January 8, 2015

Yacht Atlantic

GH2L0488 The Atlantic was built in 1903 by Townsend and Downey shipyard, and designed by William Gardner, for Wilson Marshall. The three-masted schooner was skippered by Charlie Barr and it set the record for fastest transatlantic passage by a monohull in the 1905 Kaiser’s Cup race. The record remained unbroken for nearly 100 years.

In 1905, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany proposed a race across the North Atlantic and put forward a solid gold cup to be presented to the winner. Eleven boats including the Kaiser’s yacht Hamburg and the schooner Atlantic skippered by Charlie Barr took part.

Trans Atlantic Sailing Record

The competitors encountered strong winds and gales which ensured a fast passage time and all eleven boats finished the race. Atlantic won, breaking the existing record with a time of 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds. The record stood for 75 years until broken by Eric Tabarly sailing the trimaran Paul Ricard. However Atlantic’s monohull record stood for nearly 100 years until was broken in 1997 by the yacht Nicorette completing the crossing in 11 days 13 hours 22 minutes.

War Time Service

Following the United States declaration of war on Germany in April 1917, Atlantic was acquired by the Navy on 10 June 1917 and commissioned as USS Atlantic II (SP 651) on 28 July 1917 with Lieutenant C. S. Keller in command.

She was assigned to Patrol Force, Atlantic Fleet, and cruised along the east coast until November 1917 when she was assigned duty as a guard ship at Yorktown, Va., and tender to a squadron of submarine chasers. In January 1919 she was assigned to the 5th Naval District.

She was decommissioned on 11 June 1919 at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was sold to a private owner on 24 July 1919. Atlantic was acquired by the Coast Guard and commissioned on 1 April 1941. She was assigned hull number WIX-271. She was assigned to Coast Guard Headquarters but was stationed at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut where she was used for cadet training. She was decommissioned on 27 October 1947 and sold to a private owner on 10 September 1948.

Later Years

Atlantic deteriorated and sank at the dock in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1982, the wreckage was removed for the installation of a floating dry dock at Metro Machine Shipyard. Her rudder is located at the Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island.