Photo of the Week

—– April 24 —–


“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck


America’s Cup Race w/ Captain Monsell

for Vanderbilt Syndicate


George H. Monsell of Greenport Sails His Cat Boat Wally W Past Long Beach Bar Lighthouse Toward Greenport Harbor, 1938. (From the Monsell Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Image © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)


International yachting in the 1930s was dominated by huge 120-foot J-boats, and the most successful of them competed in America’s Cup Race under the command of George Monsell from Greenport, the sailing master for the Harold S. Vanderbilt syndicate.

The son of James and Sarah Monsell, George was born in Greenport in 1881. He apprenticed aboard his father’s coastal schooner, skippered a group transport carrying Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in 1918, and went on to successfully defend the America’s Cup in 1930, 1934, and 1937. George began as chief engineer on Vanderbilt’s steam yacht, was soon promoted to captain, and then was put in charge of sailing two Vanderbilt yachts.

Work on the Vanderbilt yachts for America’s Cup Race was done in Greenport’s shipyards. Entire crews mustered there to be trained by Captain Monsell. Local shipyards and craftspeople were kept busy maintaining and repairing the stately yachts of the Vanderbilt fleet. The Greenport Basin and Construction Company built the Bystander, a 42-foot motorboat that served as a towboat for the Enterprise, which competed in the 1930 America’s Cup. 

Source: Special thanks to Carole Monsell of Sterling Historical. 



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