How could you possibly make America great again? Build a replica and take people sailing aboard her.
Watching her silhouette enter the Cape May harbor at sunrise this past Wednesday reminded us just how great the America yacht was at one time. America, the 139 foot, black hulled racing schooner, visited Cape May for two days, Wednesday and Thursday.
America arrived after a brief mechanical delay in Barnaget, New Jersey with plans to take Cape May residents and visitors sailing twice a day. Some residents from Long Beach Island followed her to Cape May in order to not miss out sailing aboard her sleek low back racing design.
Dennis and Leslee Ferray of Long Beach Island made the day trip to Cape May to sail this historic replica. “I have been sailing since I was a young girl” said Leslee Ferray. “Driving down from LBI was a no brainer, it’s the chance of a lifetime” she added.
America was built as an example of superiority in naval power for the Great Exhibition of 1851, held in England. That same year, ‘America’ won the ‘Royal Yacht Squadrons’ 100 Guinea Cup given to the winner of a race around the Isle of Wight. This later became known as America’s cup.
“The opportunity to sail on this classic Americas cup vessel – the one that started it all, was electrifying.” Said Carolinn Pocher-Woody of Cape May. “My dad was an open ocean racer from way back. He sailed the transAtlantic race in 1960. The best part of the trip for me, with seeing his enjoyment in being back on the water,” she added.
America’s history also includes a stint in the Civil War as a Confederate ship used to out run Union army blockades. The Confederate army sank the America in the St. John river during the battle of Jacksonville. The Union army later salvaged her and added cannons to the America for the duration of the war.
The original America was destroyed during World War II. The near perfect replica built in 1995 at a cost of more than $6 million with a draft (depth) of 11.5–feet barely made it through the channel of Cape May harbor. A hat tip to Mark Allen and those who beat the drum for dredging the harbor.
America was hosted by the Corinthian Yacht Club of Cape May and docked at South Jersey Marina in Lower Township. Visitors boarded the yacht for free tours during the vessels stay and afternoon sails and sunset sails were ticketed events. Again a hat tip to Carl Behrens and Mark Allen for spear heading the intiative
Philadelphia was next on America’s itinerary and then on to the Chesapeake Bay with a stop in Chestertown Maryland and St. Michael’s.
This blog post was also featured on the front page of the Cape May Star and Wave on Wednesday September 7th 2016
Nice play on words! It truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity to sail aboard this iconic vessel!