The first volume of Rudder online

Rushton ad The Rudder magazine

The first year’s issues of the famous 19th century stateside boating magazine The Rudder placed online by Mystic Seaport is liberally sprinkled with strongly expressed views that seem deliberately calculated to offend someone or other.

Today, it all seems quaint but slightly crazy – yet many magazine editors will wish they could be so forthright today.

‘In a paper I saw the following wonderful what is it offered for sale : “A keel sloop, cutter rigged.” We shall soon hear of keel schooners, sloop-rigged and cutter-rigged catboats being bought and sold. How a yacht can be both sloop and cutter at one and the same time is something beyond me. The truth, sad to relate, is, very few if any of our large single-masted racing yachts are sloops; many of the best of them are cutters or that bastard rig which is so far nameless.’

I guess the writer means the rig with a single foresail on a jib. What is that called?


‘One thing strikes the buyer who reads the catalogue of J H Rushton: it is the perfect way in which everything is described. The most minute details of construction and finish of his craft are put down in plain English so that a purchaser knows just what he is going to get for his money. For that reason it is one of the best tracts for the suppression of profanity we have ever seen: he leaves the worst cranks no chance for a growl.’

And again:

‘The black-blight that invades and destroys the racing spirit in yacht clubs is the steam yacht. What quality of blood runs in the veins of a man who will willingly exchange the exciting and exhilarating pastime of sailing for the monotonous privilege of being driven around in a kettle? With obligations to the late Lord St Vincent, we remark that a yachtsman who descends to running a steam yacht is d——d for the sport!’

Thanks to The Good Old Boat Redwing weblog for the linking to these entertaining sets of scans.

One thought on “The first volume of Rudder online”

  1. superb stuff ! …. driving round in a kettle !! ….. i have heard my father say such things many times. he lives close to the thames at Erith, and always curses when he spies at yacht motoring up or down the thames – especially when there is a fair wind blowing. Normally he refers to them as "Tupperware"

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