Valkyrie II

Valkyrie II, officially named Valkyrie,[n 1] was a British racing yacht that was the unsuccessful challenger of the 1893 America's Cup race against American defender Vigilant.

Valkyrie II
Valkyrie II during the 1893 cup races.
Yacht club Royal Yacht Squadron
Nation United Kingdom
Designer(s)George Lennox Watson
BuilderD&W Henderson, Partick
LaunchedApril 29, 1893
Owner(s)Lord Dunraven
FateSank July 5, 1894 in the Firth of Clyde
Racing career
America's Cup1893
Displacement140 tons
Length35.84 m (117.6 ft) (LOA)
26.06 m (85.5 ft) (LWL)
Beam6.80 m (22.3 ft)
Draft5.03 m (16.5 ft)


Valkyrie II was a gaff-rigged cutter. She was designed by George Lennox Watson and built alongside HMY Britannia at the D&W Henderson shipyard, Meadowside, Partick on the River Clyde, Scotland in 1893 for owner Lord Dunraven of the Royal Yacht Squadron.[2]

Valkyrie II had a steel frame, a wooden hull, and a pine deck.[3]


Valkyrie II was launched on April 29, 1893, a week after Britannia, and sailed to the U.S. that October to compete in the eighth America's Cup where she faced Vigilant in a best three out of five races format sailed on alternating courses. The races were sailed October 7, 9, and 13, 1893 off Sandy Hook, NJ just south of New York. The first and third races were 15 miles to windward off Scotland Lightship and return to leeward, the second race was a 30-mile equilateral triangle.[4][5]

In the first race on October 7, Valkyrie II won the 11:25 am start by 15 seconds and one boat length. At the first mark, Vigilant held a nine-minute lead. Vigilant crossed the finish line 7 minutes ahead of Valkyrie II8 minutes 48 seconds in corrected time.[4][5]

In the second race on October 9, Vigilant won the 11:25 am start by 5 seconds, but Valkyrie II worked out to an early lead of 5 boat lengths in a building 24 miles per hour (39 km/h; 21 kn) breeze. By the first mark, Vigilant held a five-minute lead and worked out to a 9-minute lead at the second mark. At the finish Vigilant beat Valkyrie II by 12 minutes 30 seconds10 minutes 35 seconds in corrected time.[4][5]

In the third race on October 13, 1893, he Valkyrie II led the windward leg, but lost a spinnaker at the two-thirds point of the downwind run. At the finish, Vigilant beat Valkyrie II by 40 seconds in corrected time to successfully defend the cup. The World reported it as the fastest race ever sailed, over a course of 15 miles to windward and return under reefed sail and a gale.[6]

Valkyrie II existed for barely a single year. On July 5, 1894 this Cup contender was struck amidships by A. D. Clarke’s cutter yacht Satanita at the start of the Mud Hook Regatta on the Firth of Clyde. Lord Dunraven and all his crew and guests were rescued, though one crewman was severely injured and subsequently died. Valkyrie II broke up and sank nine minutes later.[7][8][9]


  1. Although officially named Valkyrie, ON 102581, the "II" was used to differentiate Lord Dunraven's three yachts of the same name[1]


  1. Mercantile Navy List. London: Spottiswoode. 1894.
  2. Latham, George (1904). "Valkyrie II". A Dictionary of Names, Nicknames and Surnames, of Persons, Places and Things. George Routledge & Sons Press. p. 318.
  3. "Ready for a great contest: Both Valkyrie and Vigilant in Fine Racing Trim" (pdf). New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  4. "Vigilant". 32nd America's Cup. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  5. "Vigilant Wins!". The Quebec Saturday Budget. Oct 14, 1893. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
  6. "This Week in Herreshoff History". Herreshoff Marine Museum. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
  7. "The Yacht Valkyrie sunk" (pdf). New York Times. 6 July 1894. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
  8. "The Valkyrie Sunk". The Times (34309). London. 6 July 1894. p. 10.
  9. "Yachting". The Times (34311). London. 9 July 1894. p. 7.

See also

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