|Ships:||Sailing ( 1)|
Countess Hélène de Pourtalès (April 28, 1868 – November 2, 1945) born as Helen Barbey, was an American who became a Swiss sailor who competed in the 1900 Summer Olympics and becoming the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal. (Source: Wikipedia)
To read more about Helen Barbey's journey in Seaport, check her storylines.
Lerina was a Swiss sailing boat. She took part in the Summer Olympics of 1900 and won one gold and one silver medal. Helen De Pourtalès was one of the members of her crew and also one of the first women to take part in the Olympics.
|Type:||Sailing ( 1)|
|1||Something to discuss|
Hello, captain! My name is Helen Barbey, welcome to New York City! Can we go have lunch? I have something important to discuss with you. My family might need your help.
My family and I are travelling to Switzerland to meet with my suitors. However, the trip is very expensive and my parents are spending a lot of money on my dowry. Could you help fund the trip?
Thank you so much for getting the funds necessary for our journey, captain. Would you and your men mind joining us? We could do with some protection from pirates and bandits.
|4||Reinforcing the ship|
Almost everything is ready for our journey to Europe, but it seems that the ship needs to be reinforced in case of bad weather. However, the company has trouble getting the materials...
|5||Arriving in Europe|
We are finally in Europe! I was afraid we wouldn't make it after all those stormy nights. Thank God the ship survived through all that. Would you mind help fixing it up? We have time before our train leaves.
|6||A cold night|
I'm glad we got our rooms at the inn before nighttime. Sleeping on that train would have been a nightmare. Could you get some wood for me? My room is cold and there is no firewood by the hearth.
|7||Finding a place|
Today, I will be meeting my suitors to see which one is the most suitable to be my husband. However, these are fancy men, I can't meet them at an inn. Would you be able to find a proper place for me?
Thanks for finding me a place! The first two suitors were terrible. They act so immaturely, spoiled by their rich parents. Can I get a cup of the famous Swiss cocoa before meeting the other two?
The third one was the worst of them all! He kept bragging about all his money and estates. I couldn't bear listening to him for a second more. I need to get some lunch before the last suitor.
|10||The perfect one|
I cannot believe it, but the last suitor was absolutely perfect! Hermann is funny, down-to-earth, but still classy in his role as Count de Pourtales. He is the best match for me. Let's celebrate!
Now that we are formally engaged, Hermann and I will travel to America to see if living together is right for us. I have a feeling it will be splendid! However, we will need some money for the trip.
Hermann and I are truly in love! We need to start preparing for the wedding. It will be a grand event that shall wow all of New York. Can your men help us set the venue up?
My wedding dress must be absolutely stunning! My designer and tailors have been working hard to come up with the perfect dress with an enormous train, but they might not have enough fabric.
|14||A surprise guest|
At the last minute, Justice William Howard Taft decided to attend my wedding! He will be making the trip up from Washington D.C. We need to find accommodation fit for a man of his stature.
My wedding was beautiful, everything I ever could have dreamed of! Walking down the aisle, looking and feeling spectacular. I was never happier than when Hermann slipped the ring over my finger.
We will now be moving to Switzerland and I would love for you to come with us, captain! It would be great to see a familiar face in a foreign country but the ship will need repairs before our journey.
|17||Helene de Pourtales|
Today, I am going to be officially named Countess Helene de Pourtales as Hermann and I will arrive at our residence, Villa Mettlen. I would love for you to attend the celebratory lunch.
Thank God that you're here, captain. You and my husband are the only people I can really speak with as I don't know a lick of French. I could really use some lessons with a tutor.
|19||Meeting the staff|
Thank you, captain, those French lessons have really paid off. I can finally talk to other people here! I really want to get to know my staff, so I want to have a cup of cocoa with each of them.
|20||Picking up a hobby|
Outside of official functions, I have more free time than I initially imagined. There is a beautiful lake in our estate, so I would like to learn how to sail. Can your men help teach me?
Sailing really seems to be the sport for me! I would love to continue practising further with your crew to see how good I can get. I plan to build accommodation for them on the grounds.
They've done it! The International Olympic Committee has decided to allow women at the 1900 Olympics in Paris! Tomorrow, we start training more intensely but tonight we celebrate!
To intensify our training, the crew and I will be going out to practice on Lake Thun to get used to sailing on a larger body of water. However, we will need to reinforce the boat to make it safer.
We should start building our sailboat that will compete in the Olympics. Our boat is great, but we need to design this one to give us the biggest edge possible. She shall be named Lerina - Gift of God.
We are almost done building Lerina, but we need to import special mechanical parts from America to make sailing her especially smooth. Could you transport them here?
Let's go for lunch with your men, captain. I have some unfortunate news for them. They will not be able to compete alongside me at the Olympics, as they cannot obtain Swiss citizenship in time.
I've decided to bring Hermann and his nephew Bernard as the other two crewmembers. However, your crew definitely deserve fair pay and I would love for them to continue to train us.
As we are now into the final three months before the Olympics, we should pick up the pace and train six times a week. Could your men spare the time?
Our sailboat for the Olympics, Lerina, is almost finished! Once we reinforce the hull, we will be able to take her for a spin on our lake, start getting used to the boat before the Olympics.
As Hermann, Bernard, and I will be the only ones representing Switzerland in sailing, we are to design and make our own Olympic uniforms. Could you provide the materials?
|31||Travelling to Paris|
We will be taking the train to Paris, us, you, and your men. They deserve to be there, this as much their achievement as it is ours. However, we will need extra coal to travel through the mountains.
We are in charge of getting our own housing. Could you find us a place near the lake so we are close to the practice facilities?
The Olympics are now just a month away, so we need to transport Lerina to Paris as quickly and safely as possible. We shall spare no expense.
It's the morning of the race! Our qualification times may not have been the best, but let's just have a great breakfast and then leave it all out there on the water!
|35||The starting line|
Come along, captain, the race is almost starting. The wind is very weak today, so we might see more rowing. This could give us a chance! Tell your men to cheer us on, we will need the support.
|36||The finish line|
We've done it! We won the gold medal! This is the best day of my life! Thank you so much captain, we could not have done it without you and your men. Let's celebrate!
I am the first woman to ever win gold at the Olympics! We could enter a second race tomorrow, but we would need to add more weight. Whatever happens, I already know I have reached my peak.
It was a frustrating silver, as we were nowhere near the victorious German crew. Still, I will be leaving Paris with beautiful memories and an Olympic gold medal. Let's have some cocoa and head home.
I've just received the news that there will be no sailing at the 1904 Olympics. There is no point competing at a lower level once I've won gold, so I will say farewell to professional sailing for now.
|40||The White House|
Even though I won my Olympic gold as a Swiss, President McKinley invited me to the White House. I have one last favour to ask, captain, will you and your men accompany me before your next adventure?