#OnThisDay in 1888, His Majesty King #Kalakaua visited the American yacht Coronet. The Coronet was an American schooner that in 1886 had won a trans-Atlantic race. Upon her arrival in #Honolulu a rowing crew from the yacht issued racing challenges to the navy ships in port; the King’s crew at Healani (the King’s boathouse) and at the Myrtle boathouse.
A member of the Myrtle club who had watched the Coronet’s crew practice stated that he could raise a crew of four who could run away from Coronet’s crew of six. A crew from the USS Vandalia (a United States navy ship) was the only crew to accept the challenge. The “Vans” practiced by rowing around the Coronet “like a streak of greased lightning.” This performance caused the Coronet to back out.
19th century regattas, held on holidays and the King’s birthday, featured crews of four or six rowing (or pulling) western style boats through the water. The regattas mirror the rowing events of the modern Olympics and captivated artists like Joseph Strong who painted this 1886 mural of Honolulu Harbor.