Arthur Knapp, Jr., Collection

Manuscripts Collection 357

Overview of the Collection

Repository: G.W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport
Creator: Knapp, Arthur, Jr. (1907-1992)
Title: Arthur Knapp, Jr., Collection
Dates: 1909-2008
Extent: ca. 3350 items, 22 volumes
Abstract: Papers, 1909-2008, collected by, created by or regarding Arthur Knapp, Jr. Collection includes manuscripts of Knapp’s published and unpublished works; published materials as well as correspondence relating to pieces written by Knapp, including articles from Nautical Quarterly, The Yacht and the New York Times; biographical material, including Knapp’s experiences on RANGER in the 1937 America’s Cup,WEATHERLY in the 1958 America’s Cup Trials, the Star Class sloop PEGGY WEE, the International One Design BUMBLE BEE and the Shields Class WILLIAM E. TUTHILL; newspaper clippings and periodicals relating to one-design and dinghy racing, frostbiting, America’s Cup races, Bermuda races, Congressional Cup and the like; personal correspondence; and scrapbooks of newspaper articles relating to sailing. Material regarding Knapp’s induction into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame and obituaries were assembled by his daughter, Corliss Knapp Engle. Complementary material is in the general collection.
Identification: Coll. 357
Accession number: MC 2009.26

Biography of Arthur Knapp, Jr., 1907-1992.

Arthur Knapp, Jr., the oldest child of Arthur and May (Dalton) Knapp, was born on January 5, 1907, in Bayside, Queens, New York. He learned to sail with his father and in 1916 was given his first boat, a Butterfly Class catboat named FLUTTERBY. For the next seven decades, Arthur Knapp, Jr., was involved in sailing and racing boats, both large and small.

After his graduation from Princeton in 1928, Knapp went to work on Wall Street. In 1974 he sold his seat on the Stock Exchange and began a second career as a salesman and later as a senior consultant for Ratsey & Lapthorn in City Island, New York. Despite his having to work for a living, Knapp was a sought-after crew member for racing and cruising alike. He accepted an invitation from Harold Vanderbilt to be a member of the afterguard on RANGER’s successful America’s Cup defense in 1937. In 1958 he was skipper of the 12-Meter WEATHERLY in the America’s Cup trials, but the yacht ultimately was not chosen to defend the Cup that year. He continued as skipper of WEATHERLY for three years following the 1958 trials. Other competitions included Cowes Week, Fastnet, SORC races and numerous New York Yacht Club cruises. He raced aboard Carleton Mitchell’s FINISTERRE in several events. Knapp also participated in a number of Bermuda races aboard DORADE, MUSTANG and PALAWAN, among others.

Knapp was an avid small-boat sailor as well. In 1922 he and his crew won the Sears Cup, the junior national sailing championship. In the first intercollegiate regatta, which was sailed in 1928, Knapp skippered the Princeton boat to victory over Yale and Harvard. He was Star Class world champion in 1930 and a Shields national winner in 1973. He was a frequent winner in other racing classes, including Interclubs and International One Designs, on Long Island Sound over his long career. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Frostbite Yacht Club, which held its first dinghy races on January 2, 1932, and in which Knapp was active until 1966.

An indefatigable writer, Arthur Knapp kept up a lively correspondence with friends and acquaintances. In addition to many magazine and newspaper articles, he wrote the classic Race Your Boat Right, which was first published in 1952 and updated in two further editions. He also was president of the short-lived Tidings Magazine, published in 1966. The YRA Newsletter, which made up most of its content (and was a stand-alone publication both before and after its appearance in Tidings) was edited by Arthur’s sister Allegra Knapp Brickell Mertz. “Leggie” Mertz was a competitive sailor in her own right, and served as president of the International Blue Jay Class association for many years.

Arthur Knapp, Jr., was a member of the Larchmont Yacht Club, the New York Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America and the Storm Trysail Club, a founding member of the Frostbite Yacht Club, and a courtesy or honorary member of several other yacht clubs. Among his other honors, he was inducted posthumously into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame in 1994. He died in Greenwich, Connecticut, on July 15, 1992.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, manuscripts, articles, clippings, scrapbooks, printed matter and memorabilia relating chiefly to Arthur Knapp&s yachting activities. The original subject files have been retained, but each file has been reorganized chronologically insofar as possible. Owing to the brittle condition of the newspaper clippings in the collection, most have been photocopied and the originals discarded. Loose photographs found in the files were transferred to the Museum’s general collection. Some material was added to Arthur Knapp’s own collection by his daughter, Corliss Knapp Engle, after his death.

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Restrictions on Access

Available for use in the Manuscripts Division.

Restrictions on Use

Various copying restriction apply. Guidelines are available from the Manuscripts Division.

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the G. W. Blunt White Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.


Knapp, Arthur, 1907-1992
Mertz, Allegra Knapp
Watson, Thomas, 1914-1993
Wolter, Paul

Corporate Bodies (Including Vessels):

Ranger (Sloop)
Weatherly (Sloop)


America’s Cup
Congressional Cup
Newport Bermuda Race
Yacht racing

Document Types:



Authors, American

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Coll. 357, Manuscripts Collection, G. W. Blunt White Library, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Manuscripts and published copies of articles by Arthur Knapp, Jr.; 1962-1989, undated
Box Folder
1 1 “Tactics,” typescript (for Popular Boating magazine); 1962 Jan 19
2 “Starts,” typescript; 1963 Oct 20
3 “How Does Yachting on Long Island Sound in the Seventies Compare with Yachting in the Twenties?,” typescript; ca. 1973
4 “61 Years Before the Mast,” New York Times; 1977 Apr 24
5 “Westchester, Fairfield and the 1977 America’s Cup,” typescript; 1977 Aug 17; published as “County’s Legacy to the America’s Cup”, New York Times; 1977 Sep 11
6 “Beware Rule 60.1,” typescript; 1979
7 “History and Origins of Frostbite Dinghy Racing,” typescript; 1980
8 Review of Bob Bavier’s book Keys to Racing Success, for Dolphin Book Club, typescript; 1982 Apr 13
9 “72 Years of Yacht Racing,” typescript (for Nautical Quarterly); 1982 Sep
10 “72 Years of Yacht Racing,” typescript (for Nautical Quarterly), includes biographical material at end; 1982 Sep
11 Nautical Quarterly, no. 21; 1983 Spring
12 Nautical Quarterly, no. 22; 1983 Summer
13 Manuscripts of articles for The Yacht magazine and relevant correspondence; 1984-1985
14 “Arthur Knapp Jr. — on “SAMUEL PEPYS” in the 1952 Newport-Bermuda Race,” typescript; 1986 Jan 15
15 “OKLA as in Oklahoma,” typescript; 1986 Jan 15
16 “Frostbite dinghy racing…,” typescript; 1986 Feb 11
17 “Vignettes on the Sport of Frostbite Dinghy Racing,” typescript; 1989 Feb 7
18 “Warm Memories, Cold Sailing,” typescript; International Dinghy Team Regatta program; 1989
19 “A Foggy, Foggy Day on Larchmont Harbor,” typescript; undated
20 “The International Yacht Racing Banquet, July 2, 1928,” typescript; undated
Arthur Knapp, Jr., Race Your Boat Right (3rd ed., 1973); documents, drafts, invoices, correspondence; 1952-1987 + undated
Box Folder
2 1 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Prefatory matter and Chapter 2
2 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Beginning to Chapter 3
3 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapter 3
4 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapters 4 and 5
5 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapters 4-6
6 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapters 6 and 7
7 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapter 8
8 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapters 7-9
9 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapters 9, 11 and 12
10 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapters 10-14
Box Folder
3 1 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapters 13-15
2 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Chapter 15-Appendix
3 Draft of and revisions to Race Your Boat Right, Miscellaneous pages
4 Race Your Boat Right drawings, diagrams and photos
5 Correspondence; 1973-1985
6 Royalty statements, invoices and book orders; 1952-1985
7 Miscellaneous material relating to book; 1972-1982
Advertisements and endorsements; 1941-1956
Box Folder
3 8 Advertisements featuring Arthur Knapp; 1941-1950, undated
9 Correspondence relating to advertising and endorsements featuring Arthur Knapp; 1949-1956
Allegra Knapp Mertz material
Box Folder
4 1 Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound Newsletter, edited by Allegra Knapp Mertz; 1960 Jul-1967 Fall
2 Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound Newsletter, edited by Allegra Knapp Mertz; 1968 Jul-1972 Fall
3 “A Seasoned Sailor,” article on James Mertz, husband of Allegra Knapp; undated
Awards and recognitions
Box Folder
4 4 Awards and recognitions from various organizations and yacht clubs; 1952-1994
5 Documents from album labeled “Arthur Knapp, Jr., Oct. 29, 1988,” including the program for a dinner at Larchmont Yacht Club in his honor, speech written by Roger Shope, clippings, list of attendees, notes and telegrams (album photos transferred to general collection); 1987-1988
Bayside Yacht Club
Box Folder
4 6 Bayside Yacht Club items; 1909-1987 and undated
Bich, Baron Marcel
Box Folder
4 7 Correspondence; 1970 Sep-1977 Aug
Box Folder
5 1 Periodicals and clippings including material about Arthur Knapp, Jr.
2 Periodicals and clippings including material about Arthur Knapp, Jr.
3 Periodicals and clippings including material about Arthur Knapp, Jr.
4 Miscellaneous personal documents
5 Clippings relating to Knapp family members and obituaries of George E. Ratsey, Albert Francis “Bert Darrell”, Agnew Fisher, John J. Flynn and Lloyd Leedom
Congressional Cup
Box Folder
6 1 Congressional Cup programs; 1974-1980
2 Congressional Cup programs; 1981-1985
3 Correspondence; 1970 Jul-1974 May
4 Correspondence; 1974 Sep-1975 Sep
5 Correspondence; 1975 Oct-1977 Oct
1 Correspondence; 1980 Feb-1988 Feb
7 Miscellaneous
Cronkite, Walter
Box Folder
7 1 Correspondence; 1983 Oct-1984 Jan
Cruising Club of America
Box Folder
7 2 Correspondence regarding nomination of Paul Wolter to membership in the Cruising Club of America, and two other nominations; 1985 Aug-1986 Jun, 1987
Box Folder
7 3 Clippings regarding dinghy frostbite racing; 1932-1986
4 Racing invitations and sailing instructions for winter dinghy racing, Larchmont Yacht Club; 1948-1990
5 Interclub Dinghy specifications, news and race standings, Larchmont Yacht Club; 1955 Oct-1982 Jul
6 Interclub Dinghy specifications, news and race standings, Larchmont Yacht Club; plans for Interclub Dinghy designed by Sparkman & Stephens; 1983 Dec-1989 Oct
7 Sailing instructions for various events sponsored by the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound; 1977
8 Correspondence relating to the Dinghy Gold Cup and the International Dinghy Regatta, 1980; 1977-1982
9 Notices and sailing instructions for dinghy team regattas; 1980-1989
10 Miscellaneous; 1955-1956 and undated
Eye Bank
Box Folder
8 1 Miscellaneous
Fiber spar
Box Folder
8 2 Correspondence and product information; 1987-1988
Box Folder
8 3 Magazine articles and clippings; 1932-1963
4 Magazine articles and clippings; 1971-1985 and undated
5 International Dinghy Team Regatta brochures; 1986, 1989
6 Miscellaneous; 1953-1965 and undated
Intercollegiate sailing
Box Folder
9 1 Clippings, chiefly regarding Princeton University sailing; McMillan Cup winners, 1930-1973; 1928-1971 and undated
International Blue Jay Class
Box Folder
9 2 Constitution, by-laws, specifications; minutes of the 24th annual meeting of the International Blue Jay Class Association; 1978
International One Designs
Box Folder
9 3 Clippings and newsletter
4 Miscellaneous class information and correspondence
Kershner, Tina
Box Folder
9 5 Correspondence relating to a balloon released by a schoolgirl and found by Arthur Knapp; 1983-1991
Knickerbocker Cup
Box Folder
9 6 Correspondence and brochures; 1983, 1988-1989 and undated
Meyer, Elizabeth
Box Folder
9 7 Correspondence relating to the possible donation of Knapp memorabilia to a proposed Museum of Yachting Hall of Fame in Newport, RI; correspondence regarding J Class sloop ENDEAVOUR
Mystic Seaport
Box Folder
9 8 Correspondence regarding the Oral History Project, annual giving and consignments of items owned by Arthur Knapp to the Mystic Maritime Gallery
New York Yacht Club
Box Folder
10 1 General order, sailing instructions and yacht ratings for Annual Cruise; 1958
2 Miscellaneous; 1954, 1984-1988
Box Folder
10 3 Princeton University and Flushing High School memorabilia
Rhode Island Resolution
Box Folder
10 4 Resolution from the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations extending greetings to Arthur Knapp, Jr., his associates and defenders of America&s Cup; 13 Mar 1962
Shields Class #197 [WILLIAM E. TUTHILL]
Box Folder
10 5 Shields Class newsletters and information; 1980-1989
6 Miscellaneous: clippings, class rosters, specifications, protest; sail plan; 1973-1985 and undated
Star Class
Box Folder
11 1 Star Class correspondence, newsletters and photocopies from Log of the Star Class; 1922-1989
2 Score sheets for the 1928 International Star Class Championship and miscellaneous material relating to Star PEGGY WEE; 1928-1931
Box Folder
11 3 Correspondence relating to a proposal for building a twelve meter America’s Cup yacht funded by tax-exempt donations to the People-to-People Sports Committee; sail inventory of COLUMBIA; correspondence from a student looking for a berth on a twelve meter; 1962-1963
Universal Rule, J-boats
Box Folder
11 4 Correspondence and photocopies of excerpts from books discussing the Universal Rule
Watson, Thomas
Box Folder
11 5 Correspondence; sail plan of PALAWAN, Sparkman & Stephens design #1996; 1972-1988
Wear-Ever Aluminum
Box Folder
11 6 Correspondence; 1971; 1977-1978, 1989
Box Folder
11 7 WEATHERLY plans, Philip L. Rhodes design #676; 1958
8 WEATHERLY race reports; 1961
9 WEATHERLY crew schedule; 1961 (9 copies)
10 WEATHERLY, 1961 Annual Cruise {New York Yacht Club]; 1961
11 Miscellaneous information and correspondence relating to and plans of winches; 1961-1962
12 WEATHERLY clippings, correspondence, brochure; 1988
13 Correspondence relating to damage to WEATHERLY; 1988
Yacht Racing/Cruising Hall of Fame Regatta, 1982
Box Folder
12 1 Correspondence; 1982
2 Newspaper clippings and copies; 1982 Sep
3 Programs and scorecards; 1982
Box Folder
12 4 Correspondence; 1984, 1987
Clippings; chiefly regarding small-boat sailing and America’s Cup
Box Folder
13 1 Clippings; 1924-1932
2 Clippings; 1933-1936
3 Clippings; 1937-1952
4 Clippings; 1958
5 Clippings; 1959
6 Clippings; 1965-1976
7 Clippings; 1977
8 Clippings; 1978-1979
9 Clippings; 1980-1981
10 Clippings; 1983, 1985
11 Clippings; 1986-1989
12 Clippings; undated
Periodicals; articles chiefly relating to the activities of Arthur Knapp
Box Folder
14 1 Yachting (periodical); 1923 Oct
2 Yachting (periodical); 1938 Mar
3 Yachting (periodical); 1938 Mar
4 Yachting (periodical); 1948 Aug
5 Yachts and Yachting; 1953 Dec 11
6 Life; 1957 Feb 18 (3 copies)
7 Motor Boating; 1957 Mar
8 Sports Illustrated; 1957 May 6
9 Sports Illustrated; 1957 May 27 (2 copies)
10 Time; 1960 Feb 15
11 New York Times Magazine; 1961 Aug 27
12 The Rudder; 1961 Oct
13 Sports Illustrated; 1963 May 5
14 Boat Construction & Maintenance; 1964 Sep/Oct
15 Boating; 1967 May
16 Yachting; 1972 Nov
Box Folder
15 1 Cue; 1974 Sep 15
2 Yacht Racing/Cruising; 1982 Dec
3 The Yacht ; 1984 Feb/Mar
4 The Yacht; 1985 Oct (2 copies)
5 The Yacht; 1990 Feb
6 Yaachting: a Parody;
Box Folder
16 1 General correspondence; 1952-1977
2 General correspondence; 1978
3 General correspondence; 1979-1981
4 General correspondence; 1982-1983
Box Folder
17 1 General correspondence; 1984
2 General correspondence; 1985
3 General correspondence; 1986-1987
4 General correspondence; 1988
5 General correspondence; 1989 Jan-Apr
6 General correspondence; 1989 May-1990 Dec
America’s Cup materials; clippings, correspondence and periodicals
Box Folder
18 1 America’s Cup clippings; 1937
2 America’s Cup clippings; 1962-1985
3 America’s Cup clippings; 1986
4 America’s Cup clippings; 1987-1989
5 America’s Cup correspondence regarding Harold Vanderbilt’s invitation to Arthur Knapp to sail on RANGER in 1937; 1937-1938; 1953
6 America’s Cup correspondence; 1959-1987
7 America’s Cup miscellaneous materials; 1937-1987
8 The Rudder; 1937 Sep
9 Souvenir Program, Sixteenth Defense, the America’s Cup; 1937 Summer
10 Yachting (periodical); 1937 Sep
11 Sports Illustrated; 1956 Oct 29, Nov 5
Box Folder
19 1 Popular Boating; 1958 Jul (2 copies)
2 The Skipper; 1959 Nov
3 Yachting (periodical); 1966 Nov
4 New Times; 1977 Sep 16
5 Princeton Alumni Weekly; 1983 Dec 1
6 The Yacht, no. 1; 1983
7 Yachting; 1985 Feb (2 copies)
8 Yachting; 1985 Jul (2 copies)
9 Yachting; 1985 Jul (2 copies)
10 America’s Cup Challenge; 1986 Fall
Box Folder
20 1 Louis Vuitton Cup: Challenger Races for the America’s Cup: Programme; 1986
2 The New Zealand Challenge: America’s Cup, 1986-1987; 1986
Box Folder
20 3 “A Suggested Revision of the International Yacht Racing Right of Way Rules,” by Harold Vanderbilt; 1936
4 Tidings Magazine; 1966 Jan-Aug
5 Tidings Magazine; 1966
6 Judging manuals; 1974, 1992 and undated
7 Mainsheet: the Newsletter of the Larchmont Yacht Club; 1976 Jun-1991 Jun
8 Miscellaneous materials, including race programs; 1928 Jun-1989 May
9 Miscellaneous; undated
Materials collected by Corliss Knapp Engle
Box Folder
20 10 Obituary of Arthur Knapp, Jr.; service bulletin for memorial service, 2 Jul 1992; typescripts of remarks made at service; 1992
11 Published obituaries and memorials; 1992 Spring-Aug
12 Obituaries and memorials; 1992 Aug-Nov
13 Obituaries and memorials; 1995 Jul-2008 Apr
Box Folder
21 1 America’s Cup Hall of Fame brochures, programs and newsletters; 1993-1994
2 America’s Cup Hall of Fame brochures, programs and newsletters; 1995-1996
3 Documents removed from album labeled “Arthur Knapp Jr. America’s Cup Jall of Fame for Corliss Knapp Engle,” including correspondence, list of 1995 inductees, copy of remarks made by Duke Dayton, etc.;
Box Volume
21 1 “The British General Strike,” first draft of senior thesis by Arthur Knapp, Jr.; 1928 Apr 12
2 “The British General Strike,” senior thesis of Arthur Knapp, Princeton University; 1928 Apr
3 Ideas journal for Race Your Boat Right.; 1947 Mar 3
4 Notebook; undated
5 Album, “America’s Cup Defense, 1937” (photocopy)
Box Volume
22 6 Scrapbook, “Bumble Bee, 1945”
7 Scrapbook, “Dinghies, 1947-1948-1949”
Box Volume
23 8 Scrapbook, Bumble Bee, 1948 Season
9 Scrapbook, “Bumble Bee, 1949 Season”
Box Volume
24 10 Scrapbook, “Dinghies, 1949-1954”
11 Scrapbook, Bumble Bee, 1950-1952
Box Volume
25 12 Scrapbook, “Assorted clippings starting 1952”; 1952-1958
13 Scrapbook, “1953”
Box Volume
26 14 Scrapbook, “Summer 1954, Dinghies 1954 thru 1956, plus Summer 1956”
15 Scrapbook, “America’s Cup, May 1957”
Box Volume
27 16 Scrapbook, “Summer June 9, 1957-Sept. 1957, Dinghies 1958-1959, plus general yachting starting May, 1961”
17 Scrapbook, “Arthur Knapp Jr, WEATHERLY, The America’s Cup Trials, Summer 1958”; 1958-1960
Box Volume
28 18 Scrapbook, “America’s Cup, July-Sept. 5, 1958”
19 Scrapbook, “America’s Cup, 1958, Sept. 6 on”
Box Volume
29 20 Scrapbook, “12 Metres only, America’s Cup starting April, 1960 through Fall of 1962”
Box Volume
30 21 Scrapbook, “General (no Twelve Metres) staring Sept. 30, 1961-Sept. 21, 1964”
22 Scrapbook, “America’s Cup Sept. 1962 thru Nov. 1964 / then general sailing June, 1965 thru…”
Oversize material
Box Folder
OV 1 Certificate from the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound for second place finish of FOUR WINDS in the Annual Championship, International One Design Class; 1943
2 WEATHERLY crew list in calligraphy; 1958
3 Certificate from Shields One-Design Class Western Long Island Sound Fleet for Associate Membership in the Fleet, to Ratsey and Lapthorn, Inc.; 1966 May 31
4 Newport-Bermuda Yacht Race Pictorial from Bermuda Sun; 1966 Jun
5 Certificate from the Inter-Collegiate Yacht Racing Association of North America electing Arthur Knapp, Jr., to the College Sailing Hall of Fame; 1969
6 SAILING magazine with picture of and reference to Allegra Knapp Mertz; 1980 Oct
7 Citation from the State of New York honoring Arthur Knapp, Jr.; 1988 Oct 29
8 Resolution from the Larchmont Yacht Club In Memory of Arthur Knapp, Jr.; 1992 Jul
9 Lord Calvert advertisement featuring Arthur Knapp, Jr. (4 copies, 1 matted); undated
10 Copy of a McGregor Drizzler advertisement featuring Arthur Knapp, Jr.; undated

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