Ida – a fine Bailey yacht
By the mid-1890s yacht design was rapidly developing in Great Britain and the USA. At the same time there was a growing battle between the two brilliant Auckland builders, the Logans and the Baileys, to produce the fastest and most beautiful racing yachts
Yachting periodicals of the time disseminated advances in design around the world. The English Hunt’s Yachting Magazine featured input by Dixon Kemp from the 1860s, and the Rudder magazine, founded in 1891, featured American designers, especially the Yankee Nat Herreshoff, whose 1891 Gloriana became the benchmark for keel yacht design overnight.
With a heavily-raked straight bow, Gloriana eliminated the archaic concave ‘clipper’ bow and the deep forefoot which had been thought essential. Hard on Herreshoff’s heels was Scotsman G.L. Watson whose 1892 designs for the Prince of Wales’ yacht Britannia and her near-sister Valkyrie II were a sensation. They had similar underwater sections to Gloriana but moved to a rounded or ‘spoon’ bow, which is natural to our eyes but thought of as quite ugly at the time.
In this country, the builders most interested in the development of yacht design, the Logans, the Baileys and the Waymouths, became heavily influenced by Herreshoff. In late 1892 all three built Herreshoff-style 2½-raters, the Logans built their Herreshoff-tribute Gloriana, Charles Bailey Jr built Rogue and John Waymouth Jr built Yum Yum to the design of his father and (probably) his brother O.B. (‘Noll’) Waymouth.
Of these, Gloriana quickly proved the best boat, making the Logan boys’ reputation with one yacht. Then, in April 1893, Watson’s Britannia hit the water on the Clyde, with her spoon bow and her glamorous Royal connections.
The spoon bow clearly provided more buoyancy forward and more speed, but there was still hesitancy about her strange bow in a yachting culture accustomed to perpendicular, ‘clipper’ or even rule-cheating reverse ‘ram’ bows.
In fact, John Waymouth Sr had played with a spoon bow as early as 1883 with his design for the centreboarder Seagull, built for fisherman W. Knox. She performed so well that the Waymouths bought her back, converted her to a deadwood keeler and renamed her Mapu. She was very successful in Auckland and later Wellington second-class racing but was hardly a precursor.
After Britannia’s model became accepted and everyone’s aesthetics had adjusted, the first ‘spoon’ bow to appear in this country was on the steel 5-rater Thetis which Noll Waymouth designed in conjunction with William Seagar in 1894 for the Masefield brothers of Herne Bay. Seagar Bros built her and launched her in January 1895.
In the spring of 1895 Charles Bailey Jr and his younger brother Walter, trading as “C. & W. Bailey”, built the 5-rater Ida for their good customers, merchants Jagger brothers and