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-  Skipper Jonathan Cranfield of Rowhedge & Colne crew

LAIS - 1894

John Gretton, 1st Baron Gretton 1921

Unknown source.... 

"There are some splendidly candid remarks about Gretton, John, first Baron Gretton (1867-1947), chairman of Bass, Ratcliffe & Gretton between 1909 and 1945 thus: ‘Gretton was an archetype of the reactionary Tory brewer ... a gloomy, stubborn, and suspicious politician but a sharp-eared gossip.’ Gretton was a Conservative MP for forty-eight years and quotations from contemporaries add to the picture: ‘One of the best-hearted fellows one has ever met, kind, generous, self-effacing: ugly as possible, blinking at one through gold-rimmed spectacles: inarticulate, for it is almost impossible to hear a word he says, and his handwriting is simply deplorable. He has all the noble qualities of the mole;’ and in his later years ‘in the house he collapses into a heap snoring so loud that he almost disturbs a debate. It is odd that he has had so much influence in politics for he has no parliamentary ability - and is not even an average speaker: presumably he is a clever intriguer. I like him."


A noted yachtsman he won two gold medals at the 1900 Olympic Games. 


In 1893 Capt. Jonathan Cranfield became skipper of the LAIS, owned by John Gretton jun. Her crew were all Rowhedge men.


THE YACHTSMAN - 2 March 1893 - “COWES - The new 40-rater, to the order of Mr. John Gretton, Junr., from the designs of Mr. William Fife, of Fairlie, now in course of construction at Messrs. C. Hansen & Son’s, Point Yard, is being rapidly proceeded with. The planking up will be completed this week, and the laying of the decks will be well forward. Although she is being built in mufti, so to speak, one is able to form an idea of her beautiful lines, which to the ordinary observer appear to be the very beau ideal of a modern racing yacht.”





Official Number; 98484

Name of Ship; LAIS

No., Date and Port of Registry; 3. 13 May 1893. Cowes

Signal Letters - International Code; N.B.W.F.

Previous Registry; None

Whether British or Foreign Built; British

Whether a Sailing or Steam Ship; Sailing

Where Built; Cowes

When Built; 1893

Name and Address of Builders; C. Hansen & Sons, Cowes.

No. of Decks; One

Number of Masts; One

Rigged; Cutter

Stern; Semi Eliptic

Build; Composite

Galleries; None

Head; Scroll

Framework; Steel Frames, Wood Skin - Composite

Length from fore part of Stem under the Bowsprit to the Aft side of the Head of the Stern Post; 76ft.

Length at quarter of depth from top of weather deck at side amidships to bottom of keel; 60ft

Main breadth to outside of plank; 17ft.

Depth in hold from Tonnage Deck to Ceiling at Midships; 8ft.

Depth from top of beam amidships to top of keel; 9ft. 2 tenths

Depth from top of deck at side amidships to bottom of keel; 13ft 3 tenths

Round of beam; 35 tenths

Gross Tonnage; 40.16 - Cubic Metres; 113.65

Owner; John Gretton, the younger, of Burton on Trent in the County of Stafford. Brewer.

Shares; Sixty four

Dated at Cowes the 13th  Day of May One thousand eight hundred and Ninety Three.

Signed by the Registrar of Shipping.

Registry closed 16th April 1894. Vessel sold to a Foreigner (German)

Certificate of Registry not delivered up, having been mislaid.

Customs House Cowes 23rd April 1894

[Two transcripts of the Register for Transmission to Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen are with the Registry document]



THE TIMES - Monday 17 April 1893 - YACHTING - “...Mr. John Gretton’s new racing 40 will be put on the water at Cowes to-day. She will be named Lais.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 20 April 1893 - “COWES - Messrs. C. Hansen & Sons launched, on Tuesday, the new first class 40-rater racing cutter for Mr. John Gretton, Junr., from the designs of Mr. Wm. Fife, Junr. The christening ceremony was gracefully performed by Miss. Clara Hansen, daughter of Mr. Harry S. Hansen, the name bestowed being the Lais. Of composite build, she is most carefully constructed, her framing being of steel, her planking of American elm and teak topsides, and her internal panelling and fittings of Kauri pine; she will be sheathed with cold rolled copper, the deck is of yellow pine entirely free from knots, the centre line deck work is of teak. The dimensions are: Length over all 84ft.; L.W.L., 60 ft.; extreme breadth, 17ft.; extreme draft, 12ft.; a fixed lead keel of 30 tons is about all the ballast she will require; the spars are of Oregon pine, and her canvas is by Ratsey & Lapthorn. The Lais is constructed on altogether different lines from anything ever put together at this port before, the 24ft. overhang above the water-line giving her a most rakish appearance.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 4 May 1893 - “ COWES - Mr. John Gretton, junr’s., new 40-rater, Lais, is on the Point slip, coppering and will be launched in a few days. She is expected to be fully completed next week.”


THE TIMES - Monday 8 May 1893 - YACHTING - “The 40-rating class will be the earliest arrivals on the Thames, the new boats Vendetta and Lais having both bent sails...”


THE YACHTSMAN - 18 May 1893 - “ COWES - Mr John Gretton’s new racing 40-rater has been cruising about the station during the week, and went into harbour on Tuesday to have some slight repairs attended to.”


THE TIMES - Wednesday 24 May 1893 - YACHTING - ….”The Lais, which has been built by Messrs. Hansen, of Cowes, from a design by Mr. W. Fife, jun., and is owned by Mr. John Gretton , jun., is another of the fin-keel type. She is a sightly boat and likely to be a fast one.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 25 May 1893 - “COWES - The new 40-rater, Lais, Mr. John Gretton, junr., has been hauled up at Hansen’s to have a ton of lead taken off her keel as she was a trifle down at the head; she left on Saturday for the Thames.” 


THE TIMES - Friday 26 May 1893 - ROYAL THAMES YACHT CLUB - match on Thursday 25 May 1893 - “SECOND CLASS - A MATCH for yachts exceeding a rating of 20, but not exceeding a rating of 40. First prize, £50; second, £25. Course, from the Lower Hope, round the Mouse Lightship, and return to Gravesend; time allowance for rig and rating according to the Y.R.A. for a fifty-mile course. Entries:- Varuna, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Capt. J. Towers-Clark; Vendetta, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Adml. The Hon. V. Montague; Lais, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Mr. J. Gretton.

Varuna in the fairway and Vendetta on the Kent shore crossed the line beam and beam, and Lais followed in the stream of Varuna’s wake. Vendetta came clear out ahead of Varuna before getting to Hope Point, and in Sea Reach booms were squared and spinnakers set. Vendetta held the lead down to Holehaven, where Lais passed Varuna, and the pair, keeping in mid stream, were ahead of Vendetta at the Nore. The breeze followed well, but spinnakers were got off about a mile from the Mouse, and the lightship was luffed round thus:- Lais 2h.25m.0s; Varuna 2h.25m.33s; Vendetta 2h.26m.46s.

All made a stretch over for the Maplins, and, working by short boards under the land to ease the yet hot running ebb tide, Lais began to trim away…When off the Admiralty mile the Varuna got a lift upon Lais, and further up would probably have passed the new forty had not her topsail halyards burst. Lais went on…Vendetta got a lift up at the top of Sea Reach and came up the Hope leading boat…and sailed past the flag buoy an easy winner. The official timing of the finish was:-  Vendetta (winner) 5h.49m.50s; Lais (second prize) 5h.50m.42s; Varuna 5h.53m.9s.”


THE TIMES - Saturday 27 May 1893 - NEW THAMES YACHT CLUB MATCH - “Yacht-racing on the Lower Thames was continued yesterday with the New Thames Club fixture, and the match secured a splendid entry….With the breeze well in from the northward, the match began with a free reach out of the Lower Hope into Sea Reach, and all sailed for the line with flying jibs set….Calluna, Lais, and Iverna were ranged beam and beam…The breeze failed a trifle [off Shellhaven] ….and the Lais and Vendetta set their bowsprit spinnakers…The Varuna continued to lead the second division, Lais being her nearest attendant…The timing of the finish was as follows:- Britannia (winner) 4h.55m.11s; Calluna (third prize) 5h.4m.8s; Iverna 5h.9m.39s; Varuna (second prize) 5h.33m.55s; Lais 5h.35m.7s; Vendetta 5h.40m.35s; Castanet 5h.40m.55s; Columbine 5h.42m.23s; Siola not timed.”


THE TIMES - Monday 29 May 1893 - ROYAL LONDON YACHT CLUB MATCHES - “Saturday’s matches on the Lower Thames were sailed under the burgee of the Royal London Club…. keenly fought out was the duel between Varuna and Lais in the 40-rating match; but this race had an inglorious finish through both boats running aground…MATCH, open to all yachts exceeding 20, and not exceeding 40, rating, belonging to any recognized yacht club. Prize, £40. Course, same as the first class race [from the Lower Hope round the Mouse Lightship and return to Gravesend…50 mile course]… Starters:- Varuna, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Capt. J.T. Clark; Lais, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Mr. J. Gretton, jun.

Both had jackyard topsails set, and they crossed the line beam and beam, Varuna to windward. In turning out of the Lower Hope the latter worked out a clear lead, but they had a desperately hard race down to the Chapman, Lais striving hard but failing to get past her antagonist. The fight was maintained after the easterly came up Sea Reach, the pair working tack and tack. Between the Nore and the Mouse, however, Varuna got away with longer boards, and the times they bore round the Mouse were:- Varuna 3h.27m.32s; Lais 3h.29m.10s.

They did not run far with spinnakers before the wind backed off the sands, and they then had a reach which brought Lais up, and the duel for pride of place was continued. In the Lower Hope Lais, after a lot of jockeying, got clear in front, but, as they had booms to starboard when off Coalhouse point a gybe had to be made to come up Gravesend Reach. Varuna was first to get her boom over, and directly Lais gybed she was luffed to hold her opponent, with the result that both went hard and fast aground. The young flood had, however, come and Varuna, floating first, came home alone about 7 o’clock and got the winning gun.” [William Wadley Cranfield and Valkyrie II were also here]


THE TIMES - Tuesday 30 May 1893 - BRIGHTLINGSEA YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “Racing was rather tedious yesterday at the regatta of the Colne Club, owing to the breezes being light and shifty. Some heavy thunderstorms worked up, and altogether the weather was very unsettled. In the 40 rating match the Varuna gained an easy victory over the new boat Lais, and the latter got aground towards the end of the race….MATCH, open to all yachts exceeding 20 and not exceeding 40 rating. First prize, £30; second prize, £10. Course, from the Colne round a flag-boat anchored outside the Beach End buoy, thence up the Blackwater to a flag-boat off Bradwell Creek, and back round the Beach End mark and a flag-boat off Pyefleet to the starting line. Twice round. Distance 35 miles.

A soft southerly breeze was blowing up the Colne giving a beat to the first mark. Both had jack-yard topsails and flying jibs set, and they commenced the match at 10.45 with Varuna sailing across the line, planted fair on the weather beam of Lais. They had the last of the flood to turn over, and Varuna worked away in a wonderful manner. At the first mark Varuna held a lead of nearly eight minutes, and after having rounded they went away on a broad reach for the Blackwater. The Varuna continued to sail away from Lais, and in coming back to the Beach End the wind backed in a thunderstorm and put them by the wind. They came with a free sheet into the Colne, and finished the first round thus:- Varuna 2h.33m.5s; Lais 3h.7m.25s.

They laid their course out this time and ran with spinnakers to the Blackwater, and then, in consequence of a further backing of the wind, mad a long leg to the Beach End, and came on an easy bowline home, Varuna having a tremendous lead at the finish. The timing was:- Varuna (winner) [blank]; Lais [blank].”


THE TIMES - Thursday 1 June 1893 - YACHTING - “The annual Channel match of the New Thames Yacht Club from Southend down the Swin to Harwich will be sailed on Saturday, starting at 9 o’clock.” Lais among those entered.


THE TIMES - Wednesday 7 June 1893 - ROYAL HARWICH YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “The following is the result and timing of the 40 rating match of Monday:- Varuna (winner) 10h.18m.18s; Lais (second prize) 10h.28m.6s; Vendetta 10h.31m.12s.”

ALSO - Race on Tuesday 6 June - MATCH open to all yachts exceeding a rating of 20, but not exceeding a rating of 40. First prize, £30; second, £10. Course, same as in the first race [out of harbour, round the Shipwash and Sunk light-vessels and back, round the Cork light-vessel to the harbour. Once round, 37 miles]. Lais was first across the line and Varuna next, but getting a streak off the Suffolk side the Vendetta reached by the weather of both. On getting outside Varuna worked into first place, and Lais weathered Vendetta. Varuna went round the Shipwash with 9min. lead of Lais and 13min. of Vendetta, and she gave them a hollow beating, both reaching and running, and finished miles ahead. The official times of arrival were:- Varuna (winner) 5h.31m.4s; Lais (second prize) 6h.5m.26s; Vendetta not timed.” [Valkyrie II also present]


THE TIMES - Tuesday 13 June 1893 - ROYAL CINQUE PORTS YACHT CLUB REGATTA -  match on Monday 12 June 1893 - “MATCH for yachts not exceeding 40-rating. First prize, £35; second prize, £10; and a medal presented by the Marquis of Dufferin and Ava. Same course as first match [from Dover Bay, round the Varne buoy, and the South Goodwin lightship. Hence to flag-boat in Dover Bay. Twice round. 44 miles]. Varuna made a clever start, and led after the run to the Varne, the Lais being second. It was a beat of 11 miles to the South Sand, and in the long board Lais weathered Varuna, Vendetta having burst her bobstay, and given up. At the lightship Lais led by four minutes, and hence they ran home, and finished the first round thus:- Lais, 1h.26min.23sec.; Varuna, 1h.29min.10sec. On the second round Lais gave her opponent a hollow beating in the long hammer over the tide to the South Sands Lightship, which mark she weathered with a lead of 14min. 45sec. and she got further away in the home run, the finish being:- Lais (winner) 4h.42m.36s; Varuna (second prize) 4h.57min.35s.”


THE TIMES - Thursday 15 June 1893 - ROYAL CINQUE PORTS YACHT CLUB CHANNEL MATCH, DOVER TO BOULOGNE - “Everything promised well yesterday morning for an exceptionally good race across the Channel to Boulogne and back. The weather was bright and fine, the wind of whole-sail strength, and only a slight sea in the offing. No fewer than eight vessels sported racing flags. A collision, in which Britannia and Valkyrie and the 40-rater Vendetta were involved, took place before the vessels were really racing, and as it led to the disablement of Britannia and Vendetta and put Valkyrie practically out of the race, the contest was virtually spoilt at the very outset….[article mostly about the accident]…MATCH, open to all yachts exceeding 20-rating. First prize £80, presented by the town of Dover; second prize £50..; third prize £20, presented by the town of Dover. Should the first prize be won by a yacht exceeding 40-rating, the second prize to go to a yacht under 40-rating. Course, from Dover to Boulogne, rounding a flag-boat anchored off the bathing establishment, and back to Dover….The start was fixed for 10.30. The official timing of the finish was as follows:- Calluna (winner) 3h.23m.37s; Valkyrie 3h.29m.4s; Iverna 3h.32m.29s; Mabel 3h.51m.42s; Lais (winner 40-raters) 4h.11m.43s; Varuna 4h.17m.32s.”


THE TIMES - Saturday 17 June 1893 - ROYAL SOUTHERN YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “The jubilee regatta of the Royal Southern Club did not open yesterday as successfully as could be wished owing to the light partial breezes which prevailed until late afternoon. The tides ran very contrary, and the ground was covered so slowly that in the principal events the courses had to be shortened by about one-half. The heat throughout was quite tropical, and although at times the sky wore a threatening look there was neither rain nor tempest in the Solent…MATCH for yachts of any rig exceeding 20 and not exceeding 40 rating….Course from off Calshot Castle round the east buoy of Lepe; thence round the East Sturbridge buoy and back to Calshot. Twice round; 34 miles. The match was stopped when half the course had been sailed, and the finish was as follows:- Vendetta (winner) 5h.1min.3sec; Varuna (second prize) 5h.3min.27sec; Lais 5h.5min.39sec.”

Jonathan’s brothers Richard (Deirdre)and William (Valkyrie) were also competing at this regatta.


THE TIMES - Monday 19 June 1893 - ROYAL SOUTHERN YACHT CLUB REGATTA - match on Saturday 17 June 1893 - “Exceptionally fine weather favoured the closing day of the jubilee regatta of this club, and a pleasant sailing breeze in a measure tempered the intense heat of the sun and afforded a capital test of racing merit….MATCH, open to all yachts exceeding 20 but not exceeding 40 rating. First prize, £30; second prize, £10. Course - once round as in first-class race and a distance from Calshot, round Lepe buoy and the East Bramble buoy and back; distance, 34 miles:- Lais, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Mr. J. Gretton, jun.; Vendetta, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Admiral Hon. V. Montagu; Varuna, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Capt. J. Towers Clark.

The Varuna stole away with a clear lead of Lais, the pair being close to the line at the starting gun. They took a nice breeze on the west channel, and Varuna, sailing well, fairly beating Lais on all points, while Vendetta was getting beaten by both. The timing of the first round was as follows:- Varuna 2h.2m.40s; Lais 2h.7m.53s; Vendetta 2h.10m.48s.

Within a few minutes after starting on the second round Varuna’s mainsail fell down, owing to the breaking of the main halyard bolt, and the vessel at once gave up. Lais continued to beat Vendetta, and at the finish the timing was as follows:- Lais (winner) 4h.15m.32s; Vendetta 4h.27m.7s. Varuna gave up, disabled.”

[Jonathan’s brother William skippered Valkyrie II to victory in the first class match on the same day, while their brother Richard skippered Lord Dunraven’s Deirdre to second place in the 20-rater match]


THE OBSERVER of Sunday 18 June 1893 notes; “The day was beautifully fine, though excessively hot. The wind was light and variable at times; nevertheless, some good sport was witnessed. As in former years, the Castle Yacht Club placed their quarters at the disposal of the club, and here there was a large and fashionable attendance.”


THE TIMES - Monday 26 June 1893 - ROYAL MERSEY YACHT CLUB REGATTA - match on Saturday 24 June 1893 - The Lais was entered for the 40-rater match but did not take part being weatherbound at Holyhead.


THE TIMES - Friday 30 June 1893 - ROYAL LARGS YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “An opening of the Clyde yacht racing season was made yesterday at Largs. With the wind at north-west, plain sailing predominated in covering the big ship course…[Valkyrie II competing in the match for first-class yachts] …The Lais well beat Varuna….MATCH open to yachts exceeding 20 and not exceeding 40-rating. First prize, £30; second prize, £10. Lais, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Mr. J. Gretton, jun.; Varuna, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Capt. T. Clark. At the finish the timing was:- Lais (winner) 3h.8min.52sec; Varuna 3h.12min.39sec.”


THE TIMES - Monday 3 July 1893 - ROYAL NORTHERN YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “There was a grand muster of yachts in Rothesay Bay on Saturday at the regatta of the premier Scotch club. It may be said that the sailing programme was of formidable length, including as it did 11 matches and 60 entries. The morning opened with a smart north-easter, which quickly steadied down, and by noon it had come light, while later on baffling breezes and calms alternated….MATCH, for yachts exceeding 20 and not exceeding 40, rating. First prize, £30; second, £15. Course, twice round the Mount Stuart, Largs, and Wemyss mark-boats. Thirty-eight miles. Lais, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Mr. John Gretton, jun.; Varuna, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Capt. Clark; Vendetta, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Admiral Montagu. Finish:- Vendetta (winner), 5h.19m.45s; Varuna (second prize), 5h.32m.22s; Lais 5h.32m.51s.”

[William Wadley Cranfield and Valkyrie II also competing here on the same day]


THE TIMES - Tuesday 4 July 1893 - ROYAL NORTHERN YACHT CLUB REGATTA - match on Monday 3 July  1893 - “Light airs of wind and calms made up as wearisome and unsatisfactory a racing time yesterday as has ever been experienced even on the traditionally fluky Firth of Clyde….MATCH, for yachts above 20 and not exceeding 40 rating. First prize, £25, presented by the Town Council and Harbour Trust of Rothesay; second prize, £20. Course, twice round flag-boats off Mount Stuart, Largs, and Wemyss Bay. 38 miles. The match was stopped at the end of the first round, and the finish was:- Thalia (winner), 4h59m.35s; Varuna (second prize), 5h.3m.55s; Lais 5h.7m.40s; Vendetta, 5h.17m.14s.” [Valkyrie II in first-class match]


THE TIMES - Wednesday 5 July 1893 - ROYAL WEST OF SCOTLAND YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “The racing fleet was tried yesterday in an easterly breeze on the lower Clyde….The Lais got clear away during the calm…MATCH, for yachts of 40-rating. First prize, £25; second, £10. Course, twice round, and distance 45 miles. At the outset Lais and Varuna had a long luff, and led Vendetta to the first mark. Lais then got away and kept in front to the end. The Vendetta ran past Varuna in going on that distance to Mount Stuart, and well beat her afterwards. Finish:- Lais, winner, 4h.56m.20s; Vendetta, second prize, 5h.2m.28s; Varuna, 5h.4m.55s.”

[William Wadley Cranfield and Valkyrie II won the first-class match (£60)]


THE TIMES - Saturday 8 July 1893 - CLYDE CORINTHIAN YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “There were no fewer than 12 matches and 68 entries on yesterday’s programme of the Clyde Corinthian Club, but owing to the prevailing calm weather there was not much life or go in the sport. A white mist choked up the Firth, and it was with difficulty that racing colours could be picked out….MATCH for yachts of 40-rating. First prize, £25; second, £10. Course, round Skelmorlie Buoy and the Powder buoy. Twice round (40 miles). The finish was as follows:- Vendetta (winner), 4h.56m.45s; Varuna (second prize), 4h.58m.50s; Lais 5h.37m.” [Valkyrie II winner of the first-class match]


THE TIMES - Monday 10 July 1893 - ROYAL CLYDE YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “Of the many unfavourable sailing days during the current yacht racing season in Scotch waters, Saturday was by far the worst. The weather was very mixed, light breezes, fresh winds, calms, and mere zephyrs being experienced at various times, while a thunderstorm, phenomenal alike in duration and violence, occurred during the early part of the afternoon….MATCH for yachts of 40-rating. First prize, £40; second, £10. Course, from Hunter’s Quay round Skelmorlie Buoy and the Greenock Powder Buoy. Twice round (40 miles). Vendetta, in a high weather berth, got a fine start, Lais being next to leeward. The wind drew aft, and Vendetta ran out of it and dropped back last, Lais being first at Skelmorlie. When all were standing in for Skelmorlie, Varuna’s bowsprit went in a puff, and Lais still led Vendetta. The time of the first round was:- Lais, 1h.41m.58s; Vendetta, 1h.45m.32s. In the second round a partial flaw helped Vendetta to the front, and then she went right away and won easily. Finish:- Vendetta (winner), 5h.34m.14s; Lais (2nd prize), 6h.5m.10s.”

[Valkyrie II came second to Britannia in the first-class match]


THE TIMES - Tuesday 11 July 1893 - ROYAL CLYDE YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “The Clyde yacht racing season was brought to a conclusion yesterday under the most unfavourable weather conditions. With thunderstorms and drenching rain, with light baffling breezes and spells of calm throughout, there was no spirit in the proceedings. In not one of the matches was it possible to complete more than half the course…In the 40-rating match the Lais and Varuna made a remarkably close finish…. MATCH, open to yachts of 40-rating. First prize, £40; second, £15. Course, round Skelmorlie buoy and the Powder buoy; twice round; 40 miles. The finish was:- Lais, winner, 5h.35m.20s; Varuna, 2nd prize, 5h.35m.23s; Vendetta, 5h.38m.58s.” [Valkyrie II won the first-class match]


THE TIMES - Saturday 15 July 1893 - ROYAL ULSTER YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “In the 40-rating match the Vendetta and the Lais sailed a splendid race, which the latter won by five seconds…. MATCH, open to yachts exceeding 20 and not exceeding 40 rating. First prize, £40; second, £15. Course, from Bangor, round a flag-boat east of Carrick bank, thence round a flag-boat off Black Head, and the South Briggs and back. Three times round; 50 miles….The Vendetta and the Lais had whole mainsails and the Varuna a reef. The first-named led the Lais by 84sec. on the first round, but on the second turn the Lais ran into the first place just before getting to the South Briggs, and won with 15sec. to spare. The timing  of the finish was :- Lais (winner) 2h.50m.38s; Vendetta (second prize) 2h.50m.54s; Varuna 2h.57m.52s.” [First-class match  - “On the first round the Valkyrie had one of her crew carried overboard by the shifting backstay in a gybe. He was picked up with praiseworthy smartness in the short space of 4½ minutes…]


THE TIMES - Monday 17 July 1893 - ROYAL ULSTER YACHT CLUB REGATTA - match on Saturday 15 July 1893 - “Belfast Lough was scarcely rippled over by the morning breeze on Saturday, and weather appearances generally indicated a light wind…..MATCH open to all yachts exceeding 20 and not over 40 rating. First prize £40, second prize, £20. Course, from Bangor round flag-boats off Carrickfergus, Blackhead, and the South Briggs; three times round; 50 miles. At the start Vendetta and Lais were showing in front and led at the top mark. In the beat back they made a match and let Varuna slip, the last-named getting a long lead, the timing of the first round being:- Varuna 1h.59m.24s; Lais 2h.5m.4s; Vendetta 2h.5m.20s. On the second round Vendetta increased her lead while there was any wind and kept in front, although there were calms and catspaws. An evening breeze brought them home, and the timing of the finish was:- Varuna (winner) 7h.35m.10s; Lais (second prize) 8h.15m.32s; Vendetta 8h.22m.12s.”

[Valkyrie II won the first-class match]


THE TIMES - Thursday 20 July 1893 - ROYAL IRISH YACHT CLUB REGATTA - [match on Wednesday 19 July 1893] - “In the 40-rating class there was some stirring sport, and after a very tough fight the Vendetta was winner. Lais carried away her topmast, but arrived second; the winner, however, protested against her taking the second prize on the ground that she had been guilty of a breach of the sailing rules. MATCH, open to all exceeding 20-rating and not exceeding 40-rating. First prize, £20; second prize, £10. Course, from off  Kingstown East Pier, round a flag-boat off the Maglins (sic), the Kish Lightship, and the Rosebeg buoy, and hence to the starting [line], and three times round. Y.R.A. allowance for 50 miles. At the end of the first round the timing was:- Lais, 1h.5m.25s; Vendetta, 1h.6m.4s; Varuna, 1h.7m.15s. On the second round Vendetta regained the lead, but in working home Lais closed up, and the pair got so near that Lais came up under Vendetta and, fouling, the former lost her topmast. The finish was - Vendetta (winner) 3h.10m.14s; Lais 3h.11m.9s; Varuna 3h.11m.21s. A protest was lodged by Vendetta against Lais taking the second prize on the ground of fouling Vendetta.”


THE TIMES - Friday 21 July 1893 - ROYAL IRISH YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “Unfavourable racing weather was experienced yesterday in Dublin Bay. There were breezes of fair strength at intervals, but for the most part the wind was soft and baffling, with spells of calm. MATCH open to all yachts exceeding 20 and not exceeding 40 rating. First prize, £30; second, £10. Course, from off Kingstown East Pier, round a flag-boat off the Muglins, thence round the Kish lightship and the Rosebeg buoy and back, three times round, 50 miles. The arrivals were:- Lais (winner) 5h.6m.12s; Varuna (second place) 5h.8m.39s; Thalia 5h.15m.52s; Vendetta gave up.”


THE TIMES - Saturday 22 July 1893 - ROYAL ALFRED YACHT CLUB MATCH - “The Irish yacht racing season closed yesterday in fine weather. Variable winds prevailed until the afternoon, when a smart breeze came away. The four vessels racing for the No.2 champion cup sailed a close race throughout, and Lais was a meritorious winner. Details follow:- MATCH, open to yachts belonging to the club not exceeding 40 raters. Prize, No.2 champion cup, value £65, with £25 added for the winning yacht, and two helmsmen’s prizes, value £4. Yachts to be steered by amateurs. Course, from off Kingstown East Pier round the Rosebeg buoy and the Kish lightship and back to the starting line, twice round, 33 miles. The forty-raters allowed Ghost 13min. 40sec. The finish was Lais (winner) 3h.38m.38s; Varuna 3h.39m.45s; Balia (sic) 3h.40m.48s; Ghost 3h.55m.50s.”


THE TIMES - Monday 31 July 1893 - Cowes Week - Lais entered for the 40 rater match on Wednesday.


THE TIMES - Tuesday 1 August 1893 - ROYAL LONDON YACHT CLUB REGATTA - [match on Monday 31 July 1893] - “MATCH for yachts not exceeding 40-rating. Prize £40, presented by the town of Cowes. Course, from off Cowes, round Warner lightship, Calshot lightship, East Lepe buoy, and back; twice round. The starters were:- Vendetta, Cutter, Admiral Montagu; Lais, Cutter, Mr. J. Gretton; Varuna, Cutter, Capt. J.P. Clarke. The finish was:- Vendetta (winner) 4h.53m.19s; Varuna (second prize) 4h.59m.53s. Lais carried away her bowsprit.” [Britannia beat Valkyrie II in the first-class match]


THE TIMES - Thursday 3 August 1893 - ROYAL YACHT SQUADRON REGATTA - [match on Wednesday 2 August 1893] - “THE AUSTRALIAN CUP, value £50, presented by Mr. C. Gibson Miller, for all yachts exceeding 40 rating; second prize, £30, given by the squadron. Queen’s Course - namely, from Cowes round the Warner lightship, back south of Brambles to flag-boat off Lepe and back; twice round, 50 miles. Lais, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Mr. J. Gretton; Vendetta, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Admiral Montagu; Varuna, Cutter, 40 rating, owner Capt. T. Clark. A rattling breeze was blowing when the start was made at 10 o’clock, and with sheets off the vessels went flying across the line carrying a hot flood stream with them. Vendetta had made a perfect start, and Varuna was overlapping Lais. Spinnakers soon came on, and Lais travelled through to leeward of Vendetta, while the latter luffed Varuna over to the Hampshire shore. They then bore away, Vendetta with the lead. The times at the lightship were:- Lais 11h.3m.30s; Varuna 11h.5m.43s; Vendetta 11h.6m.48s. They had a hard beat back against the storm for a time, but presently got a weather-going tide and worked away in grand style. The breeze suited Lais, and she worked away, while Varuna kept second place. At Lepe the fag to windward was completed, and here Lais led Varuna by 7min. 43sec. and Vendetta by 9min. 12sec. They ran hence over the stream, carrying spinnakers, and finished the first round thus:- Lais 1h.12m.55s; Varuna 1h.20m.55s; Vendetta 1h.21m.48s.

It was a run against a foul tide this time, and off Ryde Lais was about 9min. ahead of Varuna, and Vendetta 1min. astern of Varuna. After rounding the Warner they had a fine weather tide to help them, and worked very fast to Lepe, where Lais had 10min. 27sec. lead of Varuna and 11min. 17sec. of Vendetta, Varuna did not manage the turn at the flag-boat as well as Vendetta, which had the weather berth after the gybe and was very smart clapping on spinnaker. Lais had the Australian Cup well won, but a desperate race went on for the second prize. Vendetta got past and eventually finished a length in front. The timing at the finish was:- Lais (winner) 4h.11m.59s; Vendetta 4h.23m.0s; Varuna 4h.23m.9s.”


THE TIMES - Saturday 5 August 1893 - ROYAL YACHT SQUADRON REGATTA - [match on Friday 4 August 1893] - “MATCH for yachts of 40 rating, prize £50……Before the start Lais got foul of a vessel at anchor and lost her bowsprit….”


THE TIMES - Monday 7 August 1893 - ROYAL SOUTHAMPTON YACHT CLUB REGATTA - [match on Saturday 5 August 1893] - “MATCH open to yachts exceeding 20 and not exceeding 40 rating. First prize, £30; second, £10. Course, from off Netley Hospital, Southampton Water, round the Calshot Spit Lightship, down the West Channel to a markboat off Lymington, then to the eastward round the Warner Lightship, and back to the starting line. Y.R.A. rules, and time allowance for a 42-mile course. Varuna arrived at 5h.21min.29sec. (winner), and Vendetta at 6h.48min.58sec. Lais lodged a protest against Vendetta, and the sailing committee declared Lais winner of the second prize.”


THE TIMES - Thursday 10 August 1893 - ROYAL VICTORIA YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “The big cutters did not race yesterday at Ryde… It was a windward and to leeward trial, and Lais, which is without doubt in herself a better boat than Queen Mab was last year, won in the easiest style. Vendetta got home second, but she is a typical cruiser, and will never be a racer. Varuna, as far as could be observed, carried away her jib-halliards, but it may be said that the breezes were too strong for her, and that she was last boat at the time….MATCH for the Vice-Commodore’s Cup, value £60, for yachts not exceeding 40-rating. Second prize £10. Course from Ryde and the Nab Lightship and marks off Portsmouth Spit and Cowes; twice round. 40 miles.

They started with whole lower sail and jib-headers, and Lais led away with Varuna clear of Vendetta. The latter kept pinching in towards Ryde Sand, and when about half a mile east of the pier got stopped for six minutes. Lais worked away, and the match was uninteresting afterwards. Varuna carried away her jib-halliards at the end of the second round, and the finish was:- Lais (winner) 2h.33m.8s; Vendetta (second prize) 2h.40m.27s.”

Richard Cranfield (Deirdre) was competing at the same regatta.


THE TIMES - Friday 11 August 1893 - ROYAL VICTORIA YACHT CLUB REGATTA - [match on Thursday 10 August 1893] - “THE RYDE TOWN CUP, and purse, added by the Club; for yachts belonging to any recognized yacht club; second prize, £20. for yachts of a different class to the winner; classes to be exceeding and not exceeding 60 rating. Course from Ryde round the Warner Lightship, a flag-boat off the Spit Fort, and one off Cowes Castle Point, returning to Ryde; twice round, distance 40 miles.

Satanita, Cutter, 162 rating, owner Mr. A.D. Clarke; Navahoe, Cutter, 161 rating, owner Mr. R.P. Carroll; Britannia, Cutter, 151 rating, owner The Prince of Wales; Calluna, Cutter, 141 rating, owner Mr. P. Donaldson; Lais, Cutter, 30 rating, owner Mr. J. Gretton; Columbine, Cutter, (rating unreadable), owner Lord Dunraven.

The time allowances were as follows:- Satanita allows Navahoe 6sec.; Britannia 1min. 18sec.; Calluna 2min. 32sec.; Columbine 23min. 59sec.; and Lais 28min. 5sec.

The start was made at 10 o’clock in a moderate breeze from the west-north-west, which gave a run to the Warner…. The Lais and Columbine, which started with the big cutters, were quite out of the race, but the former took the prize for different rig to the winner…. Britannia coming along with the prize well won. Satanita had both Calluna and Navahoe beaten. The timing of the finish was as follows:- Britannia (winner) 2h.21m.26s; Satanita 2h.31m.23s; Calluna 2h.36m.5s; Navahoe 2h.36m.53s; Lais (winner 2nd prize) 3h.4m.19s; Columbine 3h.8m.57s.”

Britannia, in her first season, had a crew of Colne men.


THE TIMES - Saturday 12 August 1893 - ROYAL VICTORIA YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “A match round the Isle of Wight was the principal event on yesterday’s card, when the Royal Victoria regatta was brought to an exceptionally successful conclusion… It was a fine day with a moderate breeze….The Calluna did not make a brilliant show, while Lais, which had virtually a sail over for a class prize, was about 63 minutes astern of the Britannia…MATCH for the Commodore’s Cup, for yachts belonging to a Royal or recognized yacht club. The cup to go to the winner on Y.R.A. time allowance; second prize, £40, to go to the yacht of a different class to the winner. Classes to be exceeding and not exceeding 60 rating. Course, round the Isle of Wight, no restriction as to passing buoys, except that the yachts must pass north of the Norman Fort and outside Bembridge. About 50 miles. The time allowance was:- Satanita allows Britannia 1min. 37sec.; Calluna 3min. 11sec.; and Lais 35min. 7sec.The two leading yachts finished about the same distance apart, and a remarkably fine match between the pair ended thus:- Britannia (winner) 3h.21m.11s; Satanita 3h.24m.23s; Calluna 3h.37m.23s; Lais (prize 2nd class) 4h.24m.44s.”


THE TIMES - Wednesday 16 August 1893 - ROYAL ALBERT YACHT CLUB REGATTA - [match on Tuesday 15 August 1893] - “Beautiful weather favoured the second day’s racing at Southsea, but with southerly breezes and the spring tides running rather adversely it had no heart. Two leading events on the card were long drawn out, although in both matches the courses were shortened. The Varuna had picked a time on which to display her fine light-weather speed, and she gained a decisive victory over the Lais and Vendetta…MATCH open to yachts exceeding 20 but not exceeding 40 rating. First prize, the Rear-Commodore’s cup; second prize, cup (value £25), presented by Captain Simpson. Course, from off Portsmouth Spit Fort, round the Nab Lightship and the North-West Middle buoy, and back to the starting line; twice round; about 46 miles.

A light south-easterly breeze was bringing in a white mist from seaward at the start, and they had a dead beat out to the Nab. Vendetta was, as usual, well placed, and got first away; but Varuna, which was close up, slipped from under the lee and crossed ahead. After the second tack, Lais, too, worked past, and when the Nab was weathered the timing was - Varuna 11h.6min.35sec.; Lais 11h.9min.50sec.; Vendetta 11h.10min.45sec.; Spinnakers were set, and a fair tide brought back; but the breezes kept very soft, and only slow progress over the ground was made. Varuna well kept her lead, and, after an uneventful run to the North-West mark, they hauled by the wind and began a tedious beat over a strong spring ebb to the Southsea mark. The tide was cheated a little by working on and off the Hampshire shore, and from the Kicker home each got a bit of a slant; the day being well on, they were signalled to stop, and the match finished at the end of the first round. Timing:- Varuna (winner) 3h.42m.3s; Lais (second prize) 3h.47m.40s; Vendetta 3h.57m.35s.”


THE TIMES - Thursday 17 August 1893 - ROYAL ALBERT YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “Intense heat and soft baffling breezes prevailed yesterday inside the Isle of Wight, and the closing matches of the Solent yacht racing season consequently lacked that life and spirit which marked the initial events….Varuna again scored an easy win in the 40 rating race….MATCH, open to yachts exceeding 20 rating and not exceeding 40 rating…..Varuna was first away with Lais second, and this order was kept until the new wind came. They ran home rather widely spread out, and the timing of the finish was as follows:- Varuna (winner) 4h.32m.55s; Vendetta (second prize) 5h.1m.0s. Lais gave up.”


THE TIMES - Monday 21 August 1893 - ROYAL DORSET YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “After the long spell of racing inside the Isle of Wight the change to an open-water course was quite refreshing, and a finer sailing-time than that which favoured the Royal Dorset Regatta on Saturday could not have been desired. The club issued an excellent programme and gave substantial prizes, and, being a favourite station, a fine fleet of yachts cast anchor in Weymouth Bay…..the Vendetta won the 40-rating match, after a good struggle with the Lais….. MATCH for yachts of 40 rating. First prize, £40; second, £20. Course, from off Weymouth Pier to mark-boat off Redcliffe and White Nose, thence to one three miles east of the breakwater and one in Portland Roads, returning to the starting line. Three times round. About 40 miles….The Varuna ran through the line with spinnaker set, while the Vendetta came with a rush across her wake, squared away on weather side, and ran into first place, Lais coming later, and also running past the Varuna. This order was kept to the end, but on the last round, in a stronger breeze, Lais got very close and the pair made a good finish. The timing was:- Vendetta (winner) 2h.59m.40s; Lais (second prize) 2h.59m.55s; Varuna 3h.3m.55s.”


THE TIMES - Tuesday 22 August 1893 - TORBAY ROYAL REGATTA - “Racing yesterday was practically under single-reefed mainsails. The breeze from the westward had a southerly bank and kept very true....MATCH, for yachts exceeding 20 and not exceeding 40 Y.R.A. rating. First prize, £30; second, £10. Course, four times round flag boats off Hope’s Nose, Brixham, and Goodrington, starting and finishing off Torquay Pier. Distance about 44 miles..... Just before the start Lais luffed up under Varuna, and touching the mainboom of the latter, carried away her bowsprit. Vendetta, with a jibheader over reefed mainsail, went out with the lead, and sailing well in the hard wind gained a highly creditable victory. Vendetta (winner) 3h.29m.33s; Varuna (second prize) 3h.47m.42s. “


THE TIMES - Wednesday 23 August 1893 - ROYAL TORBAY YACHT CLUB - “The second day’s racing in Torbay took place yesterday in a strong westerly breeze, fine weather, and comparatively smooth water. The programme of the Royal Torbay Club was almost identical with that of the town regatta of Monday... The Vendetta again gave evidence that she likes a pipe up, but she would not have had such an easy task had Lais made an equal start.... MATCH, for yachts exceeding 20 but not exceeding 40 rating. First prize, £30; second, £10. Course round a mark outside Hope’s Nose, thence round flag-boats off Berry Head and Goodrington, and back to the starting line. Three times round, about 30 miles... Vendetta and Lais had single-reefed mainsails and Varuna a pair down, while all had topmasts housed. Lais was too soon for the gun, and Vendetta and Varuna had a good start. Vendetta went well in the hard wind on every point of sailing, and had about 2min. lead of Varuna at the end of the first round. In reaching off to the sea mark the second time Lais luffed out on Varuna, and after a good match the former won the second place. Vendetta kept in front to the finish. The timing was:- Vendetta (winner) 2h.41m.40s; Lais (second prize) 2h.45m.5s; Varuna 2h.48m.49s.”


THE TIMES - Saturday 26 August 1893 - ROYAL DART YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “Light winds, partial airs, and calms prevailed yesterday in Start Bay until the afternoon had well advanced, when a land breeze from the north-east sprang up, and, steadily growing in strength, sent the vessels at a capital racing pace over the ground and invested the finishes of the principal matches with life and interest. The weather was bright and sunny throughout and the air beautifully clear....The Vendetta at the outset looked likely to score a runaway win in the 40-rating match, but, as was the case in the handicap, the changes, owing to the paltry breezes, were quite kaleidoscopic, and when the wind came Varuna was the lucky boat to take it first.... MATCH open to yachts exceeding 20 and not exceeding 40 rating. First prize £25, second £15. Course, from Dartmouth Range, round a flagboat off Slapton, thence to one off the East Blackstone, and back to the starting line. Three times round; distance 30 miles... The Lais and Varuna were across the line too soon and lost 2min. 15sec. on recrossing; the pair afterwards got becalmed, and the Vendetta had reached out 8min. lead at the first mark. After a spell in the Doldrums both got past the Vendetta, and the Varuna had a good lead on the first and second round. A good breeze prevailed on the last turn, and the Lais came up fast, but the Varuna crossed the line a clever winner. Timing:- Varuna (winner) 5h.43m.30s; Lais (second prize) 5h.43m.55s. Vendetta gave up.”


THE TIMES - Wednesday 30 August 1893 - ROYAL WEST OF ENGLAND YACHT CLUB REGATTA - “For several seasons boisterous weather and other drawbacks to sport have militated against the Royal Western meetings, but a distinct success was scored yesterday in regard to entries.... It was by no means an ideal sailing day, the breezes fluctuating a good deal in regard to weight..... In the 40-rating match each of the trio held the lead alternately, the Varuna, however, was first when the winning gun was fired. The Vendetta’s share in the sport was only for a brief period, owing to her jumping her bowsprit out... MATCH open to all yachts over 20 and not exceeding 40 rating. First prize, £30; second prize, £10. Course, from off the Hoe, round a flagboat between Rame Head and the Eddystone, thence round a flagboat off Stoke Point, and back through the breakwater entrance to the starting line, twice round - 40 miles. Vendetta was first away, with Varuna second, then Lais. The trio were in close company, beating to the Stoke mark, when the Vendetta jumped her bowsprit out. At the end of the first round the Lais had 64sec. lead, but on the final round the Varuna got past and stole home in a soft air with a long lead. Finish:- Varuna (winner) 6h.41m.20s; Lais (second prize) 7h.3m.42s.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 7 September 1893 - “COWES - The 40-rater, Lais, Mr. John Gretton, junr., has gone into the harbour and commenced dismantling.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 14 September 1893 - “COWES - The Lais, 40-rater, Mr. John Gretton, junr., has been completely dismantled, and is now laid up for the winter.”

ALSO - “SOUTHAMPTON - The Sailing Committee of the Royal Southampton Yacht Club met on Saturday afternoon to consider the protest made by Lais, 40-rater, against Vendetta for over-luffing and putting her ashore in the club match on August 11, when both vessels grounded within five minutes of the start, leaving to Varuna a virtual walk over. A letter was read from Rear-Admiral Montagu, owner of the Vendetta, and the evidence of the Hon. G. Colville, who was on board the Lais, and other witnesses, was heard, and in the end the matter was decided against Vendetta.”


THE YACHTSMAN - 5 October 1893 - YACHTS AND PRIZES - “Lais - Designer, Fife. Starts, 37. First Prizes, 11. Other Prizes, 18. Total Prizes, 29. Value, £700.”

Only the first-class yachts Britannia and Valkyrie II won more prize money during the season.


THE TIMES - Thursday 1 February 1894 - “YACHTING - Mr. John Gretton has sold his 40-rating racing cutter Lais to a German nobleman. The Lais, which was built last year by Hansens, of Cowes, from a design by Mr. W. Fife, jun., was the pride of her class. She won 29 prizes, value £767, in 39 starts.”

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