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-  Capt. Jonathan Cranfield and a local crew

Supplement to THE YACHTSMAN, No.224, August 1st, 1895

THE YACHTING WORLD - Vol. II., 8 February 1895 - p.718 - “Mr. John Gretton, jun., has engaged the services of Captain John Cranfield to skipper his new 60-rater, building at Hansen & Sons Point Yard.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 12 April 1895 - p.871 - “COWES - Mr. Fife, the designer of the new 60-rater Persephone (sic), building for Mr. John Gretton, jun., paid a visit of inspection at Hansen & Son’s yard on Saturday last.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 10 May 1895 - “COWES - At Messrs. Hansen & Sons’ the planking of Mr. Gretton’s new 60-rater Hester is completed, and decks are being laid.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 17 May 1895 - “THE RACING SEASON - PROBABLE COMPETITORS - Mr. W. Fife has designed a 60-rater, Hester, for Mr. J. Gretton, jun., which is intended to be a fast cruiser only; but, as she is to be raced, and as John Cranfield, who formerly raced the 60-ton Daphne, has been engaged to sail her, it looks as if she may prove to be quite as much a racer as a cruiser. She will not, however, be ready for some weeks yet, and her first appearance may not be before the 7th June in the Royal London match, even if she races then.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - No.58. Vol.III. Friday 24 May 1895 - “COWES - Messrs. Hansen & Sons are very busy with new work. They are doing the utmost to have Mr. Gretton’s new 60-rater Hester ready to begin the race from the Nore to Dover on the 9th proximo.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - No.59. Vol.III. Friday 31 May 1895 - “SEA BREEZES - The new 60-rater Hester, building at Messrs. Hansen’s for Mr. John Gretton, jun., is engaging a good bit of attention. She is Fife’s latest design of a 60-rating fast cruiser, and according to opinions expressed by experts should greatly increase the reputation of that eminent designer. Hester will be launched in a few days. She will be painted white.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 7 June 1895 - “COWES - Hester, 60-rater, is coppered, and will be launched by Messrs. Hansen’s on Saturday, the 8th inst., her skipper, John Cranfield and his crew are at Cowes waiting to take charge.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 13 June 1895 - “COWES - Messrs. C. Hansen and Sons successfully launched, on Saturday morning, the new 60-rater Hester, which they have just constructed for Mr. John Gretton, jun., from the drawings of Mr. Wm. Fife, jun. She is a rakish and racy-looking craft, with a clipper stem and elliptic counter, and, though stated to be merely a cruiser, ought certainly to render a good account of herself, and will probably be an eye-opener. Her dimensions are: Length overall, 93ft. 6in.; on L.W.L., 67ft.; beam, 18ft.; and draught, 12ft. She is of composite construction, having steel frame and mahogany and elm planking, and her lead keel weighs 35 tons. She was towed to Southampton on launching to have her mast stepped, and returned the same afternoon. Captain John Cranfield, who is appointed to her, expects to have her in commission in about a week.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 14 June 1895 - “COWES - Hester the new fast cruising cutter, built by Messrs. C. Hansen & Sons, for Mr. John Gretton, Junr., was successfully launched on Saturday last, the owner being present. Immediately after the launch, the yacht was towed to Southampton to have her mast stepped, this being done, she was towed back to Cowes the same day, and is being rigged and completed afloat. She will probably leave the harbour on the 15th. This yacht is built from designs by Mr. Fife, and is a composite vessel, her framing is of steel, and planking is of mahogany and Quebec elm, keel bolts and plank fastenings are of Delta metal. The chain cable capstan is supplied by Reid, of Paisley, who has also supplied a main sheet capstan of a similar pattern to the one fitted on Ailsa. Her cabin accommodation is well planned out, and is of polished mahogany and Kauri pine. Her dimensions are as follows:- Length, over all, 93ft. 6in.; Length, on L.W.L., 67ft.; breadth, extreme, 18ft.; draught, 12ft. From Bowsprit-end to end of main boom measures 118ft.; from L.W.L. to end of topsail yard, 104ft. She will rate as 60 under Y.R.A. measurement, and is a handsome-looking craft. The general opinion here is that the designer will be justly proud of the performances of Hester, at the end of the racing season. Captain John Cranfield is her skipper.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 20 June 1895 - “COWES - The new 60-rater Hester went out to stretch her sails on Saturday.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 21 June 1895 - “COWES - Hester, Mr. Gretton’s new 60, is lying just below the bridge, having the final touches given her by the builders, Messrs. Hansen. She went out for a few hours’ sail on Saturday last.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 27 June 1895 - “COWES - The Hester, 60-rater, just built for Mr. John Gretton, junr., is expected to be ready by to-day (Thursday).


THE YACHTING WORLD - 28 June 1895 - “COWES - Messrs. Hansen & Sons are completing Hester, the new 60-rater, and she will leave the harbour this week.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 5 July 1895 - “COWES -  Mr. John Gretton’s, jun., new 60, Hester, left the harbour on the 29th ult., and will in all probability sail her maiden race at Havre on the 14th inst.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 12 July 1895 - p.246 - “COWES -  Hester, Mr. Gretton’s new 60 rater, has been stretching her canvas in the Solent during the week. She left for Havre on the 10th, and will take part in the races on the 14th inst. Captain John Cranfield, who is brother to the captains of the new Valkyrie and of Stephanie, is in charge, and great things are expected of Hester under his skilful handling.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 19 July 1895 - “SEA BREEZES - Hester, Mr. Gretton’s new 60-rater has turned out to be a very fast boat. She won the first prize at Havre on the 15th, this being her maiden race. It is very remarkable that nearly all Mr. Fife’s boats win their maiden race. Thelma, Ailsa, Eucharis, and now Hester achieving this honour, and in nearly every case these boats have been hurried forward and sent in a race before they have time to get in sailing trim.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 19 July 1895 - “THE SKIPPER’S COLUMN - ... This being the first appearance of Mr. Gretton’s Hester, it was most fortunate that a steady breeze prevailed all day which over a practically triangular course gave the boats a good opportunity for a fair trial of their capabilities on every point of sailing. There seems little doubt that the Fife-designed Hester is a considerably faster boat than Namara, designed by Watson, for the former kept steadily increasing her lead of the latter throughout the whole of the course, and crossed the winning line 13m. 17s. ahead of Namara, having to allow her 4m. 53s., according to Mr. Andrew Thompson’s handicap.”





Thomas Hood, married to George Henry Cranfield’s daughter Mary Ann, was an “AB” on Hester in 1895 & 1896, according to his Naval Reserve documents.


THE TIMES - Thursday 18 July 1895 – “HAVRE REGATTA - At the Havre Regatta, yesterday, the competitors were Namara, Hester, Creole, Maid Marian, Corsair, and an old Clyde 20-tonner named Lenore. There was a fine sailing breeze, and Hester beat Namara on all points, winning first prize; Namara, second; Corsair, third. Creole gave up.”

“The yachting in connexion with the Cinque Ports Yacht Club will be recommenced this morning, and a large muster of yachts is already in Dover Harbour. They include the Vivandiere, Brilliant, Vendetta, Little Maid, Idalia, Chiquitta, Mariposa, Dotterell, Celacea, Anaconda, Diligent, Sybil, Wave Queen, Hester, and Creole.”


THE TIMES - Saturday 20 July 1895 – “ROYAL CINQUE PORTS YACHT CLUB - There was a heavy blow of south-west wind in the English Channel to-day, and none of the 40-raters entered ventured to come out of dock for the Boulogne match. Hester and Namara, however, housed topmasts and, with single-reefed mainsails, set out on the journey across Channel . Hester led, reaching through a rather trying sea, and kept in the van on the return trip, but was quite unable to concede the heavy handicap allowance she had to make Namara. She crossed the winning line about seven minutes before Namara, but had to allow her nearly double the time, so Namara was declared the winner.”


THE TIMES  - Tuesday 6 August 1895 - “YACHTING - COWES REGATTA WEEK - As usual, the racing on the opening day of the Cowes Regatta week was under the burgee of the Royal London Club. The programme of four events was successfully gone through. It was a grand racing time, a full jib-headed topsail breeze blowing, and when the ebb tide set to windward there was sea enough in the West Channel for Britannia’s deck to be swept with drift. The morning opened with a threatening look, and by midday it came thick with rain, and an unpleasantly wet afternoon followed. Britannia did not have the Ailsa in opposition, but she met the new 60-rater Hester for the first time and beat her by 32 minutes. Britannia, however, had quite a picked time, and she will find the Hester a formidable opponent in moderate breezes.

MATCH, open to all yachts exceeding 40-rating. First prize, £100 and silver medal to the captain. Course - From Cowes Roads, round the Warner lightship and East Lepe Buoy; twice round, 50 miles.

Britannia, Rig - Cutter, Rating - 153, Owner - The Prince of Wales. Ailsa, Cutter, 159, Mr. A.B. Walker. Hester, Cutter, 60, Mr. J. Gretton, Jun.

The Ailsa allowed Britannia 56sec. and Hester 23min. 35sec. Britannia allowed Hester 22min. 40sec.

A fresh wind from the west-south-west was blowing up the West Channel when the start was made at 10 o’clock, and the spring flood was then at its full height in Cowes Roads. They had jibheaded topsails set over whole mainsails, and began the match on the port tack, Britannia being under Hester’s lee board about two lengths ahead. When they bore round East Lepe the timing was:- Britannia 10h. 27m. 50s, Hester 10h. 20m. 41s. (sic)

Running hard before a strong following wind both were driving out a foaming bow wave. Britannia had not got thoroughly warmed up when she ran through Cowes Roads and was only holding 3min. lead off the Queen’s Guardship Australia. After they had passed the South Bramble buoy, running out with the wind abaft the beam, the Britannia was travelling away from the new sixty at steamboat speed. Jib-headed topsails were pulled down before they got to the lee mark, and when the Warner lightship was luffed round the timing was:- Britannia 11h. 42m. 2s, Hester 11h. 52m. 16s.

A long close tack was made from the lightship up through Spithead on to the southward of the Brambles, a swinging ebb tide helping them on. There was a hard wind, and both vessels had topmasts bare. The first round ended thus:- Britannia 12h. 27m. 32s, Hester 12h. 44m. 0s.

The spring ebb was going to windward at its full strength, and the West Channel-combers were making even the stately Britannia rear and stoop, while the fore decks were getting fairly swept with spray. At the East Lepe buoy the timing was:- Britannia 12h. 40m. 16s, Hester 1h. 7m. 0s.

Booms were gybed and both set spinnakers to starboard, and they were carried up as far as Cowes, Britannia running through the roads with 19½ minutes’ lead of her rival. Sheets were trimmed in for a run on to the Warner, and again a strong ebb had to be burst through. Off Osborne the Britannia reset her jibheader and Hester followed suit, but the latter lost a lot of ground on the free reach. The timing when the Warner was luffed round was as follows:- Britannia 2h. 4m. 45s, Hester 2h. 31m. 25s.

It was very thick with rain when they came up through Spithead laying their course for Cowes on a close reach, and Britannia was stepping away with the prize well won. The wind had steadied down and the water had smoothed, and, without breaking tack from the Warner, Britannia fetched cleverly through to the line and scored her 32nd win this season. The timing of the finish was:- Britannia (winner) 2h. 52m. 49s, Hester 3h. 24m. 26s.”


THE TIMES - Monday 12 August 1895 - “YACHTING - ROYAL PORTSMOUTH CORINTHIAN YACHT CLUB REGATTA - This club, of which Prince Edward of Saxe-Weimar has been commodore since its establishment, held a most successful regatta on Saturday off Southsea. It was under the patronage of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and the racing brought a fleet of vessels to the station, and a large number of people watched the sport from the beach. The principal handicap match was productive of close racing throughout, and the new Hester was unable to concede the time penalties imposed in regard to no fewer than three of her opponents.... The weather kept fine, and, excepting during one lull in the afternoon, a south-east breeze of moderate strength prevailed during the day.... HANDICAP for Yachts above 30-rating. First prize value £30, presented by the Rear-Commodore (Mr. A.H. Glennie); second prize, £15; third prize, £5. Course from off the Spit Fort, round the Warner light, hence round the North-East Middle buoy and the West Measured Mile buoy, and back to the starting line, three times round, finishing off Southsea beach. Distance, 39 miles.

Hester - Rig; Cutter, Rating; 60, Owner; Mr. J. Gretton, jun. Namara - Cutter, 60, Mr. W.B. Paget. Corsair - Cutter, 40, Mr. F.W.L. Popham. Maid Marion - Cutter, 58, Mr. M.B. Kennedy. Creole - Cutter, 40, Col. V.S. Bagot. Norman, Cutter, 40, Mr. S.E. Hicks.

The handicap was Hester to allow Namara 10min., Corsair 16min., Maid Marian 18min., Creole 22min., and Norman 48min.....

The race began at 10.30 with a beat from the Spit Fort to the Warner, the Spithead tide being at about three-quarters flood. The wind was south-easterly, but there was no weight in it, and all the vessels had jackyard topsails set and flying jibs to go to windward with. The line was crossed by each on starboard tack, but Creole was tacked round directly she cleared the outer mark, and she was given a good board over towards Ryde Sand Head, and when coming off afterward, on the starboard tack, she crossed Maid Marion and stayed ahead of Hester, while Corsair headed Namara. In this order they worked to the Warner, where the timing was:- Creole 10h.6m.25s, Maid Marion 10h.6m.48s, Hester 10h.7m.14s, Corsair 10h.7m.58s, Namara 10h.8m.3s, Norman 10h.13m.0s.

Mainbooms were squared and spinnakers carried in round the Noman, where they hauled up and trimmed in sheets for a quarterly breeze. Hester had run past Creole, but the latter kept second place. The strength of the flood was broken in going to the North-East buoy, which was gybed round, and, after a clean reach round the West Measured Mile buoy and on home, the first round ended thus:- Hester 12h.19m.22s, Creole 12h.21m.25s, Maid Marion 12h.22m.5s, Namara 12h.22m.30s, Corsair 12h.24m.45s, Norman 12h.34m.0s.

They beat smartly off to the Warner this time, which Hester weathered with 4min. lead of Creole, and Namara, through over-reaching badly, quite lost her place. They then ran with a fair west stream to the North-East Middle and reached back against the tide. Hester opened out a wide lead, as the timing of the second round will show:- Hester 1h.49m.7s, Creole 2h.1m.49s, Maid Marion 2h.4m.27s, Namara 2h.7m.29s, Corsair 2h.14m.43s, Norman gave up.

The breezes got paltry, and with a hot flood to beat over it took a long time to weather the Warner. The Hester was unlucky, and the whole of her opponents worked up close to her in the baffling wind, while Maid Marion took a free streak which put her past Creole. On rounding the lightship Hester was only 2min. 48sec. ahead of Maid Marion, and Creole was close to the latter, while Namara, like Hester, had not been favoured by fortune. A nice breeze came as they ran with a strong sweep of flood stream to the North-East buoy of Ryde Middle, and here sheets were close in for the West buoy of the Admiralty mile. They were close jammed hence to Portsmouth Spit (bell) buoy, which Hester made after a long leg on starboard tack from off the Kicker. The rest had to make a short board from off the Spit sand, and when the Bell buoy had been bore round spinnakers were set to run up the Harbour channel for home. The ebb stream was pouring out very strong, but there was a nice following breeze. Hester had the barren honour of being first past the winning line, but she had been unable at any period of the race to out-set the handicap allowance of either the Creole or the Corsair. The timing of the finish was as follows:- Hester 4h.54m.0s, Maid Marion 4h.59m.44s, Creole 5h.0m.39s, Corsair 5h.4m.36s. Namara and Norman gave up.

According to the corrected handicap times the Creole won first prize, the Maid Marion the second, and the Corsair the third, but owing to a protest having been lodged by the owner of the Hester the result of the race was not declared.”


THE TIMES - Thursday 15 August 1895 - “YACHTING - ROYAL VICTORIA YACHT CLUB REGATTA - The weather could not have been more perfect from a yacht-racing point of view than that which favoured the Royal Victoria regatta yesterday. A rising westerly breeze in the morning steadied to good strength when the first race was started and continued to the close. In the big race the new Hester was winner in a well allotted handicap match.... There was also some pretty racing in the small classes. Details follow:- MATCH for the Vice-Commodore’s Cup, value £70; second prize, £20; third prize, £10. Victoria course; twice round, 40 miles. Handicap by Mr. A. Thompson.

Hester - Rig; Cutter, Rating; 60, Owner; Mr. J. Gretton. Creole - Cutter, 40, Col. V. Bagot. Maid Marion - Cutter, 58, Mr. W.B. Kennedy. Vendetta - Cutter, 40, Mr. E. Simpson. Namara - Cutter, 62, Mr. W.B. Paget.

The time allowances were:- Hester to allow Namara 10min. 33sec., Vendetta 13min. 20sec., Maid Marion 18min. 28sec., and Creole 22min. 6sec.

The match started with a run to the Warner, and the Hester drew through into first place. The big boat was first to gybe round the mark, and the Creole had inside turn of Namara. It was a beat to the westward and a run home on each round, and the finish was as follows:- Hester (winner) 1h.59m.40s, Namara (third prize) 2h.17m.39s, Vendetta 2h.20m.52s, Creole (second prize) 2h.23m.18s, Maid Marion 2h.26m.58s.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 16 August  1895 - “THE SKIPPER’S COLUMN - Mr. Gretton’s handsome 60-rater Hester has fully justified the good impression her debut at the Havre regattas made on the critical onlooker, proving herself a reliable craft on all points of sailing.”

THE TIMES - Saturday 17 August 1895 - “ROYAL VICTORIA YACHT CLUB REGATTA - The typical autumn weather which has just set in on the south coast completely spoiled the racing at Ryde yesterday, and the yachts which took part in the match for the Commodore’s Cup round the Isle of Wight had a weary drift during the daytime, and also had a struggle through the dark hours. A fine fleet started for the Commodore’s Cup, and the race, which was not finished at the time of writing, began in the faintest of breezes. The Yankee boat Niagara got ashore soon after the start. The rest of the fleet drifted round to the back of the Isle of Wight, and off Ventnor the Corsair got ashore, while the Britannia gave up, the Prince of Wales having an evening engagement. The Britannia was towed back to Cowes.... Details follow:-

THE COMMODORE’S PRIZES of £100, for yachts belonging to a Royal or recognized yacht club, the first prize of £70 to go to the winner on Y.R.A. time allowance; the second prize of £30 to go to the first yacht of a different class from the winner. Yachts not to exceed 70-rating. Course round the Isle of Wight, about 50 miles, no restriction as to passing buoys, &c., except that yachts were to pass north of the Noman Fort and outside Bembridge buoy.

[All Cutters] Corsair - 40 rating, owner Mr. F.W.L. Popham. Carina - 40, Admiral V. Montagu. Namara - 62, Mr. W.B. Paget. Caress - 40, Mr. W.H. Walker. Niagara - 20, Mr. Howard Gould. Britannia, 153, The Prince of Wales. Ailsa, 160, Mr. A.B. Walker. Hester, 60, Mr. J. Gretton, jun. Isolde, 40, Mr. P. Donaldson. Isolde, 20, Baron von Zedtwitz.

Ailsa allowed Britannia 1min. 4sec., Namara 22min. 43sec., Hester 23min. 43sec., 40-raters 34min. 51sec., 20-raters 56min. 13sec.

In a light southerly air Britannia crept away clear of the fleet, Ailsa going as dead as usual. Carina was the smartest of the forties, and Isolde (20-rater) was right up with the Prince of Wales’s cutter. The Niagara got ashore on Ryde Sands and was towed off. Britannia and Carina were the best worked boats, and were first and second round the Bembridge buoy. Then came Hester, Caress, and Isolde (40-rater). Corsair got on shore east of Ventnor, and the 20-rater Isolde was the last. The fleet lay at kedge anchors for a long time, and Britannia was at last towed away by a Government tug. Afterwards all came away, and when the night closed in the approximate timing was as follows:- Namara 8h.30m; Ailsa 8h.30m; Isolde (40-rater) 8h.35m; Hester 8h.38m; Carina 8h.4om; Corsair 8h.43m; Caress 8h.44m; Isolde (20-rater) 8h.55m. It is not likely that the race will be finished until early this morning.”

THE TIMES - Tuesday 20 August 1895 - “ROYAL ALBERT YACHT CLUB REGATTA - It would be something exceptional if the Royal Albert failed to excite as much interest among yachtsmen as the previous great regattas at Ryde and Cowes. The pity was that better weather, from a racing point of view, did not prevail, but the practical sailing committee were equal to judging coming events, and, in spite of the paltry breezes, the most exacting of critics had no reason to complain in regard to what was done..... HANDICAP MATCH. First prize, the Vice-Commodore’s Cup; second prize, £10; third prize, £5. Course, three times round; total 35 miles.

Hester - Cutter, 60 rating, Mr. J. Gretton, M.P. Namara - Cutter, 62, Mr. W.B. Paget. Creole - Cutter, 41, Col. Bagot. Maid Marion - Cutter, 58, Mr. W.B. Kennedy. Sheilah - Cutter, 6, Mr. C.D. Rose. Dandelion - Cutter, 35, Major Little. Mona - Yawl, 19, Mr. C. Steel.

The Hester to allow Namara 12min. 11 sec., Maid Marion 18min. 18sec., Creole 19min. 21sec., Sheilah 28min. 25sec., Dandelion 69min. 44sec., and Mona 75min. 11 sec.

In a paltry breeze the Maid Marion drew out a nice lead of Hester, and at the end of the first round the timing was as follows:- Maid Marion 1h.1m.24s, Hester 1h.8m.9s, Creole 1h.9m.29s, Mona 2h.3m.42s, Dandelion 2h.26m.0s.

The faint airs spread the boats out yet wider, and the finish was:- Hester 3h.18m.51s, Maid Marion (winner) 3h.19m.8s, Creole (second prize) 3h.22m.53s. The others were not timed.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 23 August 1895 - “SEA BREEZES - In connection with the annual regatta of the Royal Portsmouth Corinthian Yacht Club , held at Southsea a fortnight ago, it will be remembered that Hester [Jonathan Cranfield] protested against Corsair [Lemon Cranfield] in the race for cruisers..... [protest] upheld by the Sailing Committee, and Hester was awarded second prize in her class.”

ALSO - “Namara’s protest against Hester in the Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s race for yachts exceeding 35-rating, sailed on the 14th inst., and reported in last week’s issue, was not sustained.”

ALSO - “COWES - Hester, Mr. Gretton, came in on the 20th to have slight alterations, and to be painted.”


THE TIMES - Monday 26 August 1895 - YACHTING - ROYAL DORSET YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “HANDICAP MATCH open to all yachts. First prize, Weymouth Town Cup, value £40; second prize, £20; third prize, £10. Course same as in the first match, 40 miles.

[All Cutters] Hester - 60 rating, Mr. J. Gretton, jun. Namara - 62, Mr. W.B. Paget. Maid Marion - 58, Mr. M.B. Kennedy. Corsair - 40, Mr. F.W.L. Popham. Creole - 41, Colonel V. Bagot.

The handicap was - Hester to allow Namara 10min. 30sec., Corsair 16min. 30sec., Maid Marion 18min., and Creole 21min. 45sec. The finish of the first round was as follows:-

Hester 12h.54m.22s, Namara 12h.57m.25s, Corsair 12h.59m.0s, Creole 1h.0m.5s, Maid Marion 1h.1m.42s.

On the second round Hester considerably opened her lead, while the remaining four vessels sailed a close and interesting race, and at the finish of a bout from the sea mark home the timing was as follows:-

Hester 2h.40m.32s, Namara 2h.49m.8s, Corsair 2h.51m.30s, Maid Marion 2h.53m.31s, Creole 2h.53m.32. The Hester gained a little in the plain sail to the White Nose mark, but after reaching off it looked quite unlikely she would be able to concede any of the handicap allowances. Hester and Namara stood seaward, and the rest worked deep into Weymouth Bay, Corsair having dropped last. The two first-named vessels fetched through, while the rest beat up for weathering distance of the winning line, and it was when making the last board that the Corsair sailed into the Ulva’s steam launch, particulars in regard to which are given above. It was a well-adjusted handicap, and it is worthy of note that the Corsair finished in regard to allowance a dead heat with the scratch boat. The official timing of the finish follows:- Hester 4h.25m.14s, Namara (third prize) 4h.34m.8s, Maid Marion (second prize) 4h.37m.43s, Creole (winner of handicap) 4h.38m.26s, Corsair 4h.41m.44s.”

THE YACHTSMAN - 29 August 1895

THE YACHTSMAN - 29 August 1895 - “COWES - The Hester, 60-rater, Mr. John Gretton, junr., has been into harbour to have some of her spars reduced.”


THE TIMES - Saturday 31 August 1895 - “SPORTING INTELLIGENCE - YACHTING - ROYAL DART YACHT CLUB REGATTA - A lovely autumn day favoured the Royal Dart regatta in Start Bay yesterday, and a steady south-west breeze prevailed. The only drawback was that the wind led from mark to mark, but if there was not any real windward work, there was a full proportion of close reaching. The handicap match between the Hester and Namara resulted in a line race, Mr. Gretton’s new cutter eventually winning by 29sec. only over a 30-mile course.

HANDICAP MATCH open to all yachts belonging to any recognized yacht club. First prize, £25; second £10. Course - from Dartmouth Range round the Skerries buoy, thence to a flagboat off on an east-north-east bearing, and back to the starting line, three times round - distance 30 miles.

Hester - Cutter, 61 rating, Mr. J. Gretton, jun. Namara - Cutter, 62, Mr. W.B. Paget. Maladetta - Cutter, 20, Mr. H. M’Gildowny. The Hester allowed the Namara 6min. 30sec. and Maladetta 26min.

A fine jackyard topsail breeze was blowing when the match commenced at 10.30 with a close reach from Dartmouth Range to the Skerries Buoy, and the Hester led through the line with more way on than Namara, Maladetta being to leeward of both, and having to make a short tack to get a clear wind. Jib topsails were carried and a clean fetch made to the first mark, which Hester rounded with 1min. 36sec. lead of Namara, and 7min. 36sec. of Maladetta. Booms were gybed and a dead run made to the Blackstone mark, Hester failing to increase her lead. A close reach was made home and at the finish of the first round the timing was as follows:- Hester 11h.46m.5s. Namara 11h.47m.25s.

Maladetta gave up. They sailed full and by in a fine breeze to the Skerries, where Hester was holding 2min. 50sec. lead, and, after a spinnaker run to the eastern flagboat, they came home on a close reach. The timing at the finish was:- Hester (winner) 2h.1m.40s. Namara (second prize) 2h.8m.39s.



Hester (Jonathan Cranfield) - 60 rating. Designer; Fife. Starts; 13. Firsts; 3. Seconds; 0. Thirds; 1. Value of prizes; £150, also 1 Sevres Vase.


THE YACHTING WORLD - 13 September 1895 - “COWES - Hester will be taken on the slips for the winter on the first of next tides. This yacht came in harbour last week flying six prize flags. It should be more, but some people say the handicapper was a little severe with her. The owner, however, is evidently pleased with her and her crew as he has acted very generously to all hands.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 26 September 1895 - “COWES - Mr. John Gretton, junr’s. 60-rater Hester has been hauled up and struck over on Hansen’s Minerva slip where she is intended to winter.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 11 October 1895 - “COWES - A very interesting event took place last week at the “Duke of York” Hotel, in the way of a supper given by Mr. John Gretton, jun., to the officers and crew of his yacht Hester. Capt. Cranfield, her genial skipper, presided, and a most enjoyable evening was spent. Songs were sung by the skipper and other vocalists, and the health of their liberal and thoughtful owner was proposed in the most enthusiastic manner.”



HESTER – 1896 season, as recorded in THE TIMES & THE YACHTING WORLD


THE YACHTING WORLD - 17 April 1896 - “COWES - The new copper is being nailed off on the 60-rater Hester, and she will be launched next tides.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 1May 1896 - “COWES - Hester, 60-rater, Mr. John Gretton, jun., M.P.; went out of harbour, and anchored in the Roads on the 28th inst.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 8 May 1896 - “COWES - Messrs. Hansen & Sons are giving Mr. Gretton’s Hester a longer topmast and topsailyards.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 22 May 1896 - “COWES - .... Mr. Gretton’s 60-rater Hester left for the same destination on Thursday last.” [The Thames]


THE TIMES – Friday 22 May 1896 - NEW THAMES YACHT CLUB MATCHES – Result of First Class Match; 1.Satanita 2.Britannia 3.Ailsa 4.Hester 5.Isolde 6.Caress.


THE TIMES - Saturday 23 May 1896 - “YACHTING - ROYAL THAMES YACHT CLUB MATCHES - The river matches of this club, of which the Prince of Wales is Commodore, were sailed yesterday in cheerless weather. A south-west breeze of moderate strength drove the yachts along fairly fast to their seaward marks, but as the afternoon advanced the wind softened and there was little life in the finishes. Four races made up the programme, and in the principal event the Britannia led from start to finish. It cannot be said, however, whether she was winner of what is known as the “blue riband of the Thames,” owing to her not having been measured under the new linear rule. Should she come out under 97 rating she will be the winner; if not the prize will go to the Hester, which claims a long allowance, and the Prince of Wales’s cutter will gain but second honours. Britannia and Satanita had a very keen fight for mastery when racing with a free sheet to the Mouse, but the former displayed her superiority in beating back in a failing breeze. Ailsa was never able to challenge for the lead, yet she was very close to Satanita at the finish. Hester got a lift home with the flood tide, but at one time Britannia had her well beaten. The Prince of Wales sailed on board the Britannia, and the vessel had a warm greeting when she turned through Gravesend Reach leader of the fleet… MATCH open to all yachts exceeding a rating of 65. First prize, £80; second prize, £40. Course from the Lower Hope, round the Mouse lightship, and back to Gravesend. Yacht Racing Association rules and time allowances for a 50-mile course.

Cutters; Ailsa -  100 rating, Mr. A.B. Walker; Satanita - 99.6, Mr. C.D. Rose; Britannia - --, The Prince of Wales; Hester - 74.4, Mr. J. Gretton, jun.

The Ailsa allowed Satanita 39sec. and Hester 28min. 1sec. Satanita allowed Hester 27min. 22sec.

A jackyard topsail breeze was blowing down the Lower Hope with the ebb tide as the match began. Satanita, Britannia, and Ailsa had the starting marks on before gunfire, and afterwards ran away beam and beam, Ailsa being out in the fairway, and Britannia closest to the Kent shore, while Hester was a few lengths astern of the trio. Britannia ran the fastest, and soon after passing the West Blyth buoy she was gybed, and then held a lead of half a dozen lengths of Satanita, while Ailsa was three lengths astern of the latter. The breeze was about south-west, and with balloon staysails and jibtopsails set they raced all free down Sea Reach. Britannia kept increasing her lead and was about three minutes ahead of Satanita off the Chapman and five minutes of Ailsa, while the Hester was dropping away far astern. The wind shifted from beam to quarter, and off Southend a mist came in thick from the south-south-west. A clearing, however, soon came, and with a veering to the south-west the breeze improved….. The Ailsa profited a little, and Hester was within her allowance of the leader. The times when the Mouse was rounded were as follows:- Britannia 1h.48m.50s, Satanita 1h.49m.6s, Ailsa 1h.49m.34s, Hester 2h.0m20s.

The ebb-tide was running when they began the beat home, and all made a board towards the edge of the Maplins. There was no weight in the south-west wind… Hester got a free slant on the first board, and [caught] up a little on the Ailsa. The breeze dropped and the weather came cold and misty. They had to beat over Sea Reach, but a long leg was made on the port tack. Britannia was holding about 5min. lead of Satanita when the Lower Hope was being reached through, Ailsa continuing third. The breeze was found very light in the Gravesend Reach and Britannia increased her lead in turning up to the flag buoy, and there was a great demonstration in the blowing of steamboat whistles and cheering when the Prince of Wales’s cutter sailed through the winning line. Ailsa got very close to Satanita, and had the former not been hampered by a barge she might have finished second. Hester brought home a strong flood and arrived 25min. 7sec. astern of Britannia. The rating of the latter is not known, and it could not in consequence be given out whether Hester or Britannia had won the first prize. The timing of the finish was:- Britannia 4h.49m.8s, Satanita 4h.55m.30s, Ailsa 4h.58m.10s, Hester 5h.14m.15s.”


THE TIMES - Monday 1 June 1896 - “YACHTING - NEW THAMES YACHT CLUB MATCHES - The time-honoured match of the New Thames Club down the East Swin produced a grand race on Saturday between the Britannia and Satanita… The new time allowance of the Yacht Racing Association was generally thought to press very heavily on Satanita and Ailsa, yet it is too early either to justify or condemn the change….. CHANNEL MATCH, from Southend to Harwich, open to all yachts of any rig exceeding 64 linear rating; first prize £50, second prize £25; should the first prize be won by a yacht of over 65 linear rating, the second prize will be given to the first yacht of 65 linear rating or under saving her time, or vice versa. Course from Southend, leaving the Swin Middle lightship on the starboard hand and the Gunfleet and West Rocks buoys on the port hand, finishing outside Harwich Harbour off the North-West Ridge. Time allowances for a 30-mile course.

Cutters; Satanita - 100.1 rating, Mr. C.P. Rose; Britannia - 97, The Prince of Wales; Ailsa - 100.1, Mr. A. Barclay-Walker; Hester - 74.4, Mr. J. Gretton, jun.; Corsair - 63, Mr. F.W.L. Popham; Isolde - 65.3, Mr. P. Donaldson; Caress - 66.4, Mr. W.H. Walker.

The Satanita and Ailsa allowed Britannia 3min. 22sec., Hester 28min. 8sec., Caress 38min. 52sec., and Isolde 39min. 46sec. It was a dull chilly morning, and a good sailing breeze from the north-north-east was coming with the young flood tide. The match began at 9.50 with a clean reach along the Shoebury Sands. Ailsa, which had just filled on the starboard tack, was put about by the Satanita, and the latter afterwards led through the line, with Britannia about three lengths astern. Ailsa came in the wake of the Prince of Wales’s cutter, Caress and Isolde were nearer the weather shore, Corsair being close up to the rival 63 raters, and Hester was last of the fleet… [Hester is not mentioned again in the article]… The times of the finish follow:- Satanita 4h.43m.52s, Britannia (winner) 4h.37m.37s, Ailsa 4h.41m.16s, Hester 5h.18m.21s, Isolde 5h.27m.4s, Caress 5h.34m.10s, Corsair 5h.44m.15s.”

[The Corsair was skippered by Jonathan’s brother Capt. Lemon Cranfield]


THE YACHTING WORLD - 17 July 1896 - “COWES - The cutter, Hester, Mr. John Gretton, jun., M.P., has been on Messrs. Hansen’s slip for overhaul. She left the Roads for Dover on the evening of the 13th inst.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 17 July 1896 - COWES - Hester noted as lying at anchor in Cowes Roads.


THE TIMES - Monday 10 August 1896 - “YACHTING - ROYAL PORTSMOUTH CORINTHIAN YACHT CLUB REGATTA - As usual, the Cowes week finished with the annual regatta of the Royal Portsmouth Corinthian Club, and excellent entries were made in all the matches. The principal event was a handicap for yachts of 25 tons and upwards, and the Hester, Maid Marion, Creole, Mimosa, Hoopoe, and Maladetta started in the order named at 10 o’clock in light winds and thick, heavy weather. They had not gone far over their course when the rain came down, and the thundery atmosphere was so dense early in the afternoon that a postponement had to be made of the start of the 30 class owing to the numbers on the mainsails of the boats not being discernible  from the signal station.

HANDICAP MATCH open to all yachts of 25 tons and upwards, Thames measurement. First prize, £25; second prize, £10. Course from off the Spit Fort round the Warner-lightship, West, Middle, and West Measured Mile buoy, twice round, finishing off the club signal station; distance, about 36 miles. Cutters; Hester - 110 tons, Mr. J. Gretton, jun.; Maid Marion - 72 tons, Mr. M.B. Kennedy; Creole - 54 tons, Col. V. Bagot; Maladetta - 33 tons, Mr. H. M’Gildowney; Hoopoe - 29 tons, Mr. E. Knapman; Mimosa - 23 tons, Mr. A.K. Barlow.

The Hester allowed Maid Marion 11min. 45sec., Creole 15min. 45sec., Maladetta 42min., Hoopoe 48min., and Mimosa 49min. A north-westerly breeze was rippling Spithead when the start was made at 10 o’clock, and Hester ran through the line 20sec. after gunfire. The weather was gloomy, and there was no weight in the wind, but with spinnakers and jackyard-topsails filling they made fair headway to the lightship. Hester kept the lead, with Maid Marion second, and coming back on a close reach into the Noman the same order was kept. A long-threatened storm broke as they were sailing east, and a deluge of rain beat down wind and made the racing slow. The thunder peals were heavy over the mainland, and the weather continued gloomy, and the competing vessels were then imperfectly made out one from the other, while they were quite blurred from view at the signal station, and the first round could not be timed. There came a clearing, however, after the rain, and a south-west wind sprang up. Hester could not get away from Maid Marion, but the latter was dropping Creole in her wake. Hester never seemed likely to compass her handicap time, but Maid Marion had to be hard raced to hold Creole safe, and the time of the last-named boat run out by 25sec. only when the official time of the finish was taken as follows:- Hester 4h.47m.7s, Maid Marion (winner by time) 4h.51m.30s, Creole 4h.52m.-s, Maladetta 5h.58m.-s. Mimosa gave up. Hoopoe not timed.”


THE TIMES - Tuesday 11 August 1896 - “YACHTING - ROYAL LONDON YACHT CLUB REGATTA - Owing to a legal flaw in the will of the late Captain Charles Nottage, the bequest of a prize to the Royal London Yacht Club was declared to be invalid, but in its place Lady Nottage gave a cup to be competed for, and a good entry was made. Nine representative yachts of the cruising class started yesterday and an undeniably good handicap was made. In the first round the result was as open as well could be, but in the  latter half a backing of the wind to the westward gave one of the stern boats such a lift up that she won very easily. The Gwynfa, which was the lucky boat, was built many years ago at Cowes for Mr. Exshaw, a well-known French merchant…. It was plain sailing almost throughout, but in a beat home from Lepe to the winning line there were life and interest in the struggle for mastery and several changes in position. Lady Nottage, it may be said, was a spectator from the club balcony of the leading features of the race. Details follow:- CRUISERS’ HANDICAP for yachts of not less than 20 tons gross register belonging to members of any Royal or recognized yacht club. First prize, a piece of plate value £30, presented by Lady Nottage; second prize, £15, presented by the Royal London Club. Course from Cowes Roads round the East Stourbridge buoy, East Bramble buoy, and East Lepe buoy, returning to Cowes Roads, twice round - 36 miles.

The Hester allowed Namara (Cutter, 102 tons) and Maid Marion (Cutter, 72 tons) 10min.; Creole (Cutter, 54 tons) 14min.; Columbine (Yawl, 81 tons) 15min.; Anemone (Yawl, 95 tons) 39min.; Cariad (Ketch, 129 tons, Lord Dunraven) 41min.; Hirondelle (Yawl, 71 tons) 60min.; Gwynfa (Cutter, 57 tons) 64min.; and Gwendolin (Schooner, 62 tons)  73min.

The start was made at 10.30 in a fine fresh northerly wind, and Creole in a lee berth reached first through the line, Hester, Namara, Cariad, Maid Marion, and Anemone being actually overlapping. The only blot in the start was the poorly-judged distance of the Hirondelle and the Gwendolin. It was a reaching breeze to the East Stourbridge, and the wind was puffy enough to bring down the topmast of the Hirondelle off the Peel and the jibboom of the Gwendolin was flying away off the Motherbank. It was a pretty race along the wind to the East Stourbridge, and the timing was - Hester 11h.10m.0s, Namara 11h.10m.43s, Anemone 11h.12m.30s, Cariad 11h.13m.20s, Maid Marion 11h.13m.43s, Creole 11h.13m.58s, Gwynfa 11h.17m.0s, Hirondelle 11h.18m.32s, Gwendolin 11h.20m.40s.

The fleet came along the wind in Indian file past Cowes on to Lepe, and the only change was that Lord Dunraven’s cruiser went through the lee of the Creole. From Lepe they came with the wind on the side home, and the finish of the first round follows:- Hester 12h.15m.31s, Namara 12h.17m.5s, Maid Marion 12h.22m.15s, Anemone 12h.24m.17s, Cariad 12h.25m.38s, Creole 12h.25m.53s, Gwynfa 12h.48m.9s, Gwendolin 1h.20m.18s.

The last named two gave up. In sailing the last round there were some heavy puffs, and all the vessels were ploughing along in fine style. It was a desperately heavy soak of tide, and from Lepe to Cowes was a hard bore. On the last round there were no changes in positions, but as the wind was shortening it looked like a good coming-home fight. Hester had to beat over every inch of the ground from Lepe to Cowes, and was twisted about four times before she was able to weather the line. Namara, Maid Marion, Cariad, Creole, and Anemone were far more lucky, as they made a tack less, and better still the Gwynfa laid right through, and scored an undeniably lucky victory. The timing follows:- Hester 2h.35m.7s, Namara 2h.35m.48s, Creole 2h.42m.54s, Anemone (second prize) 2h.49m.6s, Cariad 3h.2m.4s, Gwynfa (winner) 3h.6m.42s.

It may be said that on the handicap allowance the order of merit was - Gwynfa, Anemone, Cariad, Namara, Creole, Maid Marion, and Hester, the Hirondelle and Gwendolin having given up.”

THE TIMES - Wednesday 12 August 1896 - “YACHTING - ROYAL VICTORIA YACHT CLUB REGATTA - The annual regatta of the “Red Squadron” opened yesterday at Ryde with two unfortunate mishaps. One of the Corsair’s crew had his leg fractured through the spinnaker boom unshipping, and a member of Ailsa’s crew was thrown overboard in a gybe at the last mark… HANDICAP MATCH, open to all yachts exceeding 35 tons, Thames measurement. First prize £30, second prize £15, third prize £10. Short Victoria course, as in previous race, 35 miles.

Hester - Cutter, 110 tons, Mr. J. Gretton, jun.; Namara - Cutter, 102 tons, Mr. W.B. Paget; Maid Marion - Cutter, 72 tons, Mr. M.B. Kennedy; Creole - Cutter, 54 tons, Col. V. Bagot; Columbine - Yawl, 81 tons, Capt. F. Wallace; Hoopoe - Cutter, 29 tons, Mr. E.S. Knapman; Gwendoline (sic) - Schooner, 62 tons, Mr. Van Laun.

The handicap was - Hester allowed Namara 6min. 57sec., Maid Marion 10min. 5sec., Creole 13min. 35sec., Columbine 14min. 23sec., Hoopoe 51min. 3sec., and Gwendoline 61min. 21sec.

The Creole, Hester, Namara, Columbine, and Maid Marion came crowding to the line and made a very pretty start, Hoopoe and Gwendoline being late for the gun. In running to the Warner Hester took a clear lead, Namara being second, then Creole, Maid Marion, and Columbine. A fine cross-tacking display was made going west, although the wind kept light. Maid Marion broke away after weathering the Spit, and worked the island side, while all her opponents stood for the north shore. Maid Marion, it proved, had been sailed with good judgment, as she pulled up close to Hester, and  bore round the West Buoy in second place. It was a run back with the wind freshening and bringing up the Maid Marion and Creole closer to the Hester, and when the first round finished the timing was as follows:- Hester 1h.33m.15s, Maid Marion 1h.40m.45s, Creole 1h.44m.40s, Namara 1h.49m.25s, Hoopoe 2h.35m.0s, Gwendoline 2h.45m.30s.

Hester widened her lead in running over the tide to the Warner, and she made a steady gain in the long beat to West Middle. She did not look like a winner, however, when she squared away for home, and, with the wind breezing up and the east tide gathering in strength, Maid Marion came booming along, having run all bunting finely out, and she sailed the line a clever winner. The finish was as follows:- Hester 4h.8m.13s, Maid Marion (winner by time) 4h.15m.52s, Creole 4h.22m.14s. Namara, Columbine, and Hoopoe gave up; Gwendoline not timed.”

[Corsair, skipper Lemon Cranfield,  was competing here in another match on the same day]


THE TIMES - Friday 14 August 1896 - “YACHTING - ROYAL VICTORIA YACHT CLUB REGATTA - The Royal Victoria Yacht Club had a record day at Ryde yesterday. In fact, the sport was quite without parallel in regard to Solent racing. A grand sailing breeze of whole sail strength prevailed, the weather was enjoyably fine and clear, and nine matches commended no fewer than 78 entries. The racing in every event was keen and interesting, and the host of people on Ryde Pier saw yachting in its perfection…. THE TOWN CUP, a handicap match for all yachts exceeding 25 tons, Thames measurement, belonging to a Royal or recognized yacht club. Second prize, £15; third prize, £10. Course from Ryde Roads round the Warner lightship, the Outer Spit buoy, and West buoy off Ryde Middle and back to Ryde. Distance, twice round, 25 miles.

Hester - Cutter; Namara - Cutter; Maid Marion - Cutter; Creole - Cutter; Anemone - Yawl; Maladetta - Cutter; Gwendoline - Schooner.

The Hester allowed Namara 7min. 6sec., Maid Marion 7min. 53sec., Creole 13min. 35sec., Anemone 37min. 48sec., Maladetta 43min. 7sec., and Gwendoline 64min. 11sec.

The Creole and Hester ran through the line close together; in fact a foul occurred. Namara came next, then Maladetta and Maid Marion, and after a run to the Warner the order was Hester, Maid Marion, Creole, Namara, Anemone, and Maladetta. A good race was sailed in the beat round the outer spit to the West buoy, and hence they ran home, Hester with a split jackyard topsail. At the end of the first round it looked like as open handicap, and the timing was:- Hester 12h.12m.0s, Namara 12h.14m.49s, Creole 12h.25m.20s, Maid Marion 12h.31m.20s, Anemone 12h.31m.23s, Maladetta 12h.47m.0s.

On the second round Hester sailed consistently, but many of her opponents, notably Anemone, got a lift off the island shore through a southerly freeing, and Mr. Gretton’s unlucky cutter again suffered defeat. The Anemone, which sailed well, was winner with a fair margin of time in hand, and Namara well deserved second honours. The finish was:- Hester (winner) 2h.16m.7s, Namara 2h.21m.46s, Creole 2h.25m.34s, Maid Marion 2h.42m.28s, Anemone (winner by time) 2h.46m.58s. Creole protested against Hester for a foul at the start.”

[Result not known. Corsair, Capt. Lemon Cranfield, was also competing on the same day, and the article finishes by noting that Lord Dunraven’s yacht Valkyrie had arrived in Gourock Bay from New York yesterday morning]


THE TIMES - Tuesday 18 August 1896 - “YACHTING - ROYAL ALBERT YACHT CLUB REGATTA - Gloriously fine weather favoured the opening of the Royal Albert Regatta yesterday, and a steady jackyard-topsail breeze held true from the south-east until just towards the finish of the big race…. [Meteor, Britannia, Satanita etc]… HANDICAP MATCH for yachts above 25 tons. First prize, cup presented by the Vice-Commodore; second prize, £10; third prize, £5. Course, from off the Spit Fort, round the Warner lightship, and the north-east buoy of the Middle, and back to the starting line, three times round; about 35 miles.

Hester -  Cutter, 110 tons, Mr. John Gretton, jun.; Namara - Cutter, 102 tons, Mr. W.B. Paget; Maid Marion - Cutter, 72 tons, Mr. M.B. Kennedy; Creole - Cutter, 54 tons, Col. V. Bagot; Thelma - Cutter, 41 tons, Mr. H.T. Michels.

Handicap - Hester allows Namara 7min. 6sec., Maid Marion 7min. 53sec., Creole 13min. 35sec., and Thelma 26min. 23sec.

A good start was made, and after crossing the line Hester and Creole tried their fortune on the island shore, as the wind looked likely to veer southerly. Thelma, Namara, and Maid Marion headed towards the Horse, and after Hester had tacked she stood that way and lost her topmast near the elbow buoy.”

[Hester took no further part in the match which was won by Thelma on time over Namara and Maid Marion, Creole being disqualified]


THE TIMES - Wednesday 19 August 1896 - “THE METEOR IN COLLISION - BARON VON ZEDTWITZ KILLED - A deplorable accident occurred yesterday at Spithead in connexion with the second day’s racing of the Royal Albert Yacht Club Regatta. The large cutters and the 52ft. class were each completing the first round of their respective courses at the committee-boat, H.M.S. Ant, about noon, when the German Emperor’s cutter Meteor, which was following the Britannia, after running over the stern of the 52ft. rater Isolde dismasted her with the main boom, and the mast and mainsail fell on the owner, Baron von Zedtwitz, who was so badly crushed in the head and body that he died on a steam yacht to which he had been removed about 20 minutes afterwards. A most extraordinary scene followed the occurrence, the four big vessels being brought to as well as the five 20-raters to render assistance, and happily all the Isolde’s crew, who had either jumped or been swept overboard, were picked up, and of those left on the deck when the spars and gear fell it was a miracle that only her unfortunate owner was injured… HANDICAP MATCH for yachts exceeding 25 tons. First prize, cup with £15 added; second prize, £10; third prize, £5. Course from off Spit Fort round the Warner Lightship and the north-east buoy of the Middle, and back to the starting line, three times round, 35 miles.

Hester, Namara, Maid Marion, Creole, Thelma. The handicap was - Hester allows Namara 7min. 6sec., Maid Marion 7min. 53sec., Creole 13min. 25sec., and Thelma 26min. 23sec.

Thelma and Hester  went away with the lead, Maid Marion followed, then came Creole and Namara. After a free reach to the Warner the Hester was leading, then came Maid Marion, Namara, Creole, and Thelma. In reaching along Ryde Sands Maid Marion, Namara, and Creole had a severe blanketing from the big cutters and Hester got clear off. They reached all round the course, and at the end of the first round the timing was:- Hester 11h.41m.37s. Namara 11h.46m.4s. Maid Marion 11h.46m.50s. Creole 11h.50m.42s. Thelma 11h.54m.9s.

They had a plain sail round the course on the second turn, but in the last round the wind westerned and they came running home, the match ending thus:- Hester (winner) 2h.6m.12s. Namara (second prize) 2h.13m.53s. Maid Marion (third prize) 2h.19m.55s. Creole 2h.32m.10s. Thelma 2h.45m.52s.”

[Lemon Cranfield and Corsair also here on this day but just before the start pulled down her racing flag as a protest against the Caress being admitted into a second-class match]


THE TIMES - Monday 24 August 1896 - “YACHTING - ROYAL DORSET YACHT CLUB REGATTA - …The Hester had a fair trial, and, sailing in fine form, she easily carried off the handicap match, while a lift on the last round helped Creole to score second honours. Racing details follow:- HANDICAP MATCH open to all yachts above 20 tons, Thames measurement. First prize, the Weymouth Town prize of £40; second prize, £20. Course, same as the first match - 40 miles.

Hester, Namara, Maid Marion, Creole, Anemone, Thelma, Gwendoline, Beluga (Yawl, 53 tons, Major C.E. Little).

Hester allowed Namara 7min., Maid Marion 10min., Creole 14min., Anemone 21min., Thelma 29min., Gwendoline and Beluga 63min.

Hester stayed ahead of Creole and made a clever start, Maid Marion coming third, then Beluga, Namara, Gwendoline, and Anemone, the last-named being 4min. 15sec. late. The breeze was shooting smartly off shore, and before reaching to the Redcliff mark the Gwendoline had carried away the halliards of her flying jib and had the sail under the bow, while the Anemone’s topmast went short off at the cap. Hester went trailing away fast, and after a plain sail round to the sea mark came by the wind for home with a commanding lead of Namara, Maid Marion, and Creole. In the beat home Namara got quite thrown out, and at the finish of the first round the timing was:- Hester 12h.42m.53s. Maid Marion 12h.50m.47s. Creole 12h.58m.57s. Namara 1h.0m.40s.

Beluga gave up on the second turn. Namara pulled up on Maid Marion, but Hester continued to increase her lead, and the finish of the second round was as follows:- Hester 2h.44m.24s. Maid Marion 3h.3m.33s. Namara 3h.4m.3s. Creole 3h.7m.24s.

After reaching to Redcliff they ran along the land carrying spinnakers, the wind freshening astern and bringing Maid Marion, Namara, and Creole close together at the Bat’s Head mark. After reaching off they found the wind more westerly, and made a long leg on port tack. Beating home Hester increased her lead and arrived an easy winner, but there was a keen struggle with Namara, Maid Marion, and Creole for the second prize. The last-named on her best point worked up close, and arrived well within her handicap time. The finish was:- Hester (winner) 4h.27m.42s. Namara 4h.43m.7s. Maid Marion 4h.48m.25s. Creole (second prize) 4h.50m.35s.”


THE TIMES - Tuesday 25 August 1896 - “YACHTING - TORBAY ROYAL REGATTA - The 65ft match fell through, as neither Isolde nor Corsair were present, and there were only four starters in the handicap match. The Hester followed up her Weymouth success by roundly beating the Namara and Creole, Anemone having a carry away and giving up on the third round, when she was within her handicap time. The Hester showed herself superior to Namara on every point of sailing in the strong prevailing wind, while in turn Namara easily conceded the Creole her handicap allowance and gained second honours…. HANDICAP MATCH for cruisers and ex-racers of any rig exceeding 19 tons Thames measurement as per Lloyd’s Register. First prize, £30; second prize, £15; third prize, £5. Course, as in first race, four times round - 44 miles.

Hester, cutter, 110 tons, Mr. J. Gretton, jun.; Namara, cutter, 102 tons, Mr. W.B. Paget; Creole, cutter, 54 tons, Col. V. Bagot; Anemone, yawl, 93 tons, Mr. J.H. Haggis; Gwendoline, schooner, 82 tons, Mr. Van Laun.

The handicap was:- Hester to allow Namara 6min., Creole 13min., Anemone 30min., Gwendoline 75min.

All started with jib-headers over the whole lower sail, and Hester crossed the line first, with Creole under the lee-quarter; then came Namara and Anemone. The Namara passed Creole in reaching free to the south-east flag-boat, and Anemone also passed the forty. In the beat across the bay to Brixham Hester dropped Namara under the lee, and the Creole headed Anemone on the first board. The same order was kept in the close reach along the land to Goodrington and in sailing free home, and the first round finished thus:- Hester 11h.45m.45s; Namara 11h.48m.53s; Creole 11h.52m.41s; Anemone 11h.53m.34s.

After a hard reach to the sea mark the same positions were kept, but Anemone weathered Creole in beating across to Brixham, and the timing of the second round was:- Hester 12h.44m.32s; Namara 12h.52m.6s; Anemone 12h.53m.13s; Creole 1h.0m.12s.

In going off this time Hester’s topsail was pulled down, and on rounding the sea mark she was 8min. 30sec. ahead of Namara and 14min. of Anemone, the last-named yet having a good winning chance. Anemone, however, came to grief about 5min. later, the mainsail settling down as if the purchases had given out. Hester went trimming away, and again dropped Namara going free, while Creole was sailing a hopeless stern chase. The timing of the third round was:- Hester 1h.44m.22s; Namara 1h.55m.33s; Creole 2h.7m.4s.

In reaching off the last time Hester had her jib-header reset, and after going free to the south-east mark she carried her topsail to windward to Brixham. She made a further gain on Namara in the close reach to Goodrington and in coming with sheets off home, and eventually gained a very decisive victory. The finish was:- Hester (winner) 2h.43m.30s; Namara (second prize) 2h.55m.8s; Creole 3h.12m.46s.”


THE TIMES - Wednesday 26 August 1896 - “YACHTING - ROYAL TORBAY YACHT CLUB REGATTA - There was rain off in the Channel and inland over the moors yesterday, but Torbay escaped, and the weather was pleasantly fine while the racing was progressing…. In the handicap match the Hester lost a long lead in the same soft patch which brought the Ailsa to grief, and Namara afterwards easily saved her handicap allowance… HANDICAP MATCH open to all yachts exceeding 50 linear rating. First prize, £30; second prize, £15. Course from off the Old Pier round a flag-boat outside Hope’s Nose, and round flag-boats off Brixham and Goodrington. Three times round, about 30 miles.

Hester, cutter, 74.5 rating, Mr. J. Gretton, jun.; Namara, cutter, (no rating), Mr. W.B. Paget; Creole, cutter, 62.9, Col. V. Bagot. The Hester allowed Namara 5min. 30sec., and Creole 10min. 30sec.

All had spinnakers ready to starboard for a run out of Torbay to the outside mark, and Hester cleared the line with Creole overlapping her weather quarter, Namara being about four lengths astern. They were running by the lee on passing Morris Rogue rock, but all were headed out to keep spinnakers full, and on gybing each came on a reach for the flagboat, and had to gybe again. Creole was unlucky enough to break the upper yard of her jackyard topsail, and she dropped astern, Hester  rounding the east mark 65sec. before Namara and 2min. 5sec. before Creole. They reached across the bay in a nice breeze, and Hester came by the wind at the Berry Head limit 1min. 38sec. before Namara, and 4min. 8sec. before Creole. In standing out into the bay Creole’s working gaff topsail was set in place of the jackyarder, the latter sail being badly missed. After weathering the Goodrington mark a clean reach was made home, and the mark was passed, the first round being timed thus:- Hester 12h.31m.3s; Namara 12h.34m.4s; Creole 12h.39m.37s.

Hester ran out a wide lead going to the East mark, and rounded it 7min. 12sec. before Namara and 16min. 25sec. before Creole. They reached across to Berry Head in a steady breeze, and then beat up to Goodrington, and reached home. Hester widened her lead, and the timing of the second round was: Hester 1h.47m.3s; Namara 1h.56m.24s; Creole 2h.4m.58s.

Hester carried her spinnaker out past Meadfoot, when she ran out of the wind, and afterwards got a light air quarterly. There was a nice breeze still in Torbay, and Namara and Creole carried it out. The former did not steady her speed until she had got close to the leader, which started off directly the wind had stretched out to her. The lull had brought about a startling change in positions, as the timing at the eastern flag-boat will show:- Hester 2h.21m.8s; Namara 2h.21m.55s; Creole 2h.36m.0s.

The wind had spread right across the bay and the trio reached fast to the Brixham mark, and had a nice breeze to beat on to Goodrington, where Hester was just 1min. ahead of Namara. All but 26sec. of Creole’s time from Hester had run out. They came on a clean reach home, and Namara finished an easy winner by time, while Creole lost the second prize by 48sec. The official timing was:- Hester (second prize) 3h.8m.52s; Namara (winner by time) 3h.10m.20s; Creole 3h.20.16s.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 28 August 1896 - COWES - Hester noted as lying at anchor in Cowes Roads.


THE TIMES - Monday 31 August 1896 - “YACHTING - START BAY YACHT CLUB REGATTA - A fine, full and steady south-west breeze favoured the close of the racing in Start Bay on Saturday, and the competing vessels had fair trials of speed on every point of sailing…. MATCH for yachts exceeding 52 but not exceeding 65 rating. Prize, the Brackenbridge Cup, value £35. Course, from Dartmouth Range, round a flagboat off Torcross, and the Bell buoy of the Skerries; three times round. Yacht Racing Association time allowances for a 30-mile course.

Namara, Cutter, 102 rating, Mr. W.B. Paget; Hester, Cutter, 110 rating, Mr. J. Gretton, jun. The Hester allowed Namara 5min. 45sec.

The match commenced with a pretty start, the two vessels crossing the line beam and beam on port tack with a full head of speed on. Namara under the lee bow of her rival tacked to clear the West Blackstone, and she then came on the weather quarter of Hester, which, however, fore-reached the faster, and on coming round again crossed ahead of Mr. Paget’s cutter. In the beat to Torcross Hester worked away clear and weathered the flag-boat 25sec. ahead. The leader widened her distance considerably, going with flowing sheets to the Skerries buoy, and she gybed round that mark with 2min. lead. Hester came home with spinnaker set to port, but the Namara was run under fore and aft sail only. Hester proved far the faster down wind, and at the finish of the first round the timing was as follows:- Hester 12h.24m.33s; Namara 12h.26m23s.

They found a smart breeze to windward working to Torcross mark, but easily walked off with jackyard top-sails. Hester turned away from her opponent and weathered the flagboat with 6min. 15sec. lead. The leader made but a slight gain, going off free to the Skerries; but she ran Namara going hence to the home mark, and the timing of the second round was as follows:- Hester 1h.40m.13s; Namara 1h.47m.56s.

There was more wind on the last round, and the Hester made a steady gain in the beat to Torcross as well as in going with flowing sheets off to the Skerries mark. Hester was driven down wind, with spinnaker, but the Namara’s running sail was not boomed out. The finish of a racing test between the pair was as follows:- Hester (winner) 2h.54m.45s; Namara 3h.6m.4s.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 4 September 1896 - “COWES - Mr. Gretton’s cutter Hester is expected in this week to lay up.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 25 September 1896 - “COWES - Hester’s crew were treated to a splendid dinner at the “Duke of York” Inn a few evenings since by the owner, Mr. J. Gretton, jun., M.P. A very enjoyable evening was spent under the genial direction of Capt. Cranfield, and hearty cheers were given for Hester’s deservedly popular and generous owner.”


THE YACHTING WORLD - 9 October 1896 - “THE YACHTING SEASON - THE FIRST CLASS BOATS - Mr. J. Gretton’s Hester, 79 L.R. sailed 8 races early in the season with the big class, but, having only won 1 second prize, she joined the cruiser class, and sailed regularly with them afterwards.”



For the 1897 yacht racing season Mr. Gretton launched his new yacht Betty, having sold Hester to Mr. John Nairn. Capt. Hogarth skippered Hester in 1897. Capt. Jonathan Cranfield was appointed skipper of Betty.

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