Currently, The National Yacht Club has about 15 model ships in its care. These vary from model sailing ships to crabbers, and are mostly displayed within the stair well heading towards the Dining Room. Have you ever wondered where these models came from? Did you ever wonder what boats they represent and the story behind them? I’ve picked two out of the group as I’ve had something to do with each of them.
The first one is a new arrival at NYC. It was donated by the builder, Jack Wood, back in June of this year. The ship is a 1:95 scale model of HMS Victory, the flagship Admiral Horatio Nelson used to lead the British fleet against the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in October, 1805.
Jack had spent 12 years working on this model from a kit. It is a truly remarkable model! When he completed it in the spring, he looked for a home that would be able to display it. As you will have noticed, in her current location, she’s hard to be able to fully appreciate the workmanship and detail that has been put into this model. To provide a better location for her, there are plans to build a permanent display case in the Lobby.
And if you are ever in Portsmouth, England, plan on making a visit to see the real ship. She is still a commissioned vessel within the Royal Navy and the tour is well worth the time!
The second model in the dining room is of the Sovereign of the Seas. There were several ships with this name. The other significant version was built back in the 17th century as a warship for the Royal Navy. This particular model was hand build, from scratch, using a set of plans from a book. Its origin is a bit hazy but we believe that it was built by someone related to a NYC member.
A couple of years ago, I spent many hours restoring the model. She had been sitting out in the open for many years; she was looking in a very bad way. A lot of the rigging line was rotted by the sun. It was during that effort that I discovered that the original ship had been built in East Boston, MA in 1852 by Donald McKay and was used as a very fast cargo vessel for several years. In 1854 she set the record for the fastest sailing ship, turning in a remarkable 22 knots. She was wrecked in the Strait of Malacca on a voyage from Hamburg to China in 1859.
These models provide us with a glimpse of past sailing vessels of some considerable repute. We are fortunate to be able to display them and enjoy their history as well as the amazing workmanship that has gone into their creation.
And if you do happen to know about any of the models that are on display within the stairwell, please provide the office with your information. In that way, NYC will be able to maintain the information about the model, and the donors, for future reference.
Director, Mooring Committee.