A Christmas card from Lowestoft, 1911

What a cracking little Christmas card in reader Tom Edom’s family!

Can anyone tell us what these boats were please? Write to me using the comments link below or by email to gmatkin@gmail.com and I’ll pass the message on.

This is what Tom has to say:

‘This was a Chrismas card sent to my Grandfather in 1911, who seems to have owned Snipe a one design raced out of that fine port. But my one design knowledge starts somewhere in my parents generation.
‘They look like raters to me but raters were not one designs were they?
‘It seems that Snipe was not quite at the head of the pack but that a good time was had by all.
‘Hope this is an interesting quest.
‘Best regards, Tom’
Many thanks Tom – I’m sure it will be!

6 thoughts on “A Christmas card from Lowestoft, 1911”

  1. I see that the Coleen class originated in Dublin bay and may have been designed by a woman, no less (http://www.dbsc.org/index.php/about/history).
    But, with respect, I don’t see the Coleens and the Lowestoft boats as the same. The Coleens have less bow overhang, more sheer and are clinker built. The rigs indeed seem similar, reflecting the racing rig of the era perhaps.

  2. From Joe Farrow:

    “R/e the 1911 Christmas Card. I’m reasonable confident this was sent by a member of the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk yacht club. Their burgee being on the left of the triumvirate display on the cover. The square flag at the top is code flag ‘R’ – I suspect the racing flag for ‘Snipe’ the boat referenced in the card. It’s a unique feature of the BOD class that each boat is given an individual racing ‘flag’.

    The racing fleet is the ‘Broads One Design’ class – designed by Linton Hope in 1901, and initially the boats were built at Burnham on Crouch and moved to Suffolk by train. Just over thirty timber yachts were built over a period of 38 years. Twenty-seven still remain, including the first five built. Universally known as ‘brown boats’ because the hulls are varnished. They are a about 24ft long and very versatile. Easy to sail, but very difficult to sail well – if that makes sense!

    In the photograph shown of the racing fleet – most of the BOD’s shown still survive. Bittern is No. 11, Dabchick No. 6 and sadly ‘Dotterel’ – No. 8 is noted as being lost in the West Indies. A sign of how widely travelled this class is. Regularly the Brown Boat fleet travels afar. This year is was to Monaco (?) in the South of France for a regatta!

    ‘Snipe’ still exists, and is in the ownership of Mr Mockridge & Mrs Clayton, according to the class listing.

    The BOD fleet still races from the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk – each year for a week long event known as ‘sea-week’. I suspect some of the competitors are still after the 100 guineas in the RNSYC safe for the first person to capsize a Brown Boat – rumoured to have been placed there in the early days of the class…”

    All the best,


    Thanks Joe – that’s great.

    1. Thanks Joe and Gavin,

      I had done some of my own research and come up with the same answer. There is a history of the class on the RN&SYC website here: http://www.rnsyc.net/wordpress/links/broads-one-design/. I feel slightly vindicated in saying they look like a Rater because the BOD was designed by Linton Hope who was also a designer of Raters,

      Its great that Snipe is still sailing. I wonder how much of her is original?

      Joe, do you know if RN&SYC have historical membership records. It would be fun to know when my Grandpa joined and left the club. And if he ever won anything!

      If the current owners want better copies of the Christmas card, that would be easy to arrange.



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