Among the more important yacht clubs, the Royal Cinque Ports is a comparatively juvenile organization, having been founded in 1872. It soon, however, took its place along with the prominent clubs of a kindred character, and its regattas usually attract the pick of the racing fleet.
For some years it held two regattas, one on the Monday following the Nore to Dover matches, and another in July. It now devotes its energies wholly to the two days in July, when there is generally a big muster of boats, some of which have come on from the Royal Temple matches at Ramsgate, and some waiting for the Ostend race which starts from Dover on the Monday following the Cinque Ports Regatta. Dover as a yachting port is more particularly associated with the cross-Channel matches—Boulogne, Calais, and Ostend—while the race for the Heligoland Cup also starts from this port.
So far as the ordinary regattas are concerned, it cannot be regarded as an ideal district; the tides are too strong. There have been one or two memorable smashes at Dover. Amongst the most notable of these was one in 1893 at the start of the Dover-Boulogne race, for which there was a big entry. Britannia, Valkyrie II., and Vendetta became hopelessly mixed up, and some considerable damage was done. Another occasion was in 1904, when the American schooner Ingomar was over here. There was on that occasion, also, a fairly big entry, and the wind was blowing in moderate strength from south-west. The start was from inside the harbour, one of the last made from there since the extension of the Admiralty works. Navahoe was a competitor, and was first away, followed closely by Ingomar. Navahoe flung about when clear of the harbour works, and Ingomar, holding on her original tack, went plump into her. The schooner lost her bowsprit, and Navahoe was badly knocked about.
By a strange coincidence, the skipper of Navahoe on this occasion was also skipper of Vendetta in the accident of 1893.The yachts are started now from outside the harbour. This lessens the risk, but very little can be seen of the racing from the shore. H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught is Commodore of the club, and the Vice-Commodoreship is held by the Duke of Leeds.