Probably no American yacht has been oftener pictured than the famous schooner America, yet the negative of the ret photograph made of her while under way is preserved in Boston today.
It was made nearly 24 years ago, in 1883, when the photographing of moving objects was a novelty.
N. L. Stebbins, the veteran photographer of Boston, was a pioneer in photographing vessels under sail, making his rst pictures of that kind in the spring of time to tie a vessel up fore and aft if she was to be photographed with her sails up. Of course the work could be done only in calm weather, and the picture didn't look very spirited. I was the first photographer to get results with photographs of vessels in motion."
The picture herewith was made from a print taken by Mr. Stebbins a few days ago from his original negative, which is still in good condition.
it is interesting to yachtsmen from a technical standpoint, as it shows the winner of the America cup in a
Gen. Butler then owned the America, which h had bought in 1873 at an auction sale at Annapolis, where, since the war, the celebrated yacht has been stationed. His sailing master was Capt. James H. Reid, a Boston branch pilot, who hearing that Mr. Stebbins could photograph a vessel in motion, called on him, and arranged to have a picture taken of the America.
Mr. Stebbins went down the harbor on a tug, and off Boston Light Capt. Reid put the America through her paces, in a moderate breeze, with all her light sails on.
"The picture was one of the wonders of the times," said Mr. Stebbins recently. "People had never seen any-tning like it before. It had been customary up to that rig which she no longer carries. This rig was given her in 1880, when she was rebuilt from plans by Edward Burgess, and was carried until 1885, when the headrig shown here was discarded and a pole bowsprit was put in.
When built, in 1851, the America was rigged with but one topmast. Her sail plan was considerably narrower on the base than the one shown here, though her masts were taller. When she left this country for Europe she carried no flying jibboom, and had but three sails, mainsail, foresail and jib.
For the great race at Cowes, Aug. 22, 1851. she was tted with a flying jibboom and flying jib, which were carried away i the race, to the satisfaction of Old
Dick" Brown, her skipper, who said he didn't believe in flying jibs, anyway.
When Gen. Butler bought the America she had a rig given her by the government in 1870, when $20,000 was spent on her to t her for the first race in this country for the America cup, the challenger being the English starters.
The America now lies at Chelsea bridge. She has not been in commission since 1903. The last good photograph of her under sail was made in 1901, off Newport.
The famous old craft is now registered in the name of Paul Butler, having been in the Butler family since 1873. With an overhaul and slight repairs to her top-sides, she would be good for several years more of service.