Print, Mischief vs. Atlanta, America's Cup, 1881

This print is very similar to an 1884 watercolor by Frederick S. Cozzens entitled For the America's Cup, The Start showing the Mischief and the Atlanta in the Fifth America's Cup Race on November 11, 1881.
The original painting depicts the start of the race between the Atlanta and the Mischief. The 1881 challenge was received from Captain Alexander Cuthbert, who had designed and built the centerboard sloop Atlanta for the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club owners in Belleville, Ontario. Atlanta was plagued by a lack of funds and sailed to New York via the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. Stripped of its spars, the yacht was heeled over as far as possible on the bilge to permit passage through the locks, which was bad for the hull's structural integrity.
Mischief, an iron sloop owned by J. R. Busk of New York and designed by A. Cary Smith, was chosen to be the defender. Built by Harlan & Hollingsworth, it was deeper than most of its competition. It was nicknamed “The Iron Pot," because it was the second all-metal yacht built in the U.S.
The first match race on November 9, 1881 was started off Manhattan; Mischief won by thirty-eight minutes. Cozzens pictured the start of the third and final race, which was held off Staten Island.
One of the onlookers described the start of this race: "Just before the start, storm clouds began to gather over the hills and the Island and with such a threatening look that both yachts made preparations for a heavy squall; but with a splatter of rain this burst over and shaking out the reefs, both waited for the preparatory signal. Atlanta, having no windlass, was a long time in picking up its anchor and getting under way and when, at last, it stood toward the line, another light squall knocked the ship over so far that its lee-rail dipped and its sailing master was forced to take in the gaff top sail which had just been set. Both boats maneuvered a little bit at first, running down to the line and going about. Mischief crossed with a good headway and the Atlanta a little over a minute later." In the end, Mischief victoriously defended the America's cup challenge.
Currently not on view
date made
Cozzens, Frederic Schiller
Caldwell Litho. Co.
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall with frame: 17 3/4 in x 24 3/8 in; 45.085 cm x 61.9125 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cigna Maritime Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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