Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Cowes Regatta, 5th. August 1920

This is a boating related post that I have taken from my other website, My own interest in all things boats started in my early 20's, starting with a hire boat holiday around 1973. The following is taken from just one of many newspaper cuttings I have from the 1920's that report on the exploits of a distant cousin of mine, Warwick Brookes, who held a passion for competitive yachting in the ocean schooner racing class. During the 1920's he owned and competed with two boats, Tuiga and Susanne, and owned Westward. for a short time, but was forced to sell her before racing her, see page 7 of the flip-book here for those historic details: (Westward's Story). This is the day on the 5th. of August 1920 that his Fife designed schooner Susanne beat both Westward, and the King's boat, Britannia, to the line at Cowes. (Text is from the time, images are from my own collection). Historically Brookes is my 2nd. cousin 2 X removed, (his father was my great grandfather's 1st. cousin).

Britannia beaten in a great race - Cowes, Wednesday.

A fresh breeze blew from the north west all day today, and occasionally there were slight drops of rain, with some sunshine. Conditions generally were uncertain and variable, but not altogether distasteful to yachtsmen, however much they interfered with the social side of the regatta.
The King was early astir on the Victoria and Albert. He is playing an energetic part in the regatta, and has been aboard his cutter, Britannia every time she has stretched her wings. He was sailing on her again today, and had his companions The Duke of York, The Duke of Connaught, The Marquis de Soveral, The Marquis D'Hautpoul, and Admiral Brand. The Queen and Princess Mary had watched the racing from the Royal yacht, and at its conclusion in the early afternoon the Queen proceeded to Osborne House and Barton Manor, where she was joined by Princess Beatrice, returning to the Royal yacht for dinner.
There was a considerable exodus from the roadstead during the afternoon to see the eliminating trials for the international motor boat trophy in Osborne Bay.
The three events of outstanding importance during the day were a handicap for yachts exceeding 100 tons; and a handicap for racers exceeding 35 tons but not exceeding 100 tons; and a handicap for craft of 10 tons but not exceeding 35 tons. For the first of these three, a cup and other prizes were offered by The Royal Yacht Squadron, and the day's entries formed the biggest total of the week. The Queen's course over a distance of 44 miles was taken. Yesterday's event in which Britannia figured was over the same waterway, but only half the length was negotiated. Today, with improved conditions, the whole distance was covered. The entries were the King's cutter, Britannia, Mrs E.R Workman's cutter, Nyria, Mr Clarence C Hatry's schooner Westward, Mr Warwick Brookes' schooner Susanne, and Sir Charles C Allom's cutter White Heather II. Mr Richard A Lee's cutter Terpsichore was on the programme, but did not start, because in the contest yesterday her gear had been damaged, and there had not been time for repairs.

Susanne's Fine Performance.

It was a magnificent start. White Heather II was first away. The King's cutter followed closely on her stern, but had the advantage of being windward. Nyria got into third position and Susanne was last, closely in the wake of Westward. The canvas of all the craft was fully spread, and as they beat to the west yachtsmen were enthusiastic at the prospect of a brilliant struggle. The King's cutter was faced with a stiff bit of work on the handicapping, and in such company. She ran into first place, but was overhauled by Susanne, who not only saved her time, but beat Britannia on the handicap with 11 minutes to spare. Britannia was placed second. The first to cross the finishing mark was Westward, but she was third in the handicap. Westward is an American built schooner.
In the race for yachts not exceeding 100 tons the competitors were Mr C H Moller's cutter Paula III, Major Lionel de Rothschild's cutter Zinita, Mr J W Cooke's cutter Thanet, and Captain C W P Slade's yawl Joyette. Zinita finished first and Joyette second. The race for the 'baby' yachts not exceeding 35 tons fell to Mr J S Highfield's cutter Cyra. The only other starter was Mr G Mackenzie's cutter Patna.
The remaining seven events were for quite tiny boats, and when all were under weigh, the sight was noteworthy. Fifty seven boats had entered, and of these, a very large proportion were afloat. Seldom too, has there been so large a crowd of spectators even at Cowes, which in the past has been remarkable for its competitions for its small racers.
Tomorrow interest will be centred in the races for town prizes, amounting in value to £100, presented by the inhabitants of Cowes. His Majesty's Britannia will be a competitor.
The King had several guests to dinner on Victoria and Albert tonight. The evening turned out fine, and activity on the roadstead was considerable. Pinnaces were passing between the yachts till well after nightfall. The chief social event was a ball at the Trinity Parish Hall in aid of the Isle of Wight County Nursing Association and Trinity Parish charities. The function was promoted by Lady Godfrey Baring, and a number of other ladies of the island. Princess Beatrice, the president of the Association was present and there were visitors from both Royal yachts, the Victoria and Albert, and the Alexandra.

Left-right, Lord Hardwicke, Reginald Tyrell, Warwick Brookes, Major General Francis Lloyd
Hardwicke and Lloyd both held interests in motor boat racing, while Brookes' interest lay in ocean yacht racing. Tyrell was a co-director and life-long friend of Brookes. Brookes also owned Westward briefly during the 1920's. A major contender in the Harmsworth Trophy for powerboat racing was Sir Edward Mackay Edgar, a Canadian born banker, who owned a series of winning power boats all named Maple Leaf. He won the 1913 race in Osborne Bay IOW with Maple Leaf IV, driven by Tommy Sopwith Snr. at an average speed of 56.4 mph. In the 1920 race, the first after the war, also in Osborne Bay, Sir Mackay Edgar and Colonel A W Tate were convincingly beaten by Gar Wood in Miss America I, which was powered by twin Liberty aero engines totalling 1000 hp. at an average speed of 61.4 mph. However, Wood had invested $500,000 on the development of the Liberty engines at the Packard Motor Car Company. The Maple Leaf boats were similarly outclassed by the Miss America series of boats throughout the rest of the 1920's. Mackay Edgar also happened to be the owner of 38 Park Lane, London, Brookes' residence at that time.

See: History of The Harmsworth Trophy, and Details of Hardwicke's hydroplane Fauber, 1909 Harmsworth Trophy and Pathe News footage of Britannia and Westward racing at Ryde IOW. also Pathe News footage of Cowes Regatta 5th. August 1920.


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