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The Lipton Cup Sailing Races

San Diego, 1905

A pair of handsome sailing photographs dating from the early days of the San Diego Yacht Club, depicting the yachts Venus and Detroit during the 1905 Lipton Cup races held in the Pacific Ocean off the San Diego coast. Sir Thomas Lipton, the British tea baron, sanctioned the west coast sailing competition, providing the silver Lipton Cup trophy himself.

The first Lipton Cup competition was won by the San Diego Yacht Club in 1904, with the Detroit, a chartered 47.5 foot speedster depicted in one of the present photographs. Controversy ensued with complaints by the losing South Coast Yacht Club, who protested that the race rules were written after the SDYC had selected its defender. The problem was solved in 1905, with the SCYC's purchase of the Detroit from the SDYC. The challengers won in 1905.

The captions (in the negatives) are as follows:

  • Yacht "Venus" crossing the finish line, race of Sept. 1st, Lipon Cup Races, 1905, San Diego, Calif.
  • The "Detroit" Lipton Cup Races, San Diego, Calif. 1905.

H. R. Fitch, Photographer

Herbert R. Fitch was a prominent and prolific early San Diego photographer, whose active career spanned the period from the 1890s to the 1940s.


While the San Diego History Center has a large collection of Fitch negatives and prints, examples of his early San Diego work are scarce in the market.


Condition Description
Two original black and white photograph prints, mounted on card. Photographs measure 8 x 6 inches, each on 10 3/4 x 8 3/4 card mount. Small pinholes to upper corners of one of the mounts, with lower corners clipped on same mount. Photograph images are clean and nice. Photographer's blindstamp on mounts: "The Fitch Studio, San Diego, Cal." Signed in the negative: "H. R. Fitch, Photo."