Commissioned by New York Yacht Club member Wilson Marshall, Atlantic was built
at the Townsend & Downey shipyard, Shooters Island, New York and launched on
the 28th of July 1903.
She was designed by William Gardner, one of America's foremost designers of large yachts.
From the moment Atlantic went to sea, it was clear that she was an exceptionally
fast and beautiful schooner. When a yacht in 1903 hits twenty knots during her
sea trials, she is a promising yacht, but even then nobody could imagine two
years later this yacht would set a record that would stand unmatched for almost
Nevertheless, whilst Wilson Marshall wanted Atlantic to be the fastest schooner on
the water, he felt there was no reason to compromise on comfort. Unlike contemporary
racing schooners, Atlantic was equipped with every imaginable luxury. Fitted out with
the finest mahogany panelling, she had two steam driven generators to power electric
lights, refrigerators and a large galley.
On deck her halyard winches and primary sheet winches were also steam driven.
She had two double and three single staterooms, a lobby, a large full beam saloon, a
dining room, a chart & gunroom, three large bathrooms and in the deckhouse there
was a comfortable observation room.
She had retractable chimneys, so while under sail the below deck steam heating,
lighting and refrigeration systems could keep running. Atlantic's fo'c'sle
accommodated her thirty-nine strong crew and officers, who would live aboard
throughout the year.
During her first season Atlantic proved fast, winning both the Brenton Reef and
the Cape May Cup hands down, but it was only in 1905 she made the headlines
by winning the Kaiser's Cup, a Transatlantic race from Sandy Hook to the Lizard.
Referred to as "The last Great race of Princes" the entries for this race included
all the yachts that the rich and powerful from Britain and America could send to sea.
The legendary Captain Charlie Barr, who had already successfully defended the America's Cup three times, was hired to skipper Atlantic. Charlie Barr's determination to win was as legendary as his skills for driving the largest of yachts to the very limit. And win, he did, sailing 3006 miles in 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds. Atlantic's 24-hour record was 341 miles, an average speed of 14,1 knots. Uncountable attempts were made to break this record but it would hold firm until 1998, the longest standing speed record in the history of yachting.
Atlantic's story continued for another seventy-seven years with ownership passing through the likes of Cornelius Vanderbilt III and Gerald Lambert. She was used as a mother ship for other racing yachts like Vanity, for America's Cup defenders and the J-Class Yankee on her voyage to England. Her guest book included the rich and famous of the world. Simply put, she is the most famous and beloved racing schooner of all time.
Although after World War II Atlantic would never sail again, she refused to give up her existence. Somehow she was saved from the scrap yard on three different occasions, broke loose from her moorings, to sail back to sea without a man aboard and ended up used as a houseboat, a restaurant and a floating dock at a fuel station.
Finally on 30th of January 1982, she was broken up at Newport News Boat Harbor, Virginia.
- "All out of step: A personal chronicle" by Lambert, Gerard B.
- "Atlantic - The last great race of princes" by Cookman, Scott
- "The race for the emperor's cup" Stevenson, Paul E.
- "The Ocean Yacht Race, May 1905, for H.I.M., the German Emperor's Prize Cup: Details From the Log of the Schooner Yacht Atlantic" by Cassier, Louis
- "Yachting's Golden Age: 1880-1905" by Holm, Ed
- "The Story of the Americas Cup 1851-" by Rayner, Ranulf & Thompson, Tim (Illustrator)
- "Yankee in England" by Lambert, Gerard B.
- "Legendary yachts" by Robinson, Bill
- "Kaiser Wilhem II: Germany's Last Emperor" by Van der Kiste, John
- "The log of Frederick M. Hoyt" MR46 G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum
- Our collection of historical weblinks about the Schooner Atlantic