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ESSEX STANDARD - Saturday 1 November 1890 - "THE MARCH OF IMPROVEMENT - Within the memory of man, Rowhedge was looked upon as almost the end of the world, and specially noted for "sprats and quarrelsome sailors." But with the spread of education and the increase of yachting there has come a great change o'er the scene, and it may soon be "Colchester and Wyvenhoe, near Rowhedge." A quarter of a century ago there were but two yachts quartered here, and not more than twenty hands engaged in yachting; now there are upwards of fifty lying here for the winter, all of which are manned from here. Many other men also go to join yachts elsewhere, thus giving employment to something like 200 hands. Some of the crack racing yachts of the day are wholly manned from here. The old time occupations of salvaging and deep sea oyster dredging have quite died out, and sprat fishing seems fast going the same way, the men finding winter employment in both coasting and foreign-going trading ships…”


OUTING - November 1893. Vol. XXIII. No.2 - THE CRADLE OF THE ENGLISH CUTTER by Capt. Kenealy (excerpt) - "In every country of any antiquity it will happen by a variety of determining circumstances that certain remote and otherwise localities will be the cradle of particular industries or particular schools and fashions of a wide-spread art or industry. It has been so in English yachting, and no more opportune example of it could happen than the presence in our waters of the cutter-typed Valkyrie and her crew, for the birthplace of both types, the boat and the men, is a little hamlet of which scarce one in a million has ever heard - Wivenhoe on the Colne, in Essex.

  On the banks of the Colne, with Wivenhoe in the centre, Rowhedge a bit higher up and Brightlingsea lower down, a hardy lot of sea-dogs have flourished for centuries. Tough as nails are they, and active as cats. They take to the water from childhood, and have exceptional facilities for becoming sailors.

  In the summer they spend their time in the shrimp boats, clever little cutters of some eighteen tons, that, morn by morn go down to the sea, trawl fishing for shrimps, and eve by eve come up the river about twelve miles from the fishing ground. Every day there is a race, for it means considerable money to be first, second or third boat. There are peddlers in waiting every evening to purchase the cargoes of crustaceans. The first boat will get thirty-six cents a peck, the second twenty-eight cents, the third eighteen or twenty cents, while those that follow have to be content with rates that are much lower. In fact they dispose of them by the bushel for what they can get to the "bummaree" of the village.

  This is the school in which the Cranfields, of Rowhedge, the Pittucks and Harlows, of Wivenhoe, and the Greggs, of Brightlingsea, learned the art of boat sailing, every summer. In the winter the times are harder. The shrimps seek warmer waters, and not one is to be caught. Their exodus is as rapid as that of the swallow. What do these famous fishermen of Wivenhoe then? Do they go into winter quarters and hibernate like the dormouse? Or do they spend their time loafing on the wharves or around the inglenook, at the village tavern? They do neither, good brother. They still look for their living in the teeming North Sea, fertile with fish of almost every kind.

  When the biting east winds set in generally in the bleak month of November or December, a certain little denizen of the deep whose Latin or scientific name is Clupea Sprattus, vulgarly known as Jack Sprat, approaches the coast of England in huge shoals. He is not caught in American waters, but is often eaten masquerading as a sardine in a can whose alluring label talks picturesquely of the Mediterranean. He is quite a succulent morsel, fresh, canned or smoked, and no Lord Mayor of London would think his banquet complete without a savoury dish of this delightful little fish of the herring tribe which peers and paupers alike enjoy. The bloated alderman recognizes his toothsomeness. The cockney artisan revels in his rich juices. George Augustus Sala, than whom there is no better judge, in a memorable passage insists that he shall be washed down with just a "nip" of smoky Hollands, as a corrective, and in this sentiment I most cordially concur.

  When the sprats strike the coast the men from the Colne sally forth in their "stow-boats" as they are called - stout cutter-rigged smacks of some thirty or forty tons, and pursue their finny foes in the estuaries and tide-ways with the seine or the bag-net. In my mind's eye I can see them now sailing up the river, loaded to the deck edge with beams and nets lashed to their rails and hanging over their sterns, while for ten feet up their rigging is one mass of ice.

  Cranfield’s or Pittuck’s boat first, so closely pressed by the Harlow’s and Carter’s that bets are made by the loungers on the wharf that Pittuck with his Enigma will head Cranfield’s Sally, or that Jack Carter will wriggle his Wonder right through the lee of Harlow’s Haughty Belle.

  It is no wonder, therefore, that men trained in such a splendid school as this one are in great demand by yachtsmen. It is no wonder either that these sturdy skippers and sailors are proud of their nursery, the oyster breeding river Colne, down in Essex."   

There are many more to be added to the following list. Britannia's successes are recorded in the pages detailing her racing history.

1878 - FORMOSA, Capt. Lemon Cranfield, a Queen’s Cup at Cowes.


1879 - PANTOMIME, Capt. Lemon Cranfield, Fr 1,500 at Nice Regatta.


Date needed - NEPTUNE, Capt. George Henry Cranfield, “Securing one day in Belfast Lough a prize of £250, the largest ever won by a racing yacht in British waters."


1882 - MIRANDA, Capt. Lemon Cranfield, the Prince of Wales’s Cup at Cowes.


1885 - GENESTA, Capt. John Carter. Challenger for the America’s Cup at New York. Won the Brenton’s Reef and Cape May cups in America.


1886 - MAY, Capt. William Wadley Cranfield of Rowhedge, won 28 prizes, valued at $5,500 in one season.


1887 - GENESTA, skippered by Capt. John Carter with a Colne crew won the jubilee round-Britain yacht race.

1887 - FOXHOUND - Lemon Cranfield - In 1887 won the Jubilee prize of £375 at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club regatta. Won a total of  56 cups and prizes for her owner in three seasons.

1888 - DEERHOUND, owned by Capt. Nottage and skippered by Tom Jay of Rowhedge, won a Queen’s Cup. Won first prize in every race she entered during the Riviera season, a feat only equalled by Britannia the following year.

1888 - YARANA, Capt. William Wadley Cranfield, won 78 prizes valued at $16,850 in three seasons, and in 1891 he won 15 prizes, valued at $4,500.


1889 - YARANA, holder of the Champions’ Cup beat Irex to retain the trophy. She also retained the Town Cup, I.O.W.


1891 - VALKYRIE I, Capt. William Wadley Cranfield, won a Queen’s Cup.


1893 - LAIS, Capt. Jonathan Cranfield, the Australian Cup at the Royal Yacht Squadron Regatta, Cowes week.

1893 - VALKYRIE II, Capt. William Wadley Cranfield. Challenger for the America’s Cup at New York.


1895 - VALKYRIE III, Capt. William Wadley Cranfield. Challenger for the America’s Cup at New York.


1897 - FREDA, Capt. Matthewman of Rowhedge, won the German Emperor’s Cup for the North Sea race from Dover to Heligoland.


1898 - MERRYTHOUGHT, Capt. Jesse Cranfield of Rowhedge, the German Emperor’s Cup.

1898 - CARIAD I, Capt. Bartholomew Smith of Rowhedge, won the Vasco de Gama Challenge Cup at Lisbon.

1898 - BETTY, Capt. Jonathan Cranfield, a Queen’s Cup at Cowes.


1899 - FREDA, Capt. Matthewman, German Emperor’s Cup.

1899 - BETTY, Capt. Jonathan Cranfield, the German Emperor’s Prize at Kiel Regatta.


1900 - FIONA, cutter, Capt. Fred Pearman of Rowhedge, the German Emperor’s Cup.

1900 - SYBARITA, Kiel to Travemunde - German Emperor’s Cup, local crewmen. Also, Kiel to Eckernforde - Prince Henry’s Cup, local crewmen.


1901 - FIONA won the Nore to Dover race.



1902 - IREX, Capt. Charles Simons of Rowhedge, the German Emperor’s Cup at Cowes.

1902 - CICELY, Capt. Jesse Cranfield, the German Emperor’s Cup at Kiel Regatta. She won ten trophies in 1902, nine firsts and one second, six being won in German waters.


1903 - FIONA, the Dover to Boulogne race.



1904 - VALDORA, Capt. Button of Brightlingsea, the German Emperor’s Cup.


1905 - CARIAD II, Capt. Bartholomew Smith of Rowhedge, the King’s Cup at Cowes Week.


1906 - FIONA won the Dover to Boulogne race.



1907 - CARIAD II, Capt. Bartholomew Smith of Rowhedge, the German Emperor’s Cup at Cowes Week.

1907 - CARIAD II, Capt. Bartholomew Smith of Rowhedge, the Cowes Town prize.


1909 - CARIAD II, Capt. Bartholomew Smith of Rowhedge, the Cowes Town prize.

1910 - CARIAD II, Capt. Bartholomew Smith of Rowhedge, the King’s Cup at Cowes Week.


1912 - CARIAD II, Capt. Bartholomew Smith of Rowhedge, the King’s Cup at Cowes Week.

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