Museums, Programs, Historic Sites
Brilliant at Mystic Seaport
The schooner Brilliant was launched at City Island, New York, in 1932. She was built to the highest standards possible for a round-the-world voyage. Although not built primarily for racing, she entered the 1932 Bermuda Race and was not far behind when the Highland Light broke the existing course record. In 1945, she was purchased by Briggs Cunningham, who re-rigged her with taller masts and increased sail area, hoping to give her more speed in light winds. After a poor showing in the 1946 Bermuda Race, she sailed primarily in Long Island Sound. Mr. Cunningham donated Brilliant in 1953 to Mystic Seaport, Inc. to teach young people the art of seamanship.
The Brilliant educational sailing program introduces teens and adults to life aboard a classic schooner while sailing the New England coast. On programs ranging from two-day trips to 10-day voyages, teenagers and adults become full participants in the sailing of Brilliant: steering the vessel, raising the sails, standing watch and learning navigation. Participants are not passengers, but are instead crew aboard the 61-foot wooden schooner.
Brilliant is owned and operated by Mystic Seaport and inspected by the United States Coast Guard. Though traditional in operation and construction, Brilliant carries modern navigation and safety equipment. She has been described by WoodenBoat magazine as one of the 100 most beautiful classic boats in existence and as “one of the best maintained and sailed classic yachts in the country—if not the world.”