Commodore Bennett at the Helm

Commodore Bennett at the Helm

In 1868 Bennett, aged 27, suddenly became Vice-Commodore of the New York Yacht Club when all the flag officers had resigned;

in 1871 he became Commodore and his large schooner, Dauntless, flagship.

Bennett sailed her across the ocean to escort James Ash bury in Cambria back to the US in a transAtlantic match race in preparation fo r the America’s Cup race in 1871.

Dauntless also parti cipated in that dismal America’s Cup race as part of the fl eer that mer Cambria on the race course.

In a rematch the next yea r, George Schuler, the surviving member of the America’s syndicate, convinced the Commodore to defend with one boat at a time.

Dauntless was to defend but was damaged in the row out to the start, so Columbia defended rh e Cup against Livonia, but not very well.

The Club acquired new quarters on Madison and 27th Street in 1872, upstairs from the American Jockey Club.

Bennett hired for the Club the Herald’s editor of the Ship News, Niels Olsen, who remained Club Steward or Superintendent until 1904,

and who personally kept all racing reco rds of the Club during that rime, in a clear longhand.

Flying starts, ins read of the traditional start from anchor,

became the norm, and racing proceeded at an unprecedented rare-sometimes several 40-hour races in a week.

In 1872 two important trophies were put up by the Commodore,

the Cape May Challenge Cup and the Brenton Reef Challenge Cup,

both of which inspired intense racing for decades.

In a move that would have seemed uncharacteristic earlier in his life,

he limited gambling to $5 on any game at the Club.

During the 1872Annual Cruise, Dauntless had a collision with.

the Sow and Pigs lightship and suffered severe damage, as did the lightship.

Thar was about the end of Bennett’s personal racing career.

In subsequent motions of Dauntless in the press, she was owned by others, notably Caldwell Colt, so n of Samuel.

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