HMCo #446s Alerion II

S00446_Alerion_II_Stebbins_13527.jpg

Particulars

Construction_Record_Title.jpgName: Alerion II
Type: Fin Keel
Designed by: NGH
Contract: 1894-6-17
Launch: 1894-8-18
Construction: Wood
LWL: 28' (8.53m)
Beam: 7' 8" (2.34m)
Draft: 6' 0" (1.83m)
Rig: Gaff Sloop
Keel: FK
Ballast: Lead
Built for: Herreshoff, N. G.
Amount: N/A

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.


Model

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.


Text

Nathanael G. Herreshoff

"[Copyright-restricted content.]" (Source: Herreshoff, Nathanael G. Diary, 1894 to 1896. Manuscript (excerpts). Mystic Seaport Museum Collection. Manuscripts Division, call number VFM 1555. Herreshoff, Nathanael G. Diary, 1900 to 1902. Manuscript (excerpts). Access courtesy of Halsey C. Herreshoff.)

"My Own Boats. Except a few that will be mentioned as half-owner. ...
15
1894 About midsummer, I had built ALERION 2nd #446 that was 30' w.l. fin and bulb keel, jib and mainsail, and with the cloth running perpendicular to leech. This was the second suit I made, and immediately saw the advantage of it. At the present, practically all yacht sails are so made, and in every part of the world. I used her in 1894-95-96 and laid her up in 1897, as I was troubled with rheumatism and was very busy with torpedo boat design and with steam yachts. In 1898, or 1899, I sold ALERION 2nd to Mr. Alker of New York." (Source: Herreshoff, N. G. "My Own Boats. Except a few that Will be Mentioned as Half-Owner." Bristol, (originally compiled 1892 with additions in) 1929. In: Pinheiro, Carlton J. (ed.). Recollections and Other Writings by Nathanael G. Herreshoff. Bristol, 1998, p. 115-116.)

"I then designed and had built a smaller fin keel yacht that was also named ALERION. This boat twenty-seven and one-half feet waterline, about thirty-five feet on deck, and seven feet four inches wide, [with a] jib and mainsail rig, had a very satisfactory, but small, cabin. She proved a very satisfactory craft and I had her several years before selling her to Jim Alker. Under his sailing, she won many races. She was the craft from which the famous Thirty Foot Newport Class sprang and I only sold her because I was troubled with rheumatism that made it hard to handle small craft. She was about the best of the fin-keel type.
...
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. 60-62; 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. The next experiment was on my own 29' fin keel 'Alerion' in same summer over which I became very enthusiastic. ... 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

"In the fall of 1894 he had built 'Alerion II,' thirty feet W.L. fin keel, jib and mainsail. This 'Alerion' had the second suit of crosscut sails that had ever been made. 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. Captain Nat liked this Alerion' very much and used her between 1894 and 1897 when he was so busy designing steam torpedo boats for the Spanish-American War that he was unable to take time off even for sailing, so she was stored in his boathouse until 1899 when she was sold to Mr. A. H. Alker and went to Long Island Sound. This 'Alerion' by the way, was the prototype of the Newport thirty foot one-design class only differing very slightly from it." (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. 117-118.)

Other Contemporary Text Source(s)

"The new fin keeler being built for N. G. Herreshoff is nearly completed and will soon be in the water." (Source: Anon. "Yachts and Yachting." Bristol Phoenix, August 4, 1894, p. 2.)

"The Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. will not close their works as reported until later in the month, owing to numerous repairs on yachting craft and the finishing of the yacht [#446s Alerion II] now in process of construction for N. G. Herreshoff." (Source: Anon. "Home News." Bristol Phoenix, August 4, 1894, p. 2.)

"PROVIDENCE, Aug. 6 [1894]. --- Work is still brisk at the Herreshoff shops. A large force is working on the fin keel sloop now on the stocks. Her outside planks were all put in position last Friday and she was smoothed down. On Saturday [August 4, 1894] morning she was turned over to have her deck beams put in place, and her deck is now being laid. Her fin is finished and her spars are almost ready. Her sails are being made by Hathaway at the works. ...[Note: Though not identified by name, this is certainly a reference to #446s Alerion II, the only fin keel sloop under construction at HMCo during the time in question.]" (Source: Anon. "At The Herreshoffs' Works. Many New Boats in Hand, Some of Them Ready for Use." New York Sun, August 7, 1894, p. 5.)

"Nat Herreshoff took a spin in his fine [sic] keeler, the Alerion, on Sunday [November 4, 1894], and with the light breeze, she seemed to shoot like an arrow. ..." (Source: Anon. "Yachts and Yachting." Bristol Phoenix, November 6, 1894, p. 3.)

"Nat Herreshoff's fin keeler Alerion was hauled out last Tuesday [November 13, 1894], and housed for the winter in his boat bouse near Walker's Cove." (Source: Anon. "Bristol and Vicinity." Bristol Phoenix, November 16, 1894, p. 2.)

"... Last year [1894] Nat Herreshoff built two boats by way of experiment. The first was the Memory [#439s ex-Alerion I], a thirty-footer. This boat could sail like a witch. When Mr. Herreshoff went to Europe to help get the Vigilant in trim he sold the Memory to Commodore Murray of the Jamestown Yacht Club, and he raced her very successfully during the Summer. Later in the Summer, on his return from England, M. Herreshoff built the Alerion [#446s], another thirty-footer, which he sailed himself during August and September, and every one who saw the yacht declared that she was the fastest they had ever seen. These two boats were of the fin type, and were simply racing machines. ...
... Hathaway, who formerly worked for Gifford of Fall River, is making the sails for the small boats in a small room over the joiner shop. The seams are diagonal, à la the patent of Ratsey of Cowes. As the latter has a patent on sails made in this way, there may be some bother about Howard Gould's new twenty-rater [#451s Niagara] being allowed to wear them on the other side. Ratsey is a stickler for anything he gets up." (Source: Anon. "May Be A Big Fin Keel." New York Times, February 3, 1895, p. 15.)

"BRISTOL. R. I., March 23 [1895]. --- ... Nat Herreshoff is still improving [from Typhoid fever], and is daily consulted about the work on the boat. Tuesday he took the air for the first time on the veranda of his residence, and next week he may visit the shops.
The Herreshoffs will make one full suit of sails for the cup defender, and the syndicate will have one made by outside parties. This is according to the contract. The Herreshoffs have hired a room 200 feet long in the Bristol Rubber Works' new building in which to make the big mainsail. The cloths of this sail will run across the sail at right angles to the leach, instead of from boom to gaff, parallel to the leach, as is usual. The innovation is the result of Capt. Nat's experiments with a similar sail on his thirty-three-footer Alerion [#446s] last Summer. The sail will be made of ramie cloth woven from the India grass fibre from which it takes its name. It is claimed that it has extra strength and lightness over duck from Sea Island cotton. ..." (Source: Anon. "Bending The Frames." New York Times, March 24, 1895, p. 6.)

"... Just before the Colonia [#435s] sailed [on May 12, 1895], Capt. Nat Herreshoff hoisted the sail of his fin keel sloop Alerion [#446s] and showed her mettle, and his own skill, by many adroit manoeuvres in the vicinity of the big yacht. ..." (Source: Anon. "News and Notes of Local Interest." Bristol Phoenix, May 14, 1895, p. 2.)

"The fin-keeler Alerion [#446s], owned by Nathaniel G Herreshoff and the catyawl Alice [#405s], owned by Charles F. Herreshoff, Jr, were hauled out at Walker's cove Tuesday [November 1, 1898]." (Source: Anon. "Bristol and Vicinity." Bristol Phoenix, November 4, 1898, p. 2.)

"The fin keeler Alerion has been purchased by A. H. Alker of New York, owner of the steam yacht Florence [#208p], new this year." (Source: Anon. "Bristol and Vicinity." Bristol Phoenix, December 1, 1900, p. 2.)

"Oiseau [#512s], a Herreshoff boat, built last year [1899] for the twenty-five foot knockabout class, had her ballast lowered and her rig increased to the limit of the 30-foot class; and Alerion, an older Herreshoff boat, also had her rig increased after sailing a few races. ..." (Source: Mower, C. D. "The Racing on Long Island Sound." Rudder, November 1900, p. 400.)

"A yacht new to a majority of those who now race on Long Island Sound but older than any others that do any active racing is to make her appearance this summer. She is the Alerian [sic, i.e. #446s Alerion], owned by Mr. James W. Alker, who has sold his N. Y. Y. C. 30 Alera [#626s] to Mr. John L. Cutler, N. Y. Y. C. The Alerian was built by the Herreshoffs twenty-one years ago, as a model for a cup defender, and despite her age will give other yachts in the handicap class a good tussle. ..." (Source: Anon. "Yachting Notes, New York Herald, May 29, 1913, p. 12.)

"BRISTOL, R I, June 21 [1913] ... The old fin keel sloop Alerion, built for Nat Herreshoff in 1894, and now owned by the estate of A. H. Alker of New York, was launched from the Walkers Cove yard last Monday [June 16, 1913] and rigged for the first time in many years." (Source: Anon. "Bristol Notes." Boston Globe, June 22, 1913, p. 47.)

"BRISTOL, R I. July 5 [1913] --- ... The fin-keel racer Alerion, 30 feet in water line, owned by J. H. Alker, which was put overboard at Walkers Cove a week ago for the first time in 15 years, was taken to Newport last Monday to be used for cruising. ... [Note: Alerion was now owned by James Ward Alker whose father and previous owner of Alerion had died in January 1913.]" (Source: Anon. "Bristol Notes." Boston Globe, July 6, 1913, p. 47.)

"... Championship records of the handicap yacht racing class of Long Island Sound for the season of 1913 have been completed by the officers of the class. ... The best record of the class, in so far as individual races are concerned, was made by Alerion, owned by J. W. Alker. In twelve races she won six first prizes and secured second place twice, but she failed to qualify by one race. Alerion is the oldest yacht racing regularly on the Sound. She was built by Nat Herreshoff to try out the idea he finally embodied in Defender, the successful America's Cup boat of 1895, and is Defender in miniature. She never has been owned by anybody except the Alker family since she passed out of the builder's possession. ..." (Source: Anon. "Amada First in Handicap Racing." New York Times, October 27, 1913, p. 7.)

Images

Registers

1902 Manning's American Yacht List (#507)
Name: Alerion
Owner: A. H. Alker; Port: New York
Type & Rig K[eel] Sloop
LOA 40.0; LWL 27.3; Extr. Beam 7.2; Draught 6.2
Builder Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894
Note: Clubs: 63 [Larchmont]; Races 1901: Club 74 [Harlem] May 30 (1), Club 35 [Knickerbocker] June 1 (3), Club 130 [Manhasset] June 8 (1), Club 63 [Larchmont] June 17 (3), Club 25 [Seawanhaka] June 28 (2), Club 25 [Seawanhaka] June 29 (9 [?]), Club 121 [Indian Harbor] July 2 (2), Club 63 [Larchmont] July 4 (1), Club 63 [Larchmont] July 13 (3), Club 63 [Larchmont] July 17 (2), Club 63 [Larchmont] July 20 (2), Club 152 [Bridgeport] Aug 10 (4), Club 121 [Indian Harbor] Aug 17 (3), Club 63 [Larchmont] Sept (1)

1903 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#45)
Name: Alerion
Owner: A. H. Alker; Port: New York
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig K[eel] Sloop
LOA 40.0; LWL 27.3; Extr. Beam 8.6; Draught 6.6
Sailmaker Herreshoff; Sails made in [19]00
Builder Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

1905 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#51)
Name: Alerion
Owner: A. H. Alker; Port: New York
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig K[eel] Sloop
LOA 40.0; LWL 27.3; Extr. Beam 7.2; Draught 6.2
Sailmaker Ratsey&Lapthorn; Sails made in [19]02
Builder Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

1906 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#80)
Name: Alera [sic, i.e. Alerion II]
Owner: Alphonse H. Alker; Port: New York
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig BF [Bulb Fin], TC [Trunk Cabin], Slp
LOA 40-0; LWL 27-4; Extr. Beam 7-3; Draught 6-3
Sailmaker R&L [Ratsey&Lapthorn New York]; Sails made in [19]02
Builder Her. M. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

1912 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#96)
Name: Alerion
Owner: Alphonse H. Alker; Port: New York
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig F [Fin-Keel], TC [Trunk Cabin], Slp
LOA 40-0; LWL 27-4; Extr. Beam 7-3; Depth 4-0; Draught 6-3
Sailmaker R&L [Ratsey&Lapthorn New York]; Sails made in [19]02
Builder Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

1914 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#103)
Name: Alerion
Owner: James W. Alker; Port: New York
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig F [Fin-Keel], TC [Trunk Cabin], Slp
LOA 40-0; LWL 27-4; Extr. Beam 7-3; Depth 4-0; Draught 6-3
Sailmaker R&L [Ratsey&Lapthorn New York]; Sails made in [19]02
Builder Herreshoff Mfg. Co.; Designer N. G. Herreshoff; Built where Bristol, R.I.; Built when 1894

1917 Lloyd's Register of American Yachts (#93)
Name: Alerion
Owner: James W. Alker; Port: Great Neck, L.I.
Building Material Wood; Type & Rig F [Fin-Keel], TC [Trunk Cabin], Slp
LOA 40-0; LWL 27-4; Extr. Beam 7-3; Depth 4-0; Draught 6-3
Sailmaker R&L [Ratsey&Lapthorn New York]; Sails made in [19]15
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.

Supplement

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: Alerion
Type: J & M
Length: 28'
Owner: Herreshoff, N. G.

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: Alerion II
Type: 27' 3" fin keeler; 1894-5
Owner: N. G. Herreshoff
Year: 1894
Row No.: 14

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: June
Day: 17
Year: 1894
E/P/S: S
No.: 0446
Name: Alerion
LW: 28'
B: 7' 8"
D: 6' 0"
Rig: J & M
K: FK
Ballast: Lead
Last Name: H.
First Name: N. G.

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)

"Built in 62 days (contract to launch)." (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.

Note

Copyright considerations prevented the reproduction of some text and/or images. If you have a valid research interest and do not have access to the cited original source(s), you may contact us by using the link below for assistance in obtaining more complete information.

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Herreshoff Catalogue Raisonné.
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Citation: HMCo #446s Alerion II. Herreshoff Catalogue Raisonné. http://herreshoff.info/Docs/S00446_Alerion_II.htm.