This sailing canoe is a double-ended, two-masted, decked boat of exquisite craftsmanship, built by J. Henry Rushton between 1887 and 1906. It is an excellent example of Rushton’s Vesper model and original every detail, except for the rigging and double-bladed paddle, which are missing. Only a handful of Vespers are known to survive.
The original Vesper famously won the first International Challenge Cup in 1886. Rushton capitalized on this fame by offering other Vespers for sale until his death in 1906. Notable design elements include a sliding seat, drop rudder, and a folding, fan-type brass centerboard, which allows the boat to navigate in shallow water while preserving room inside the boat.
Sailing canoes were common in western NY and competitively raced here. The Buffalo Canoe Club was founded in 1882 by canoe enthusiasts, and once had a fleet of 20 sailing canoes. The Buffalo Yacht Club also maintained several sailing canoes in its early days.
This Rushton sailing canoe, named Nomad, was donated to the BMC by John Cannon. Nomad was purchased by Cannon directly from Rushton and sailed by several generations of the Cannon family on the lower Niagara River.