BAR HARBOR — In 1851, the story goes, Queen Victoria was watching a sailing race when an unusual-looking schooner passed the royal yacht in first position and saluted by dipping its ensign three times.
Queen Victoria asked one of her attendants to tell her who was in second place. “Your Majesty, there is no second,” came the reply.
The winner of the Royal Yacht Squadron’s race around the Isle of Wight that year was a schooner called America, and the America’s Cup now bears her name.
A replica of America is set to visit Bar Harbor Aug. 7-8, as part of an America’s Cup Tour. The schooner began its tour July 2015 in San Diego, sailing as an official ambassador of the America’s Cup.
The Bar Harbor Yacht Club will host the visit, Commodore Sandy McFarland said, but America may tie up at one of the slips at the town pier for easier access. “They’re coming up here from Eggemoggin Reach,” McFarland said. “This is going to come right in high season, but it’s going to be quite spectacular. We want people to know it’s going to happen so they have a chance to participate.”
America owner and skipper Troy Sears is set to host a public sail, along with special events for youth sailors in the Great Harbor Dream sailing schools and camps. He also will give a public talk and slideshow.
“This opportunity is about more than engaging the yachting community in discussions about the current state of America’s Cup racing,” Sears said in a statement. “It’s also about generating greater interest and awareness among today’s youth. We’re looking forward to welcoming young minds aboard America to explore the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines that have always been an integral part of America’s Cup (AC) racing.”
Sears’ presentation also includes “an overview of the cup’s storied history, a chance to relive the dramatic comeback of AC34, and an inside look at what to expect for AC35 in Bermuda.”
The original America was designed by James Rich Steers and George Steers for a group of New York Yacht Club members headed by Commodore John Cox Stevens. It was launched in May of 1851. Later in its career, it did service for the Confederate States of America as well as the U.S. Naval Academy. It was scrapped in 1945.
The first replica of America was built here in Maine by Goudy and Stevens in Boothbay and launched in 1967. The replica making this tour was built in 1995 by Ray Giovanni.