Introduction  |  Panel 1  |  Panel 2  |   Panel 3  |   Panel 4  |   Panel 5  |   Panel 6  |   Panel 7  |   Panel 8 |   Panel 9  |   Panel 10  |   Panel 11  |   Model Room and Hall Models  |   Chartroom Models  |   Trophies





The redoubtable Æmilius Jarvis had a keen interest in yacht design and as a young man during the 1880's and 1890's produced a series of designs which began with Whistlewing, built by R.J.L. Cooper in Hamilton in 1885. Then living in Hamilton, Jarvis belonged to both Royal Canadian and Royal Hamilton Yacht Clubs.

Whistlewing at 39 feet waterline was large, even for her day, but her beam of only 7.7 feet clearly marked her as an offshoot of the English "plank-on-edge" fashion. She was right up to date in her use of outside ballast and achieved success under Jarvis' expert handling.

Subsequently, Whistlewing was owned by James Rutherford and then by E.B. Ryckman, but she lived only a few years, falling victim to a spring freshet of the Don River.

L.W.L.        39 ft.  

Beam           7.7 ft.           

Draught        7.6 ft.          


SAMOA 1888

After Whistlewing, the big plank-on-edge cutter of 1885, Æmilius Jarvis' next design was Samoa, much smaller and more moderate in proportions. She belonged to the 30-foot class, as measured by the Seawanhaka Rule, which had been adopted by the LYRA in 1884. Samoa was elegant, both in form and finish. She had a handsome clipper bow with rounded forefoot and a graceful counter, she was fast and seaworthy, and Jarvis won many races with her before selling her to one of his crew, Mr. E.H. Ambrose, who in time sold her to a yachtsman from Detroit.

Samoa's keel was a steel trough, to which her frames and garboards were bolted and which contained her ballast in snugly fitted lead castings, thereby permitting adjustment or removal at will. Her topsides were painted black, conforming to the fashion of the time, with gilded scrollwork, but her underbody was finished bright, oiled and varnished, and her deck was cherry.

Samoa was built in Hamilton by A.M. Robertson and Sons.

L.O.A.        40 ft.

L.W.L.        27 ft. 6 in.

Beam            8 ft. 6 in.

Draught        6 ft.



Vedette and Zelma came out the same year, both built in Toronto by H. Staunton to a design by William Fife Jr. Vedette was the smaller of the two and generally similar in form with a nearly triangular underbody, but her model shows the unique crescent shaped hollow between her balanced rudder and her sternpost – a precursor of things to come. Additionally, her already deep draught was further deepened by a small centreboard.

Not notably successful with her original rig of double headsails with a lug mainsail, she improved greatly when rigged as a cutter, particularly when sailed by Æmilius Jarvis.

The last mention of Vedette is in the fleet list of 1908, still owned by Mr. F. M. Gray for whom she had been built. Her eventual fate is unknown.

L.O.A.         47 ft. 4 in.

L.W.L.         30 ft. 3 in.

Beam            9 ft. 6 in.

Draught        6 ft.


YAMA 1890

Little is known about the cutter Yama, reputed to have been one of the most graceful yachts ever in the RCYC. She was built in 1890 by H.C. Winteringham of Bay Ridge, Long Island, to a design by William Fife, was one of his last yachts with a true clipper bow, and was known as a "witch in light airs".

Originally owned in Oswego, she was bought into RCYC and had a succession of owners, latterly Mr. M.A. Kennedy who sold her about 1912 to acquire Gardenia.

Yama was among those several yachts broken up for their lead early in the First World War.

L.O.A.        50 ft.

L.W.L.        36 ft.

Beam            9 ft. 3 in.

Draught         8 ft. 11 in.


ZELMA 1892

The first-class cutter Zelma was designed and framed by William Fife Jr. in Fairlie, Scotland, and built in Toronto by H. Staunton of Picton for Capt. N.B. Dick. Her lead and some other materials came from the historic Verve I ("Toronto Verve"), which Capt. Dick had owned and raced since 1886.

Zelma was of more moderate beam than Fife's earlier plank-on-edge designs, but startling rake to her rudderpost brought the heel of her rudder almost amidships and resulted in a near triangular underbody. Her long raking stem showed only slight cavity, characteristic of the final stages of clipper bow development. Zelma's debut in 1892 was inauspicious, but the next year she was in full flight. In 1893, she started every race for which she was eligible – and won every race she started. She reigned supreme through 1896, winning the Prince of Wales Cup three times and the Queen's Cup another three (with a fourth in 1899), plus numerous other successes extending into the 1900's. She had many owners and won for all of them.

Her career of twenty-two years was brought to an end by the First World War when Zelma was broken up for her lead ballast.

L.O.A.        55 ft.

L.W.L.        36 ft.

Beam          10 ft. 7 in.

Draught        8 ft. 8 in.