Royal Thames Yacht Club race at Greenwich antique print

£16.00

Royal Thames Yacht Club race at Greenwich antique print 1858. Original engraving from The Illustrated London News published in 1858 showing a yacht and paddle-steamer on the River Thames opposite Sir Christopher Wren’s Royal Hospital. Engraved area approx. 6×9 inches. Very good condition with no foxing. Price shown is ex-VAT.

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Royal Thames Yacht Club race at Greenwich antique print 1858. Original engraving from The Illustrated London News published in 1858 showing a yacht and paddle-steamer on the River Thames opposite Sir Christopher Wren’s Royal Hospital.

On 1st. October in 1662, the King of England and the Duke of York raced their yachts from Greenwich to Gravesend and back for a wager of £100.00.

Thus, Charles II and his brother, James, established yacht racing in England.

However, the ‘Merry Monarch,’ and the future King James II, had no history of yacht racing prior to their escape to the continent following their father’s execution.

Exiled in France and the Low Countries, Charles was living in Holland in the latter part of his exile and took an interest in the practice of  pleasure boat or ‘yacht’ racing.

Prior to his departure for England he was presented with a yacht by the city of Amsterdam

The yacht, which he named ‘Mary’, later followed Charles to England, meanwhile upon their return to England, the brothers continued their interest in ‘pleasure boating,’ both building yachts of their own.

It was two of these boats that the royal brothers raced upon the waters of the River Thames with King Charles at the tiller of “Catherine” and James that of the yacht “Anne.”

Notwithstanding royal patronage, yacht racing failed to gain support in the British Isles until the establishment of the Royal Thames Yacht Club in 1775, when King George III’s brother, the  Duke of Cumberland, donated a silver cup for a race on the River Thames.

By the 1840s the RTYC had been joined by several other Thames sailing clubs, including the Royal Sailing Society, the Clarence Club, the British Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron.

However, with the expansion of the railways, coastal communities increasingly attracted sailing enthusiasts, and in particular, the waters of the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the mainland became a centre for the racing of larger yachts.

Today, there are probably more sailing and yachting clubs along the shores of the River Thames than at any time in the country’s history, albeit attracting smaller vessels than was formerly the case.

The Greenwich Yacht Club which was founded by Thames Watermen and river workers in 1908 continues the tradition of  ‘pleasure sailing’ on the Thames first introduced by King Charles II upon his return from exile.

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