Title: “A Stiff Breeze - Vigilant and Valkyrie II Windward Leg, America’s Cup Series, 1893”
Framed Size: Height 21 inches Width 30 ¼ inches
Master of marine painting, Stephen Renard was born at Huddersfield, England in 1947, and graduated from the Liverpool University with a degree in the natural sciences. He spent three years at training college and while head of Biology in a Liverpool school, he developed a passionate interest in sailing. Abandoning teaching, Renard began to make a living as a portrait artist, taking lessons in ink drawing and becoming a freelance illustrator. Renard purchased a boat in 1981 and taught himself to sail, painting ships as a hobby. Since then, he has concentrated on yachting subjects, following in the footsteps of Steven Dews.
In addition, he was asked to work for the Royal Thames Yacht Club. For his first commission, he produced a painting of the Spithead review, honouring the birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
This superbly detailed example of Stephen Renard’s work depicts the third race of the America’s Cup series in 1893 off Sandy Hook, 2 - 0 to the defender, Vigilant, and it was sailed on Friday the 13th October in 30 knots of wind, 15 miles to windward and return. The yachts raced lee, decks awash and the noise was so great that commands had to be relayed man to man along the listing decks. At the mark, Valkyrie II rounded a full six hundred yards ahead of Vigilant and going so fast that the big excursion steamers could not keep pace. To close the gap, the skipper on Vigilant cut loose the reefs in his mainsail and set spinnaker and balloon jib topsail - an unprecedented amount of sail in the conditions and a calculated risk that the topmast and rigging could stand the strain. On hauling up, Valkyrie’s spinnaker had snagged on a cleat and when sheeted home, it split and blew out. It was immediately replaced by the lightweight back-up which promptly ripped to shreds leaving only a balloon jib of insufficient area to maintain the pace and the Vigilant surged past to win by two minutes and thirteen seconds.