The English yachting narrative with particular reference to Cornwall

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The English yachting narrative with particular reference to Cornwall

The June 2009 edition of the NMMC journal Troze is now online and and is packed with gems from the history of yachting.

The article in question is titled The English yachting narrative with particular reference to Cornwall and is written by yachtsman and retired clinical psychologist Mike Bender.

Here are some quotations I particularly enjoyed. From the beginnings of yachting:

‘In the reign of Elizabeth I, Richard Ferris decided it would be a atriotic act to show that no Englishman need be afraid of sailing in home waters after the Armada had been defeated in 1588. In 1590, with two companions, he rowed and sailed in a wherry from London to Bristol. He was not molested by the Spaniards but had to take evasive action near Land’s End to avoid a pirate ship.’

That’s a great story, if I ever heard one. Writing of the Corinthian generation of yachtsmen in their small wooden boats in the late 19th Century, Bender concludes:

‘What is interesting in these texts is that they are usually little more than expanded logs and journals, so it must have been the novelty of these passages that made them of such great interest to the contemporary reader, combined with the use of lithographs which invariably show the boat being pitched around in rough seas going round some suitably perpendicular headland. This Romantic imagery obviously appealed to the dreamer in the reader; but there is a self-denying, almost self-flagellating quality, in the self-chosen tussle with the sea in which the sailor engages.’

On women, he writes:

‘There was a long period of resistance before the First World War towards accepting women into yachting and yacht clubs. Sailing by women was feared for giving too much leeway for the dress and freedom of bodily movement required (and hence, being sexually arousing); and as a statement of equality or independence.’

And on the importance of recording the recent past:

‘There is also a certain urgency… If no-one looks for or after them, the historical records of those pre-GRP, pre-GPS endeavours – the accounts, the letters, the contracts, the tools – will soon be lost; and if no-one is interested in taking down the accounts of the sailors who used them, and getting them published in one of the many forms now available, they will take their experiences to the grave, and we will be the poorer thereby.’

This article is well worth reading. Find it here.

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1930s footage of Clyde yachting, including the Britannia and other Mylne-designed yachts

Classic yacht sailing on the Clyde in the 1930s, including craft designed by Alfred Mylne and Charles Nicholson. Look out particularly for the Royal Yacht  Brittannia!

Yacht – a collection of Michael Frith’s watercolours of the classic fleet of yachts

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Michael Frith yacht paintings

Michael Frith yacht paintings Yacht - a collection of Michael Frith’s watercolours of the classic fleet of yachts Yacht - a collection of Michael Frith’s watercolours of the classic fleet of yachts

Yacht - a collection of Michael Frith’s watercolours of the classic fleet of yachts Yacht - a collection of Michael Frith’s watercolours of the classic fleet of yachts Yacht - a collection of Michael Frith’s watercolours of the classic fleet of yachts

Paintings and sketches from the pages of Michael Frith’s book Yacht

Yacht is a hand-bound limited-edition book of prints of well known classic yachts painted by the renowned watercolourist Michael Frith, and inspired by the America’s Cup Jubilee event at Cowes in July 2001.

A sailor since childhood, Frith attended the event as crew on the last wooden Nicholson yacht, Quiver V (1969), which gave him the opportunity to view many of the 150 yachts present in close-up action. The sight moved him to begin recording the boats in paintings, a project that has since taken him to the Mediterranean and the Carribbean.

As readers will see, his vividly coloured paintings and sketches capture the characters of the boats, and very often something of the thrill of sailing them.

The book includes a foreword by Harry Spencer of Spencer Rigging and an essay by Dan Houston, editor of Classic Boat, and includes a pictorial index of the names and specifications of the yachts that appear in the paintings. It runs to 160 A3 landscape pages, and each of the 1000 copies is signed and numbered by the artist.

About the artist: Michael Frith has worked for many national newspapers including Newsweek, TIME, The Times and The Sunday Times. He has held 25 solo exhibitions, and his paintings form part of many private and public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Bank of England.

The book is priced at £400.00 plus postage and packing, and orders can be placed through the publisher’s website http://www.spotred.co.uk.

Have you any artworks you would like to share with intheboatshed.net readers? Email us now at gmatkin@gmail.com.


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