Chapter 14 – Colonial Yachting

The final chapter in the book covers yachting in the ‘colonies’.

This mainly deals with activities in Australia and Canada, reviewing major yacht clubs, significant challenge races and trophies won. Details of the Canada Cup challenges 1896 – 1905 between Canada and the USA are listed individually.

The Australia section contains a rather charming paragraph which will resonate with any sailor who has seen boats racing in Sydney harbour, or with anyone who has lived close to a boatyard.

‘The Sydney dinghy is not only the subject of wonderment amongst the uninitiated who look on from the deck of a harbour steamer, but their sail-carrying capacity has been commented upon in tones of amazement by sailing experts from all parts of the world.

‘The inception of dinghy-racing may be traced to about the year 1880. The little craft were then known as ‘canvassers,’ and very primitive some of them were, being after the pattern of the coracle of the prehistoric Briton. They were built mostly by boys, who were as keen on boats as Peter the Great; and they were constructed with wooden cask hoops for timbers, battened at about 3-inch centres, and the whole frame covered with canvas or heavy calico. How much annoyance to the neighbours was occasioned by the tinkering and hammering by the boys, whose enthusiasm induced them to work overtime – often into the small hours of the morning – may be appreciated.’

There can be few better descriptions of the joy of discovering sailing at a young age. Richard Jefferies (Bevis) and Arthur Ransome would be proud of them.

Click here to start reading or download a pdf of this chapter here.