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 World War.

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!