the unsupported side, the leach, it appeared the filling should be done in that direction. I talked it well over with John and we decided to try it on some sails. The first one was made for one of the Larchmont Class [HOURI] by consent of her owner, W. Butler Duncan. I had not an opportunity of trying it, as I was leaving for the VIGILANT trip abroad. I, having sold ALERION #1, was having ALERION #2 built while away, and I decided to try our own made 'cross-cut' sails on her. I could see, at once, the wonderful advantage in yacht sails by having them cut that way." (Source: Herreshoff, N. G. "Some of the Boats I Have Sailed In." Written 1934. In: Pinheiro, Carlton J. (ed.). Recollections and Other Writings by Nathanael G. Herreshoff. Bristol, 1998, p. 62.)

"Oct 29 1935 {1935/10/29} N. G. HERRESHOFF 6 WALLEY STREET BRISTOL, RHODE ISLAND Dear Francis, ... I was quite surprised as well as pleased at your long letter to Uffa - and of what you had said of my active life and perhaps more than I deserve. ... [p2] 2 I will offer a few comments - On p.2 My outstanding achievements, ... #5 cross cut sails This I consider one of the most important, and revolutionized the making of yachts the world over - insuring very much better 'set' of sails, Our first made, as experiment was in spring of 1894, and one of the Larchmont Class of `21 fin keelers - going to Butler Duncan. ... Your affect - Father - " (Source: Mystic Seaport Museum, L. Francis Herreshoff Collection, Box 17, Folder 11: Letter from N. G. Herreshoff to L. F. Herreshoff.)

L. Francis Herreshoff

"The crosscut sail had been invented by Captain Nat about 1893 and, I believe, the first one used was on one of the Larchmont one-design fin keelers built by the Herreshoffs for Mr. W. B. Duncan." (Source: Herreshoff, L. Francis. The Wizard of Bristol. The Life and Achievements of Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, together with An Account of Some of the Yachts he Designed. New York, 1953, p. 117.)

Other Contemporary Text Source(s)

"... BRISTOL, R.I., May 23 [1894]. --- The Herreshoff shops have started up, after quite a shutdown, and a good force of men is busy in finishing the three twenty-one-footers so far ordered for the Larchmont's new class. Mr. C. Oliver Iselin's boat [Adelaide #443s] is about ready for a trial. She is a fin keel of 21 feet water line, 31 feet over all, 6 1/2 feet beam, and 5 feet draft, with Tobin bronze fin and balance rudder. She will carry the full 600 feet of sail allowed by the class rules and will have about 2,500 pounds of lead on her fin. She is lightly yet strongly built, with oak frames and single planking of white cedar. She has an open cockpit. Her topsides are white, deck bright, and bottom green. The other boats are for F. W. Butler Duncan, Jr. [#442s Houri], and Herman B. Duryea [#444s Vaquero I], and are like Mr. Iselin's. They are well along. ..." (Source: Anon. "The Twenty-One-Footers. Herreshoff Shops Opened to Complete the New Yachts for Larchmont." New York Times, May 24, 1894, p. 3.)

"The Herreshoff Manufacturing Co., launched the first 21 ft yacht built by them for the Larchmont Yacht Club, on Monday [May 28, 1894] last, leaving one more in process of construction. The boat was built for W. Butler Duncan and is a fin keeler, constructed of yellow pine, is a substantial looking little craft and has a racy look from stem to stern. The fin is of Tobin bronze metal, with a bulb of lead attached to the lowest point. Her name is the Honira [sic, i.e. #442s Houri].
In a short time the second one [#443s Adelaide] now building for C. Oliver Islin, will be launched and the others will follow. All these boats will measure 21 ft water line, 31 ft over all and will carry a mainsail, jib, and spinaker. ...
The Viva [#102p ex-Gov. Hamilton] took in tow the Honira [sic, i.e. #442s Houri], the new boat built for Mr. Duncan of New York, and also the racing boat Acis [#441s], built for Mr. Francke, who will sail in the Far Rockaway Regatta the coming season." (Source: Anon. "Yachts and Yachting." Bristol Phoenix, June 2, 1894, p. 2.)

"NEW-LONDON, Conn., June 1 [1894]. --- The trim little steam yacht Avis, with John B. Herreshoff and family on board, came in here this forenoon about 10 o clock with a fresh breeze against her and a strong tide running. She ran up near the steamer Chelsea's pier, but before she came to an anchor a Block Island catboat in charge of Manuel Allen, her owner, ran across the bow of the Avis and lost her sheet as a result. The Avis's bowsprit ran through it and tore it the entire length from gaff to boom. Skipper Allen said he did not notice that the yacht was under steam.
The Avis is on her way to New-York with William Butler Duncan's new sloop Houri [#442s], just built by the Herreshoff Company, and the catboat Acis [#441s], built for Lewis C. Francke of New-York. The Houri was launched Monday [May 28, 1894]. She has already demonstrated her speed to Mr. Duncan's satisfaction, having outsailed everything she encountered in her trial run at Bristol, and at Fall River Wednesday, while a regatta was in progress, she ran away from the fastest craft entered in the contests. The Houri measures 31 feet over all, is 20 feet 7 inches on the water line, and has a sail area of 600 square feet. She is a typical Herreshoff boat, with long overhanging stern and high bow. She is fitted with ballast, fin painted white, and looks every inch a racer. ... Both boats will be delivered to their owners to-morrow, for the Avis left here before sundown on her way to New-York. [Note: The article apparently confuses the names of steamyacht and catboat. The catboat's name was Acis or Avis, while J. B. Herreshoff used the steamyacht Eugenia I #178p during the summer of 1894.]" (Source: Anon. "The Houri A Fast One. Outsailed Every Yacht She Encountered at Bristol and Fall River. " New York Times, June 2, 1894, p. 3.)

"... Commodore Pryer of the Corinthian-Mosquito fleet offered a handsome silver cup for the 21-footers to race for yesterday, and, incidentally, to give the New-Rochellites a chance to see a good race between this new racing class. The yachtsmen who own these boats appreciated Commodore Pryer's offer so much that eight started in the contest for the cup, and of this number two made their first appearance in a race. ... The cup was won by W. Butler Duncan, Jr.'s, Houri. The Vaquero [#444s], handled by Herman Duryea, gave the Houri a hard race, but was beaten by 23 seconds. ..." (Source: Anon. "Houri Won The Pryer Cup. Beat The Vaquero Twenty-Three Seconds Yesterday. " New York Times, July 15, 1894, p. 3.)

"E. Burton Hart, Jr., of the Indian Harbor and Huguenot Yacht Clubs, bought the fast 21-foot Herreshoff boat Houri from W. Butler Duncan yesterday. He will refit her and race her all through the coming season." (Source: Anon. "E. B. Hart, Jr. , Buys the Houri." New York World, March 30, 1895, p. 5.)

"... In the Larchmont Yacht Club 21-foot one-design class the racing was particularly interesting, as all four boats took part in about 12 races. This class was built by Herreshoff several years ago, and has raced consistently each season since. Dorothy [#445s] won the class honors for the past season with 6 firsts, 3 seconds, and 1 third, and was disabled twice. Vaquero II [sic, i.e. Vaquero I #444s] took second place with 3 firsts, 4 seconds and 4 thirds. Houri [#442s] beat Adelaide [#443s] for third place, having 3 firsts, 2 seconds and 3 thirds. ..." (Source: Granberry, G. P. "Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound." Rudder, May 1905, p. 343.)

"The 'Newport thirties' mentioned under one-design classes, were originally started as a restricted class, but the Herreshoff boats which were all alike proved so much superior to the others that the latter soon dropped out and it became to all intents and purposes simply a one-design class; the same thing applies to the 'Larchmont twenty-ones,' originally a very large class built a few years before the thirties, and four Herreshoff members of which are still racing, but for about the last ten years as one-design boats." (Source: Hoyt, C. Sherman. "The Professional and the Amateur in Yacht Racing." Outing Magazine, September 1907, p. 755.)

"... One of the oldest of the one-design classes, the Larchmont 21-footers of 1894, open fin-keel sloops, had four survivors; Dorothy, Houri, Vaquera and Follette; this class has shown a wonderful vitality, the hulls lasting well and retaining their popularity. ..." (Source: Anon. [Title?] Power Boating, vol. 3, 1907, [p. 33?].)

"The fin keelers reached their zenith in the so-called Newport thirties. Members of the fashionable Newport colony had a one design class of these boats built from mahogany, thirty feet long on the waterline, in 1896 by the Herreshoff Mfg. Co. and for many years after this class gave excellent racing. The Vaquero III [#468s] owned and sailed by Herman Duryea was the champion in this class.
The year before, in 1895 [sic, i.e. 1894], members of the Larchmont Yacht Club had a class of 21 footers, that were the prototype of [the Newport 30] class, built by the Herreshoffs.
These boats were 21 feet long on the water, 30 feet on deck, 6ft 6ins wide and drew 5ft 3 inches [and] were named Vaquero [#444s], Celia [#447s], Houri [#442s] and Adelaide [#443s]." (Source: Davis, Charles G. "Recollections of Boats and Boatbuilders about New York. 1884 to 1914." Handwritten manuscript in the Collection of Mystic Seaport Museum. No date (1920s), p. 40.)



1903 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#728)
Name: Houri
Owner: J. H. Esser; Port: Larchmont, N.Y.
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig Fin K[eel] Sloop, Raceabout
LOA 30.5; LWL 20.5
Sailmaker Wilson & Griffin; Sails made in [19]02; Sail Area 600
Builder Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Designer Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

1905 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#784)
Name: Houri
Owner: J. H. Esser; Port: Larchmont, N.Y.
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig Fin. K[eel] Sloop
LOA 30.5; LWL 20.5; Extr. Beam 7.0; Draught 5.7
Sailmaker Wilson & Griffin; Sails made in [19]02; Sail Area 600
Builder Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

1906 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#1276)
Name: Houri
Owner: J. H. Esser; Port: Larchmont, N.Y.
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig BF [Bulb Fin], HD [Half Deck], Slp
LOA 30-6; LWL 21-0; Extr. Beam 7-0; Draught 5-9
Sailmaker W&G üWilson & Griffin] and HMCo.; Sails made in [19]04; Sail Area 600
Builder Her. M. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

1912 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#1301)
Name: Houri
Owner: D. E. Dealy; Port: New Rochelle, N.Y.
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig BF [Bulb Fin], HD [Half Deck], Slp
LOA 30-0; LWL 21-0; Extr. Beam 6-6; Draught 5-3
Sailmaker R&L [Ratsey&Lapthorn New York]; Sails made in [19]10; Sail Area 600
Builder Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

1914 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#1325)
Name: Houri
Owner: D. B. Helm; Port: Travers Island, N. Y.
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig BF [Bulb Fin], HD [Half Deck], Slp
LOA 30-0; LWL 21-0; Extr. Beam 6-6; Draught 5-3
Sailmaker R&L [Ratsey&Lapthorn New York]; Sails made in [19]10; Sail Area 600
Builder Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

Source: Various Yacht Lists and Registers. For complete biographical information see the Herreshoff Catalogue Raisonné under Data Sources. Note that this section shows only snapshots in time and should not be considered a provenance, although it can help creating one.


From the 1920 and earlier HMCo Index Cards at the MIT Museum
  • Note: The vessel index cards comprise two sets of a total of some 3200 cards about vessels built by HMCo, with dimensions and information regarding drawings, later or former vessel names, and owners. They were compiled from HMCo's early days until 1920 and added to in later decades, apparently by Hart Nautical curator William A. Baker and his successors. While HMCo seems to have used only one set of index cards, all sorted by name and, where no name was available, by number, later users at MIT apparently divided them into two sets of cards, one sorted by vessel name, the other by vessel number and greatly expanded the number of cards. Original HMCo cards are usually lined and almost always punched with a hole at bottom center while later cards usually have no hole, are unlined, and often carry substantially less information. All cards are held by the Francis Russell Hart Nautical Collections of the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Mass.
From the 1931 HMCo-published Owner's List

Name: Houri
Type: J & M
Length: 21'
Owner: Duncan, W. B., Jr.

Source: Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. "A Partial List of Herreshoff Clients." In: Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. Herreshoff Yachts. Bristol, Rhode Island, ca. 1931.

From the 1930s L. Francis Herreshoff Index Cards at the Herreshoff Marine Museum
  • Note: The L. Francis Herreshoff index cards comprise a set of some 1200 cards about vessels built by HMCo, with dimensions and / or ownership information. Apparently compiled in the early 1930s, for later HMCo-built boats like the Fishers Island 23s or the Northeast Harbor 30s are not included. Added to in later decades, apparently by L. F. Herreshoff as well as his long-time secretary Muriel Vaughn and others. Also 46 cards of L. F. Herreshoff-designed vessels. The original set of index cards is held by the Herreshoff Marine Museum and permission to display is gratefully acknowledged.
From the 1953 HMCo Owner's List by L. Francis Herreshoff

Name: Houri
Type: 20' 5" fin keel sloop
Owner: Butler Duncan
Year: 1894
Row No.: 285

Source: Herreshoff, L. Francis. "Partial List of Herreshoff-Built Boats." In: Herreshoff, L. Francis. Capt. Nat Herreshoff. The Wizard of Bristol. New York, 1953, p. 325-343.

From the 2000 (ca.) Transcription of the HMCo Construction Record by Vermilya/Bray

Month: Apr
Day: 1
Year: 1894
E/P/S: S
No.: 0442
Name: Houri
LW: 21'
B: 6' 2"
D: 5' 4"
Rig: J & M
Ballast: Lead
Amount: $1300.00
Notes Constr. Record: 4 boats on moulds #442
Last Name: Duncan
First Name: W. B.

Source: Vermilya, Peter and Maynard Bray. "Transcription of the HMCo. Construction Record." Unpublished database, ca. 2000.

Note: The transcription of the HMCo Construction Record by Peter Vermilya and Maynard Bray was performed independently (and earlier) than that by Claas van der Linde. A comparison of the two transcriptions can be particularly useful in those many cases where the handwriting in the Construction Record is difficult to decipher.

Link to the Herreshoff Registry

The Herreshoff Registry can be particularly useful for researching the provenance of Herreshoff-built sailing vessels. Permission to link to the Registry is gratefully acknowledged!

Research Note(s)

"LOA 31ft." (Source: Anon. "The Twenty-One-Footers. Herreshoff Shops Opened to Complete the New Yachts for Larchmont." New York Times, May 24, 1894, p. 3.)

"Plan 75-37 shows that the Larchmont 21s carried two different sail plans, one with 500 square feet, the other with 600 square feet." (Source: van der Linde, Claas. April 16, 2013.)

"Houri carried the first cross-cut sails ever made. But note that the book 'A Hundred Years of Sail' by Beken carries as its first photo a curious image of the famous cutter Bloodhound carrying cross-cut sails. The photo is said to have been taken in 1880, but is of very high quality which suggests it was taken much later when photo technology was more advanced. The exact date this photo was taken should be researched." (Source: van der Linde, March 4, 2015.)

"Built in 57 days (contract to launch; equivalent to $23/day)." (Source: van der Linde, Claas. January 1, 2018.)

Note: Research notes contain information about a vessel that is often random and unedited but has been deemed useful for future research.


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Citation: HMCo #442s Houri. Herreshoff Catalogue Raisonné.