Story of Lucie’s Postage Stamp Appearance


Lucie has sailed and won under the colors of many different yacht clubs, including the Pequot Yacht Club of Southport, Connecticut, which included this bit of historical trivia in their official history, excerpted here.

What is the name of the Pequot yacht that was featured on a postage stamp? Perhaps this clue will help:

She was a traveled rule boat and often its crew.
Many races she has won.
She carried the numbers fifty-five and six
And later number one.

Readers need not be students of yachting history to recall that a “rule” boat carries a class identifier on its mainsail, often a number. Hence our mystery boat is six-meter number 55. If readers catch on to the dual nature of the clue, which refers to both a boat and a person, the last line of the clue leads to Club member number one, Lucie Bedford Warren, whose namesake LUCIE is the yacht which once graced a Bermudan postage stamp.

About the best small-boat competition on Long Island Sound in the 1930’s was in the Atlantic class and the best international yachting was in six-meters with such celebrated trophies as the Seawanhaka Cup and the Gold Cup at stake. The Cunningham-Bedford team, flying the colors of Pequot Yacht Club of Southport, Connecticut, played a strong hand in both fields.

The six-meter LUCIE, Nevins-built to a Clinton Crane design, saw plenty of domestic competition, and, internationally, represented the United States in team racing challenges with other countries for the Gold Cup, accompanying the Cunninghams to Europe on the Six Meter Mediterranean circuit. But it was on one of her regular springtime jaunts to Bermuda that a photograph was taken which would, through a mix up, land LUCIE on a two-pence stamp.

The stamp appeared in 1937 to little fanfare, purporting to show a “typical Bermuda yacht.” The governor of the British Crown Colony had personally selected the photograph of LUCIE, thinking it to be the VIKING, a local six-meter. Apparently, someone in the postal ministry realized the error but decided that nobody would ever notice. In fact, nobody did until VIKING’s owner took out his magnifying glass.

However, when Bermuda revamped its stamp set in 1938 to substitute George VI for George V, the LUCIE stamp sailed on with only a slight color modification. That’s when the furor erupted. A headline in a New York paper declared, “American Yacht on Bermuda Issue Makes Britons Angry All Over Again” and the story appeared in papers wherever yachting was popular.

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