Onawa was designed by the renowned naval architect, W. Starling Burgess,
of the firm Burgess, Rigg & Morgan, Ltd. in New York City. She was
number 6 of 6 nearly identical twelve meter yachts built for prominent
members of the New York Yacht CLub in 1928 by the world famous Abeking
& Rasmussen yard, of Lemwerder, Germany. US-6 was built for W.
Cameron Forbes of Boston and was sailed in the summer seasons out of
Hadley Harbor, at the north end of the Elizabeth Island chain. The
Forbes family had owned the Elizabeth Islands for generations and still
does to this day.
Mr. Forbes, also a member of the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead,
Mass., campaigned his twelve meter vigorously under the watchful eye of
Captain Jackson, her professional captain. Onawa served her original
owner for six fine years. In 1934, US-6 was sold to Mr. Horace F. Smith,
Jr., of Philadelphia. Mr. Smith sailed his yacht out of Jamestown,
Rhode Island under the Conanicut Yacht Club burgee up to the second
During the war, Onawa was sold for a brief period to an attorney in New London, Conn.
Shortly thereafter, she lost her lead keel to the war effort, where it
was used for submarine ballast. Onawa's fourth owner, Mr. John F.
Requardt, Jr., bought her keel-less after the 1941 Harvard-Yale boat
race. She was laid up at the Williams & Manchester Boat Yard, near
the present location of the International Yacht Restoration School in
Newport, Rhode Island. Here they poured a primitive keel, which was with
the boat until her current restoration began in January of 2000.
Mr. Requardt enjoyed many years on board Onawa. He spent a season with
her in New England before sailing her down to the Chesapeake Bay. Her
home port was Annapolis, Maryland until 1953 when she was sold to Mr.
Ward Bright. Mr. Bright changed her name to Horizon, installed an engine
and sailed her to St. Croix, in the Virgin Islands. Horizon's new owner
was no stranger to fine old yachts, for he was also the owner of the 3
masted schooner and transsAtlantic record holder, A tlan tic.
From this point on Onawa's history is vague. Years later, she ended up
in a boat yard in City Island, New York with the name Lithuanica on her
transom. In 1991, Dan Prentiss and Fred Van Liew bought her at the
recommendation of Bob Tiedemann, of Newport, Rhode Island. She was
trucked to Newport and was laid up for nearly ten years when a group was
formed by Earl McMillen and Will Lobb to restore her. Once again
carrying the name Onawa, she will soon grace the waters of Narragansett
Bay after spending the 2001 season at Cowes, England for the 150th
Anniversary of the America's Cup!