Nat and J. B. Herreshoff created their famous manufacturing company in 1878, beginning with navy torpedo boats before settling into the form they were born to create—sailing yachts. Starting in 1893 with the Vigilance, their ships would repeatedly win the international sailing competition known as the America’s Cup, run for decades in neighboring Newport .
Situated on the harbor, the huge plate glass–sided Herreshoff Marine Museum (1 Burnside St., 401/253-5000, www.herreshoff.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily May–mid-Oct.; 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed.–Sun. mid-Oct.–Dec., $8 adults, $7 seniors, $4 students and children 11–17, free children under 10) holds dozens of sweeping ships’ hulls, along with explanations of what makes them so damn fast. An America’s Cup Hall of Fame pays respects to the winners of more than 150 years of competition.