Small Craft

Late 19th & Early 20th Century British Yachting

The Sailors: Amateur British & Irish Yachtsmen Before World War One

Yachting Fables

A MAN who kept a small boat, the size of an egg-box; envied the nautical swagger of a real yacht captain, and so he hied him to Fenchurch-street, and there purchased a superfine reefer suit with ormolu mountings, crowning his glory with an effulgent yachting cap, bearing a gold bullion burgee centre-plate in the front thereof. Next screw-day he added to his wardrobe a pair of thigh boots and a beautiful American oilskin, full of the latest gadgets. In effect, he reeked of the sea.

Now, at the week-end he went forth in this ultra-marine outfit; the tea-urn in the refreshment-room looked dull by comparison. Arriving at Muddlesea, he walked down the wet, slimy hard and dallied with the dinghy, as old Hook's daughter passed along the water-side. The hard was slippery. He waved his hand--and slipped, . . . she smiled.
Again he reeked of the sea.


It is well not to blossom out as a yachtsman until you can manage the dinghy.

Two BOATS fouled one another while racing in a local regatta. Each considered there was a fair ground for complaint. One, on the port tack, pretending that the water was shoal, shouted for room; the other, on the starboard tack, refused to give way, and counter-claimed for offensive language. Accordingly each lodged a written protest, accompanied by a five-shilling deposit, as set forth in Rule 42.

The Sailing Committee, assisted by the Flag Officers, met at the club-room-behind the private bar - to consider the evidence. The day had been hot. The F.O. and Committee, after due deliberation, gave the following ruling

1. The F.O. and Committee were warm.
2. The wiles of both protestors were well known to the Committee.
3. Agreed, that the deposit moneys be forfeited and used for the purpose of quenching the thirst of the F.O. and Committee.


Moral: Do not enter a protest against a man as bad as yourself.

ONCE upon a time a man had a boat which was a fairly good ~ as boats go. One day in a two-reef breeze he hoisted his small head sails. "My good man, what on earth have you done that for?" said his authoritative friend. "She will never weather. What is wanted is a large balloon jib."

The man put it up.

A smack-yacht happened to pass that way standing easily under all sail, as smacks do. The smacky owner shouted to the man in the small boat, saying: "Why on earth are you reefed down? Shake it out; she'll stand it." So the two reefs were shaken out and the small boat began to plunge and lay over and slew round and do other things.

"What you want" - this from a cutter running for the Crouch - "is to set your topsail; that will steady her." The cutter flew the burgee of a recognised yacht club, which gave strength to her remarks.


As the small boat lay bumping on the Buxey with the water breaking over her the owner was heard to remark, "Too much d-d advice will upset any boat!"

A SAILOR-MAN invited a friend who brayed of his prowess on the water to spend a week-end with him on his yacht. The friend - a great swell - accepted with alacrity, packed his silk-corded yachting cap and nickle-plated knife (with corkscrew attachment) in a suit case, while the pink-and-blue striped shirts went into the portmanteau. As he sallied forth he unceasingly told of his hazards on the sea - at Surbiton. The cruise started pleasantly in smooth water, so that the friend who bragged and boasted said this was only fair weather sailing and as such was not to be commended to one of his calibre; but, as he was hungry, he would partake of lunch below. Here he partook of sardines and sterilised cream, Worcester sauce, and divers sundries, washed down with Bass. Now, while the friend lunched the waves rose and the wind buffeted the ship, so much so that the cabin-lamps swayed and the crockery rattled, and there came forth a great swell - from the cabin - very discommoded. With green face and slackened limbs he slipped to the side of the cockpit and said, "Er . .


One is liable to "Er . . ." if not used to the sea.

The Yachting and Boating Monthly, April, 1907