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topsail schooner, bound in the other direction.
But it was Christmas-eve, and we were
almost in the land of Christmas. A full table
was spread, and a venerable figure of Father
Christmas, carefully concealed since we left
New York, was produced by the chief. There
was high wassail, but there was also much
anxiety at heart. While the festivities were
in progress, we were called on deck to see the
Scilly Island lights. This marvellous landfall
won us the race. Captain Samuels had brought
the Henrietta from Sandy Hook to the Scilly
Islands, without making a single tack, and
having varied only eleven miles from the
straightest possible route between the two
places. Seamanship had conquered speed, and
the slowest yacht was to be the first to pass
the winning-post. On Christmas Day, under
every stitch of canvas, with even her stay-sail
set, and with her colours floating lightly in the
breeze, the Henrietta flashed by the Needles,
and the judges on board decided that the
conditions of the race had been rigidly observed.
Down went our racing flag. As it fell, the
yacht turned into the Cowes Channel, the hills
shut out the wind, and, like a racer who drops
into a walk when the contest is over, the
Henrietta slackened her speed and floated leisurely
along. The people waved her a welcome from
the hill-tops, and Hurst Castle dipped its flag
as a salute. Nobody had expected her so soon.
When, in the dusk of evening, her blue lights
and rockets announced her arrival off Cowes,
the town was taken by surprise. In thirteen
days twenty-two hours and forty-six minutes,
she had crossed the Atlantic. Commodore
M'Vickar, who was to come over in a steamer
to decide the race, had not yet arrived. Only
one member of the Royal Yacht Squadron was
at Cowes to do the honours of the club-house.
The cry of all visitors was: "You are before
your time!" Nevertheless, an English welcome
was not lacking, and before midnight all hands
were at home in Cowes. An hour or two later
the Fleetwing and the Vesta dropped into
harbour in the darkness, beaten but not
disgraced. The Fleetwing brought the dreadful
story of the loss of six brave men. The Vesta
had not shipped a sea, and claimed to have
been carried out of her course by an incompetent
channel pilot. But the charts of the race
reveal the real secret. While the Henrietta
had been steering a straight course, the other
two yachts had been zig-zagging to the northward
and southward. The Henrietta had taken
the shortest line; they had chosen the longest.
Then another triumph awaited the little yacht.
By direction of the Admiralty, Captain Luard,
of Her Britannic Majesty's ironclad Hector,
sent a midshipman on board to offer Mr.
Bennett the facilities of the royal dockyard for
repairs; but nothing was out of order, no
repairs were necessary; and the generous
offer was gratefully declined. To have made
such a voyage without the loss of a spar, a
shred of canvas, or a bit of rope, was almost a
modern miracle.

But, strangely enough, the victory of the
Henrietta distracted attention from the very
point which the Ocean Yacht Race of 1866 was
originally designed to settle. Had the Vesta
won, yachtsmen on both sides the Atlantic
would have been immersed in the mysteries of
centre-board yachts, and we might have had
another revolution similar to that caused by the
triumph of the America. The Vesta did not win;
but she crossed the Atlantic with perfect safety,
rode out severe gales easily, and sailed into
Cowes only a few hours behind the winner,
though she was less skilfully navigated.
That the Vesta was much faster than either
of her rivals on smooth water, seems to have
been conceded, and we have seen that she held
her own with them upon the ocean. The
problem in regard to centre-board boats which
her record presents, has been shirked by the
opponents of that style of yacht-building; but
its advocates claim for it greater speed,
increased solidity in rough water, and unequalled
buoyancy in all waters. It is remarkable that,
in a race arranged to test these very claims,
the performances of the Vesta should be
ignored as though they had decided nothing.
The Vesta and the Fleetwing still belong to
the New York Yacht Club, and will doubtless
have to be encountered by those English
yachtsmen who, sooner or later, will emulate
the example of the Americans and cross the
ocean to regain the trophy won by the America
and now held as a challenge cup for foreign
yachts. The Henrietta, having been offered
as a New Year's gift to Prince Alfred, who
was not at liberty to accept so valuable a
present, has since been sold by her owner for
fifty thousand dollars. Her victory, though
it neither confirmed nor upset any theories as
to models, has yet led indirectly to important
results. The hospitalities extended to her
owner and his friends by English yachtsmen
have encouraged other American yachtsmen to
visit England, and opened the way to the recent
contest between the Harvard and Oxford crews.
Such international contests and courtesies
benefit both countries. Two American yachts,
the Sappho and the Dauntless, are now in
English waters and have contended, as yet not
very successfully, with English yachts. As it
is no further from England to America, than
from America to England, and as the
hospitalities of both countries are equally generous,
we hope that in another year these yachting
visits will be returned. And, like the Americans,
we wish, in advance, the best of good fortune
"to the yachtsman who goes in his own boat."


'Tis time that I should loose from life at last
This heart's unworthy longing for the past,
                       Ere life be turned to loathing.
For love, at least this love of one for one,
Is, at the best, not all beneath the sun,
                       And at the worst, 'tis nothing.

Not that, of all the past, I would forget
One pleasure or one pain. I cherish yet,
                       And would dishonour never,
All I have felt. But, cherish'd tho' it be,
'Tis time my past should set my future free,
                     For life's renew'd endeavour.