This Week in Herreshoff History

Oct. 21-27, 2012

110 Years Ago- RELIANCE and the 1903 America’s

Oct. 23, 1902

The New York Yacht Club formally accepts
Lipton’s challenge to race for the Cup. Although acceptance had been indicated a
week before, this completes all the formalities for the race to take place.

Posted in This Week in Herreshoff History | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Volunteer Appreciation 2011


On October 2, 2011, the volunteers of the Museum had the opportunity to visit Mystic Seaport for a volunteer appreciation event.

This day may have seemed dismal and rainy, but it was delightfully uplifting for the attendees. We met at HMM to pile into our trusty transportation. At 10:00 am we toured the Boat Hall at Mystic, a 150,000 sf building with a full range of boats and engines, which span from early skin canoes to late 20th century sailing vessels. Dana Hewson and Brad Grove navigated us through the maze of boats with enlightened stories of the era.

We then spent a few hours exploring Mystic Seaport with its great renovation of the Charles W. Morgan and other beautiful boats – big and small. After being treated to a fine lunch at The Galley we met with Barbra Jarnagin regarding interpretation of small museums and the effectiveness of our cause. Later we strolled to the shore for a boat ride and one last view of the seaport, as its inhabitants would have seen in it in their day before heading home. Definitely a good time had by all.

As a golden sea touched the lovely bluffs at Love Rocks I stared in amazement at the beautiful effervescing glow of Bristol Harbor. Beside me was my old friend Zachary whom I had not been in contact with for several years. This was truly becoming a glorious day for the lot of us. I rekindled my connection with other docents after being in their absence for half of a year. Mystic was absolutely phenomenal despite the treacherous rain on the way there. Everyone bonded like brothers and sisters talking about sailing and cracking jokes if Maggie was doing the speed limit in Knots. Our new founded partnership had proven successful as we fired away questions and blew Barbara away with the knowledge and insight we knew on running a museum. We left certainly elated.”

 – Evan W. – Museum Volunteer


Above pictures:  1 – Herreshoff volunteers pose in front of ALERION.  2 – Herreshoff volunteers at scenic Mystic Seaport.

Click on the link below to view a PDF of this file -as prepared by Bernie Carreiro and Evan White.  Thanks Evan and Bernie for preparing this.  It looks great!  Time to share with friends and family…A DAY TO REMEMBER

Posted in Education | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ready for Summer

We kicked off the season this past weekend with a gathering of the New England Multihull Association.  Racing machines, luxury vessels, and sporty beach cats and tris covered the waterfront, on land and on the docks.  It was a great way to start the summer, with the weather finally cooperating after what seemed like 40 days and nights of rain.

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, we’re gearing up for a busy season.  Our Grand 40 Gala will be June 4; the FLY Foundation is holding a fundraiser here on June 16 (click here for more information – it’s a great cause and KESTREL will be providing sunset sails); the All-American Offshore Team are having a meet and greet with VOR legend Jerry Kirby and the stars of the AAOT on June 25; and of course our July 4 weekend rendezvous, presented by Points East in partnership with Cisco Brewers, will be filled with activities from cocktail parties, live music, fireworks, barbecues, and of course the world-famous Bristol July 4th Parade.

There’s no excuse not to come by and join in the fun!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Evening with John Rousmaniere

For those of you who were here, you experienced it firsthand… nearly a hundred fans of yachting, rapt and engaged, listening to John Rousmaniere present “The Golden Pastime: Icons of Classic Yachting.”  John walked us through the history of the New York Yacht Club, the classic yacht BOLERO, and the Newport-Bermuda Race.

Our friends from Points East magazine were here welcoming our guests, and the heroic Jeff from Cisco Brewers gallantly poured complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails all evening.

If you missed it, here are some photos to rub it in.  Be sure to be here on April 21 for Maynard Bray and Benjamin Mendlowitz – you don’t want to miss another!

Posted in Lecture Series | Leave a comment

Trunk Program Primary Source Project

Hi Everyone,

The Trunk Program continues to take shape.  Students will be given a number of primary source materials to read though.  They will then be filling out worksheets answering the questions:  Who were Captain Nat and J.B. Herreshoff?  What were their lives like?  Where did they live?  What was the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company?

One of my favorite primary source materials from the project is an excerpt from How They Succeeded, a book published in 1901 by Orison Swett Marden.  The book contains an in-depth interview with J.B.  The following excerpt has been selected as a part of the Primary Source Project in the Trunk Education Program (excerpt is reproduced exactly as originally printed in 1901; unusual spellings or typographical errors are in source material):





OUT, ” ETC. , ETC.






Herreshoff, the Yacht Builder



Total eclipse; no sun, no moon; Darkness amid the blaze of noon! MILTON

AMID the ranks of the blind, we often find men and women of culture and general ability, but we do not look for world-renowned specialists. No one is surprised at a display of enterprise in a ” boom- ing ” western town, where everybody is ” hust- ling; ” but in a place which has once ranked as the third seaport in America, but has seen its maritime glory decline, a man who can establish a marine industry on a higher plane than was ever before known, and attract to his work such world-wide attention as to restore the vanished fame of his town, is no ordinary person. Moreover, if such a man has laid his plans and done his work in the disheartening eclipse of total blindness, he must possess qualities of the highest order.

The office of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, at Bristol, Rhode Island, is in a building that formerly belonged to the Burnside Rifle Company. It is substantial, but un- pretentious, and is entered by a short stairway on one side. The furniture throughout is also plain, but has been selected with excellent taste, and is suggestive of the most effective adaptation of means to ends in every detail. On the mantel and on the walls are numerous pictures, most of them of vessels, but very few relating directly to any of the great races for the ” America’s ” cup. The first picture to arrest one’s attention, indeed, is an excellent portrait of the late General Ambrose E. Burnside, who lived in Bristol, and was an intimate friend of John B. Herreshoff.

Previous inquiry had elicited the information that the members of the firm are very busy with various large orders, in addition to the rush of work on Cup Defenders; so it was a very agreeable surprise when I was invited into the tasteful private office, where the blind president siat, having just concluded a short conversation with an attorney.


“Well, sir/’ said he, rising and grasping my hand cordially, “what do you wish?”

“I realize how very busy you must be, Mr. Herreshoff,” I replied, and will try to be as brief as possible; but I venture to ask a few minutes of your time, to obtain suggestions and advice from you to young people.”
we possibly can and then leave it to


” Is success dependent more upon ability or opportunity? ”

” Of course, opportunity is necessary. You couldn’t run a mammoth department store on the desert of Sahara. But, given the possibility, the right man can make his opportunity, and should do so, if it is not at hand, or does not come, after reasonable waiting. Even Napoleon had to wait for his. On the other hand, if there is no ability, none can display itself, and the best opportunity must pass by unimproved. The true way is to first develop your ability to the last ounce, and then you will be ready for your opportunity, when it comes, or to make one, if none offers.”


“You must have been quite young, when you began to build boats?”

“About thirteen or fourteen years old. You see, my father was an amateur boat-builder, in a small way, and did very good work, but usually not for sale. But I began the work as a business thirty-six years ago, when I was about twenty-two. ”


“You must have been terribly handicapped by your blindness.”

“It was an obstacle, but I simply would not allow it to discourage me, and did my best, just the same as if I could see. My mother had taught me to think, and so I made thought and memory take the place of eyes. I acquired a kind of habit of mental projection which has enabled me to see models in my mind, as it were, and to consider their good and bad points intelligently. Besides, I cultivated my powers of observation to the utmost, in other respects. Even now, I take an occasional trip of observation, for I like to see what others are doing, and so keep abreast of the progress of the age. But I must stop or I shall get to ‘ talking shop/ the thing I declined to do at first.


“The main thing for a boy is to have a good mother, to heed her advice, to do his best, and not get a ‘swelled head ‘ as he rises, in other words, not to expect to put a gallon into a pint cup, or a bushel into a peck measure. Concentration, decision, industry and economy should be his watchwords, and invincible determination and persistence his rule of action.”

With another cordial handshake, he bade me good-by.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Answers Abound

Thanks to everyone who came out for the “Ask the Experts” night on February 24.  Our speakers were fantastic, our guests enthusiastic and engaged, and Cisco Brewers made a lot of new friends!  Points East Magazine did a wonderful job promoting the evening and we’re so glad to have them as a partner for several more events this year; the next is John Rousmaniere on March 24, so mark your calendars now.  Enjoy the photos from the evening….

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Trunk Education Program

I have been working with Richard Feeny this winter writing and developing curriculum for the Trunk Education Program.  The finished trunk will include materials, a curriculum guide, and a teacher’s guide.  Schools will be able to check the trunk out of the museum and bring it back to their classroom.  Richard has been working on a number of STEM (Science, Technology,  Engineering, and Math) projects which will look at buoyancy, sail area, geometry, navigation,  and even vectors.  We also have a history lesson where students will use primary source materials to learn about the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and Rhode Island history.

Imagine a classroom of 5th graders crowded around a large trunk which they are opening for the first time.  Out comes clay, charts, drawing supplies, a Herreshoff cleat, old photographs and newspaper articles, the HMCo. Rules and Regulations poster, and yes – a huge sail!  Students and teachers will review all of our materials, measure sails, make half hulls, examine line drawings, and search through the photographs and letters.  They will fill out worksheets, make presentations, and bring home photographs and postcards. 

There are so many exciting things about this program, Richard and I are constantly enthused, thinking in new directions and imaging the potential of what is to come.  The HMCo. was a place where Rhode Islanders came to work with their hands, build and design, and change the face of history.  We hope that our trunk will introduce students to math, science, and history through experiential projects and encourage pride in the rich history of our state.   

We are still in the developmental stage, but we get closer to our end result week by week.  We will be doing our first “test run” of the program with a school in Providence at the beginning of March.  After talking with teachers at the school we will be able to adapt the program once again before offering it to schools in the state.  I will keep you posted as we make progress.

Hope to see everyone tonight at our “Ask the Experts” event.  I am looking forward to gathering our community and talking boats!  See Sara’s post below for details.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment