Magic (yacht)

The Magic was a racing schooner yacht, of the New York Yacht Club. She was the first American defender during the 1870 America's Cup hosted in New York against the 1st British challenger Cambria, representing the Royal Thames Yacht Club of London. The Magic, had 19 owners. Her last owner modified her into a pilot boat at Key West. In 1922, during a hurricane, she was wrecked on the beach in Key West.

The New York Yacht Club Racing Schooner Magic, by Charles Gulager 1109.jpg
Painting of the New York Yacht Schooner Magic, by Charles Gulager
Yacht club New York Yacht Club
Nation United States
BuilderT. Byerly & Son of Philadelphia
FateSank, May 3, 1922
Racing career
SkippersAndrew J. Comstock
Notable victories1870 America's Cup (with Cambria, )
America's Cup1857
Typegaff schooner
Displacement92.2 tons
Length84 m (276 ft) (LOA)
36.40 m (119.4 ft) (LWL)
Beam21 m (69 ft)
Draft7 m (23 ft)
Sail area1,170 m2 (12,600 sq ft)


The Magic, was built by T. Byerly & Son of Philadelphia in 1857, for Captain Richard Fanning Loper, as a sloop. Loper did the original model and design for his boat. She was christened the Madgie.[1][2]

She was rebuilt several times, In 1859, Loper modified the Madgie from a sloop to a schooner and renamed her Magic. In 1860, Loper modified Magic by lengthening her bow. He then sold the Magic in 1864, to William H. McVickar of the New York Yacht Club.[3] Yachtsman George L. Lorillard bought the Magic, late in 1866 and sold her to H. W. Gray. In 1869, he sold her to Franklin Osgood.[2]

In 1869, the Magic, was taken to City Island where she was completely rebuilt by the shipbuilder David Carll.[4] Carll lengthened and widened the Magic, with increased draft; and converted her into a centerboard schooner yacht for Franklin Osgood.[5]

Operational historyEdit

Magic, at international yacht race, August 8, 1870.
Schooner yacht Magic.

The schooner Magic represented the New York Yacht Club and was the smallest sailboat in the international 1870 America's Cup competition. The first official challenge took place on August 8, 1870 in New York Harbor and was won by Franklin Osgood's American yacht Magic. She beat 17 competitors, including the English yacht Cambria and the yachts Dauntless, Idler, Fleetwing, Phantom, America and others.[6][7]Andrew J. Comstock was captain of the Magic and had a stateroom in the forward section of the boat.[8]

On October 11, 1870, the Magic was sold by Franklin Osgood to Lester Wallack, for $16,500.[9] Osgood bought her back but sold her to Rufus Hatch in 1873. In 1874, she was purchased by William T. Garner, who kept her until 1876, when Osgood bought her back for a third time. In 1879, she was bought by Francis M. Weld of Boston, who sold her to Thurston N. McKay after owning for only two years. McKay kept her for three years and then she went back to the Weld family in 1885. She was later bought by Augustus W. Mott who kept her for ten years, when John S. Clarke & Bros., of Pittsburg bought her in 1898.[10] He in tern sold her to a Key West group that modified her as a pilot boat.[2]

On February 1, 1908, the Magic sank when she was racing into port and was capsized at Key West. Her owner was John Lowe Jr. The Magic had 19 owners, including the United States Navy, which used her as a supply craft during the 1898 Spanish–American War.[2]

End of serviceEdit

On May 3, 1922, the schooner Magic, went ashore on the beach in the bay at Key West when she received damage during a hurricane. Her owner, John Lowe Jr., had the boat moved offshore and destroyed with explosives.[11][3]


  1. ^ "The Yacht Squadron". Newport Daily News. Newport, Rhode Island. 13 Aug 1857. p. 1. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  2. ^ a b c d "Old Cup Defender Magic Is No More". The Boston Globe Boston, Massachusetts. 11 Feb 1908. p. 4. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  3. ^ a b "The Mariners' Museum and Park". Retrieved 2021-02-09.
  4. ^ "New York. Dec. 28, 1888". The Times-Picayune. New Orleans, Louisiana. 2 Jan 1889. p. 8. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  5. ^ "The "Magic"". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 9 Aug 1870. p. 8. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  6. ^ Jacques Taglang. "Magic". Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  7. ^ "The Queen's Cup race" (PDF). The New York Times. 9 August 1870.
  8. ^ "1851-The Queen's Cup-1870". The New York Herald. New York, New York. 9 Aug 1870. p. 11. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  9. ^ "Aquatic". Times Union. Brooklyn, New York. 11 Oct 1870. p. 2. Retrieved 8 Feb 2021.
  10. ^ "Old Cup Winner's Battle With The Storm". The Evening Times. Washington, District of Columbia. 29 Nov 1898. p. 2. Retrieved 8 Feb 2021.
  11. ^ "Magic Is Condemned To Death On Beach". The Miami News. Miami, Florida. 3 May 1922. p. 7access-date=8 Feb 2021.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Magic at Wikimedia Commons