Yachting and The Great War

The end of World War I – known as The Great War at the time it occurred – was certainly a welcome event for Americans on the heels of a new decade.

Armistice arrangements in Europe meant American soldiers would return home in a time of peace. The Great War’s finale was also good news for the shipbuilding industry, according to the January 1919 publication of The Rudder.

Pages 46 and 47 of the publication detailed how boating and yachting would rebound in the United States as peace was finalized in Europe.

“While all the energies of this country were devoted to successfully carrying on the war naturally pleasure and sport suffered. Those times are past. Good times for all are coming again,” The Rudder’s passage on “The Future of Yachting” stated.

Faith was immediately placed in small boat owners.

“Yachtsmen are hoping for an early revival of their sport, and already plans are being made by the clubs to stimulate interest in racing and cruising,” the article continued. “The boom will come first through the small boats. The small cruising power boat will be in demand this year and those who contemplate doing any yachting are advised to place their orders as soon as possible.”

The author(s?) of “The Future of Yachting” added many boaters gave up their vessels to the war effort.

“Yachting, as a sport, was hit harder than any other pastime. Yachtsmen gave, chartered or sold their vessels to the United States government. Some of the larger yachts had been transferred to the Allies before this country entered the war,” the article in The Rudder stated. “No class of sportsmen turned out as loyally as the yachtsmen.”

Many of those vessels struggled to hold up during the war, with some boaters losing their respective vessels altogether, according to The Rudder.

“Already, some yachts have been returned to their owners, but the majority of these boats have been under such a severe strain from the past eighteen months that they will be of little valley as yachts. Some are past all repairing; others need considerable work to put them into shape for pleasure,” the article explained. “With many of them the engines have been racked to pieces and are worth little more than junk.”


Source: The Rudder, January 1919.

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