MERRYTHOUGHT

-  Skipper Jesse Cranfield & Colne crew in 1898.
   Also skippered by Capt. Charles Simons.

THE YACHTING WORLD - 24 June 1898 - “THE HELIGOLAND CUP - MERRYTHOUGHT WINS AT SECOND ATTEMPT - The schooner Rainbow made her first racing appearance in the match for the Heligoland cup presented by the German Emperor, which was started from Dover on Monday. In all a dozen boats entered, but of these five the Roseneath, Cariad, Goddess, Resolute, and Madeline did not start. In addition to the Heligoland cup, which has already been illustrated in our columns, the German Emperor added prizes for the second and third boats. The conditions of the match were that it be open to all cruising yachts belonging to any Royal or recognised yacht club, and not exceeding 50 tons (Thames measurement). Yachts must have been built in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and be owned by a British subject. All yachts to be handicapped, and sail after the manner of yachts for the Queen’s Cup at the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes. To sail in cruising trim according to Yacht Racing Association Rules. Course, from off the Admiralty Pier, Dover, across the North Sea to Heligoland, keeping outside all lightships on the Dutch and German coasts - namely, the Hinder (South and North), Maas, Texel, Terschelling, and Borkum, and finishing on the south side of Heligoland, between the Saturn buoy and the German man-of-war Mars. Distance, 320 miles. The entries were:- Rainbow, schooner, 317 tons, Mr. C.L. Orr-Ewing, M.P.; Charmian, schooner, 175, Mr. F.B. Atkinson; Latona, yawl, 165, Mr. W.M. Johnstone; Cariad, ketch, 129, Earl of Dunraven; Madeline, ketch, 152, Captain B. McCalmont; Goddess, ketch, 176, Mr. F.W.L. Popham; Castanet, cutter, 64, Mr. E. Lapthorn; Siesta, schooner, 127, Sir John Pender, M.P.; Merrythought, yawl, 73, Mr. Cecil Quentin; Resolute, cutter, 79, Sir Reginald H. Graham; Roseneath, schooner, 52, Mr. A.W. Fulcher; and Egret, schooner, 83, Mr. G.A. Henty.

The handicap was:- Rainbow allowed Charmian 4h., Latona 5h. 30m., Cariad 6h. 30m., Madeline 6h. 30m., Castanet 7h. 30m., Goddess 8h. 30m., Merrythought 10h., Roseneath 10h. 45m., Siesta 11h. 30m., Resolute 12h., and Egret 12h. 30m. The starting arrangements were in the hands of Messrs. Richard Grant (the late Secretary of the Royal Yacht Squadron) and J.G. Podevin (Secretary of the Cinque Ports Yacht Club), the German Emperor being represented by Lord Lonsdale, who is a member of the Special Cup Committee.

The wind from the south-west was fresh enough to give the vessels full mastery of a four-knot easy-going tide, and all but the Charmian were well to the westward of the Admiralty Pier before the starting time. The Rainbow had a working gaff topsail set over the cutter mainsail, while the Charmian, Latona, and Egret had their jackyard topsails aloft, and the Siesta and Merrythought were carrying jibheaded topsails. When the match commenced at 2 p.m. Charmian was to the eastward of the line, and her number was displayed from the Admiralty Pier. Egret was first across, but she was nearly a mile off in the Channel, and Rainbow near the pier was covering the leader’s mainsail. Charmian lost but little time, and squared away third, then came Castanet, Siesta, Latona, and Merrythought. Siesta had a square sail set, and the rest carried spinnakers, the schooner’s running sails being on the foremast. It was a clean run with main booms to port, and with a fine following breeze and fair tide a high speed was quickly attained. Rainbow was well to the fore when the South Foreland was passed, and the Latona was then running practically level with the Charmian, Castanet being just in the wake of the last-named, and Siesta, Egret and Merrythought astern in close company. Rainbow continued to widen her lead, and Latona, Charmian and Castanet followed, there being no change off the South Goodwin light, which Rainbow passed approximately at 2.25. On getting into the open water the mist blotted all from view, and when last made out a course clear of the North Hinder was being shaped, the vessels running fast, with the south-wester holding up well in strength, and a fair tide which would last till 4 o’clock, helping them on.

The Rainbow was the first to arrive at Heligoland, finishing at 2h. 12m. 40s. on Wednesday morning. Nearly 3 hours elapsed before the Latona came in, and, as she had saved her time, all chance of the Watson schooner securing the coveted prize was destroyed. The yawl was closely followed by the schooner Charmian, which, however, had to allow time to Latona, and was therefore out of it. Two and 3 hours later Castanet and Merrythought finished, each saving their time allowance, so that the interest in the match was kept up till the very end. Siesta did not finish till 1h. 11m. 5s. in the afternoon, and was therefore unable to save her time. There was a good deal of sea and the wind was fresh from start to finish. The finishing times were:- Rainbow 2h.12m.40.s; Latona (2nd prize) 5h.4m.52s.; Charmian 5h.17m.12s.; Castanet (3rd prize) 7h.27m.2s.; Merrythought (winner) 8h.15m.5s.”

 

THE YACHTING WORLD - 1 July 1898 - “SEA BREEZES - The Merrythought, the winner of the Heligoland cup, it is interesting to note, was the only boat which started that also took part in last year’s race, and Mr. Cecil Quentin, the owner, deserves congratulations on his plucky win. The Merrythought, which carried no pilot, carried her spinnaker for 36 hours, of which 22 hours were on one gybe. Her average speed by dead reckoning was 8.7 knots per hour. The Merrythought was built by Messrs. Camper & Nicholson in 1875, and in last year’s race she came to grief before getting clear of the South Goodwin. In bearing up to clear Cetonia her topmast went over the side, taking with it the topsail yard in two pieces. All chance of winning the cup was thus destroyed, though the wreck was smartly cleared away, and getting a gantling rove on the stump the third jib was made to serve as a topsail.

The skipper of the Merrythought, Jesse Cranfield, hails from Rowhedge, and has had command of such well-known craft as the Chiquita I. and Chiquita II., the cutter Armide, owned by Baron (now Count) d’Epremesnil, the yawl Dove, owned by the late Mr. Arthur Laurence, not to mention a number of smaller craft owned by such thorough amateur experts as Messrs. Augustus George Wildy and Bernard John Angle, of boxing fame.”

Merrythought was also skippered by Capt. Charles Simons of Regent Street, Rowhedge. He had a very successful time with Merrythought and even named his house after her. The following photo shows him on board Merrythought.

Capt Charles on board Merrythought.jpg
Capt Charles & Mary Ann Simons 02.jpg
Capt. Charles & Mary Ann Simons