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AILSA  -  1895

Ailsa and Britannia


Ailsa’s owner, Andrew Barclay Walker (born 1865), a noted polar explorer, was one of the six sons of Sir Andrew Barclay Walker a wealthy brewer, twice Mayor of Liverpool and builder of the Walker Art Gallery.


Tom Jay of Rowhedge - His first commands came with Foxhound in 1888 and Deerhound in 1889, both owned by Captain Nottage. He next skippered Reverie for owner Mr. Clark in 1892 and the following year took charge of Mr. Clark’s new yacht Satanita, one of the largest cutters ever built. For the 1894 season he captained Mr. Walker’s yacht Thelma, and,  in 1895, the newly built Ailsa, for the same owner. In this year the crew caused a sensation by demanding that a substantial amount of lead be removed from Ailsa’s keel to improve her performance. This was refused and thirteen men left the vessel immediately. Such a mutiny had never happened before but within a fortnight the lead had been removed.

Captain Thomas Jay

THE YACHTING WORLD - 7 December 1894 - “OUR SKIPPERS’ GALLERY - CAPTAIN THOMAS JAY. A native of Rowhedge, in Essex, he is a type of the outspoken British seaman, and is undoubtedly one of the best racing skippers of the present day. After a long training in cruising and racing yachts, he gained the coveted position of skipper in 1888, his first charge being Foxhound, 40-tonner, the owner being Captain Nottage. 1889 saw him skipper of Deerhound, under the same owner, which post he held for three successive seasons....”


G.R. & R.O. Received 18 Feb. 95

Name of Yacht; AILSA

Official Number; 104599

Port of Registry; Glasgow

Port No. And Date of Register; 4 in 1895

Registered Tonnage; 116

Name of Owner; section missing

Address of Owner; Maston Manor, Derby

[Handwritten insertions are in italics]

Scale of Provisions to be allowed and served out to the Crew during the voyage, in addition to the daily issue of Lime and Lemon Juice and Sugar, or other anti-scorbutics in any case required by 30th and 31st Vict., c.124, s.4 - Crew find their own provisions except Mate, Chief Steward, 2nd Steward and Chief Cook, who are found by the vessel while in commission. No spirits allowed.


The several persons whose names are hereto subscribed, and whose descriptions are contained below, and of whom – 28 – are engaged as Sailors, hereby agree to serve on board the said Yacht, in the several capacities expressed against their respective names, until the said Yacht shall be paid off. On a voyage from the Clyde to ---[torn]---- places within the limits of the 75º of North Latitude and the Equator, Cruising [to any] location within such limits as may be required by the Master. Voyage not expected to exceed 2 months and the crew to be discharged in the United Kingdom.

And the said Crew agree to conduct themselves in an orderly, faithful, honest and sober manner, and to be at all times diligent in their respective duties, and to be obedient to the lawful commands of the said Master, or of any person who shall lawfully succeed him, and of their Superior Officers, in everything relating to the said Yacht, and the Stores thereof, whether on board, in boats, or on shore: in consideration of which Services to be duly performed, the said Master hereby agrees to pay to the said Crew as Wages the sums against their names respectively expressed. And it is hereby agreed, That any Embezzlement, or wilful or negligent destruction of any part of the Yacht’s Stores, shall be made good to the Owner out of the Wages of the person guilty of the same: And if any person enters himself as qualified for a duty which he proves incompetent to perform, his Wages shall be reduced in proportion to his incompetency: And it is also agreed, That if any member of the Crew considers himself to be aggrieved by any breach of the Agreement or otherwise, he shall represent the same to the Master or Officer in charge of the Yacht in a quiet and orderly manner, who shall thereupon take such steps as the case may require: And it is also agreed, That any Man guilty of misconduct shall be liable to be discharged by the Master at any port in Great Britain or Ireland. That the voyage shall be considered as terminated when the said Yacht is paid off. Every A.B. who conducts himself to the satisfaction of the Master, will receive three shillings per week conduct money, when discharged. Cash & liberty during the cruise will be granted at the discretion of the Master. Should the yacht come in first in any race, with other Yachts winning, each member of the crew will get one pound for a first prize, fifteen shillings for a second prize and ten shillings for a third or fourth prize. Each member of the crew shall receive 2/6d per day extra when racing. The uniform clothing supplied to crew is to be considered the property of the owner of the yacht until such time as the yacht is laid up. Any man leaving the vessel before she is laid up or being discharged for misconduct shall return the uniform to the Master.


In Witness whereof, the said parties have subscribed their Names hereto, on the days against their respective Signatures mentioned.

Signed by Thomas Jay, Master, on the 13th  day of Febry. 1895.


[All men signed on at Gourock on 13 February 1895]

Thomas Jay, age 44, born Wivenhoe, Master

Daniel Aldridge, 31, Colchester, Mate

William Dun[b?]ly   , 34, Falmouth, 2nd Mate

Edwin Morrison, 34, Falmouth, Boson

John J. Lean, 23, Mevagissey, Coxswain & AB

Fred Rose, 24, Burnham, Essex, Erysina (sic) Cottage Rowhedge, AB Carpenter

William Pointer, 26, Southampton, AB

H. Light, 34, Hamble, AB

H. Dyer, 24, Rowhedge, AB

H. Webb, 26, Wivenhoe, AB

H. Bines, 25, Brightlingsea, AB

G. Syrett, 21, Brightlingsea, AB

W. Allen, 22, Rowhedge, AB

W. Wadley, 23, Rowhedge, AB

H. Pullen, 22, Wivenhoe, West Street Wivenhoe, AB

A. Long, 35, Soton, AB

E. Croft, 35, Exmouth, AB

C. Butten, 26, Looe Cornwall, AB

C. Death, 31, Brightlingsea, Hurst Green Brightlingsea, AB

J. Chiswick, 33, Wivenhoe, Wivenhoe Cross, AB

C.W. Cranfield, 22, Vine Cottage Rowhedge, Rowhedge, AB

T. Barbrook, 32, Tollesbury, AB

S. Wisbey, 22, Albion St., Rowhedge, AB

W. Everitt, 22, Rowhedge, AB

J. Arnell, 23, East Cowes, AB

A. Jay, 16, Albion St., Rowhedge, OS

Chief Steward left blank

H. Owen, 24, E. Cowes, 2nd Steward

H. Light, 31, Soton, Chief Cook

H. Baker, 37, Brightlingsea, Park Chase Brightlingsea, 2nd Cook




By 1900 Ailsa was owned by Mr. Jameson of Dublin

The Yachtsman - 13 June 1895

THE IPSWICH JOURNAL – 10 September 1898 – “An inquest on the body of George McKeon, of Brightlingsea, the man who was lost overboard from the yacht Ailsa, while racing at Dartmouth, was held on Wednesday. A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned. Captain Bevis, of the Ailsa, stated that McKeon could not swim or he would have been saved in two minutes.”

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