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Fast but Fragile, A Driver for Change

In 1903, the Americas Cup challenger Shamrock III was dismasted during a trial, injuring her sponsor, Sir Thomas Lipton and killing a crew member, William Collier. Under the "Seawanhaka" Rule, used for rating racing sailboats since 1887, two key criteria determined the class a sailboat would race in - Waterline Length and Sail Area. As a result, designs had evolved to become lighter and more powerful but increasingly fragile

Shamrock III dismasted during americas cup trials in 1903

The Universal Rule of Measurement

Following further accidents and deaths, renowned naval architect Nathanael Hereshoff, supported by Sir Thomas Lipton, proposed a new set of rating rules, the 'Universal Rule of Measurement'. At it's essence, the 'Universal Rule' introduced a minimum Displacement requirement, in addition to Sail Area and Waterline Length, to determine a boat's rating. Lighter Displacement, Larger Sail Area or longer Water Line length all resulted in rating penalties, requiring designers to trade off these three key factors to maximize performance in a given racing class.

Boats designed under the Universal Rule were not just fast and beautiful but due to the introduction of displacement as a rating factor they were also strong.  'Q Class' was the first class to race under the new rules and in a further attempt to make the new boats more versatile and popular the Q Class rules also stipulated minimum levels of accommodation, ensuring cruising capabilities and enabling a life beyond racing - a fact that may explain why some of the original boats still feature in classic racing regattas around the world.

The Universal Rule of Measurement was adopted by the New York Yacht Club and used to determine a yacht's eligibility to race in the Americas Cup between 1914 and 1937. While 'Q Class' was the first to race under the Universal Rule other classes followed including the largest and perhaps most iconic J Class boats that can still be seen racing today.

Falcon time line

100 Years of Racing Legacy

'Falcon' or 'Lively Lady' as she was re-named by her owner around 1930, raced under two names but always under one sail number - Q7. 


Designed in 1926 by Starling Burgess, 'Falcon' was part of the first class of yachts to race under the 'Universal Rule', the Q Class.

'Falcon' has an incredible pedigree. Built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in Bristol, RI and designed by the renowned yacht designer William Starling Burgess, she preceded his famous J Class design, 'Ranger', by some 11 years.

The similarities between 'Ranger' and 'Falcon's hull lines are unmistakable and it has been said that 'Falcon' was in fact the model for the later successful America's Cup defender 'Ranger'.  

The Q's At Marblehead and Lake Michigan

As early as 1927 so called 'second generation' or Marconi Rigged Q Class boats were already dominating races like the Chicago Yacht Club 'Mackinac Trophy', so much so that the club introduced a second division called the 'Mackinac Cup' that ran every second year, specifically to enable cruisers to compete!

In the early 1930's, 'Falcon' was racing in Marblehead with "Ray Hunt" at the helm. C. Raymond Hunt was a respected helmsman and yacht designer but was perhaps best known as the designer of the original 'Boston Whaler'. 



Q7 Falcon Date Unknown
Date Unknown 'Q7 Falcon'
Charles H W Foster Collection
Courtesy of
MIT Museum
Falcon aka Lively Lady sailing in Marblehead 1930
August 1930, 'Falcon' a.k.a. 'Lively Lady' sailing in Marblehead
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection
Q Class racing at the start line 1926
September 1926, 'Q Class at The Start'
Charles H W Foster Collection Courtesy of MIT Museum
Raymond Hunt at the helm of Falcon aka Lively Lady in 1930
August 1930, 'Falcon' a.k.a. 'Lively Lady' sailing in Marblehead
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection
Falcon aka Lively Lady sailing in Marblehead 1934
June 1934, 'Falcon' a.k.a. 'Lively Lady' sailing in Marblehead
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection

In the mid-late 1930's there was a growing fleet of Q Class boats assembling at the South Shore Yacht Club, Milwaukee, WI (SSYC). The first record of 'Lively Lady' at SSYC was in 1938 when she appeared in the race results on Lake Michigan under the sponsorship of her new owner, Otto Dreher. Otto was often seen sailing and racing with his son Bill.

In 1940 the Mackinac Trophy was taken home by 'Lively Lady' and in 1941 she won the Mackinac Cup, both under the sponsorship of her owner at the time, Otto*

Under Otto's ownership 'Lively Lady built a formidable reputation winning the Queen's Cup in 1948, 1952, 1953, 1954 and 1958, and the Virginia Series in 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1965. 

Sadly, both Otto and Bill passed away in 1968 (Otto at 82 and Bill at only 48) and 'Lively Lady' passed to a long time crew member Warren Emery who continued to race her, winning the Silver Jubilee Series in 1969. 

Historic research provided with grateful thanks to John @kindredspirit'

* reference "The Mackinac Trophy 

Still racing today...

Falcon can still be seen racing today - check out our Latest Updates section for news and photos of Falcon in action!

For more information or to get in touch contact us

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