Racing on the second day was delayed by the race organiser in the hope of an improving seas state. Advice from SMYC was that the weather would deteriorate in the afternoon rather than improve. With no racing in the morning, racing commenced after lunch despite the worsening conditions and by the end of the afternoon, two boats had sunk and one had caught fire, beaching itself on the foreshore.
With sufficient races having been completed to qualify as a championship the winners were declared and trophies presented by Commodore of SMYC, Geoff Kemp. First in the Supersport Class was FAINPLAST (Ernesto ASCANI/Marco PENNESI/Massimo ZANCO/L.BISCEGLIA) of Italy receiving the Britannia Trophy and the winner of the Evolution Class was CANTIERI DARMA (BIANCHI DINO FIORI/Franco BIANCHI/Aldo GLIORI/O.GRANUCCI) also Italy receiving the Venture Cup otherwise known as the Vanderbilt trophy.
Thousands of spectators watched the event from the west arm of Brighton Marina and from the promenade
The Duke of Westminster figured in an exciting accident in Cowes Roads at about three o'clock this afternoon and had a miraculous escape from drowning owing to the capsizing of his new fast hydroplane, in which he had gone out for a trial spin.
This peculiar looking craft – which is forty feet long – was launched only yesterday from the works of Messrs. S. E. Saunders and Co. (Limited), at East Cowes, where the Duke of Westminster’s famous motor boat Ursula – which holds the world’s speed record – was built.
This morning the hydroplane went out for a spin, and was the object of considerable interest to many people who were on the Cowes parade and too many members at the Royal Yacht Squadron.
The craft darted through the waves at a terrific place, throwing up a high volume of water on either bow like two fountains. She has been built specifically to represent Great Britain in the international races in America next month.
This afternoon the Duke of Westminster joined the boat at East Cowes, and the hydroplane had a grand run across the Solent, attaining speeds of nearly 35 knots. There were on board Mr Robins, a representative of the firm which supplied the engines, and two engineers.
Everything went finely, and the hydroplane was returning to East Cowes when, in making a sharp turn in Cowes Roads, almost in direct Line with the Royal Yacht Squadron Castle, the boat suddenly capsised, filling with water. Almost immediately she went down, stern first. The Duke, who was steering, and Mr Robbins were precipitated into the water. The two engineers clung to the side of the boat. Fortunately, the Duke and Mr Robins are good swimmers, and they managed to keep themselves afloat until the rescue party arrived.
Motor boats and other boats from the yachts in Cowes Roads immediately went to render aid, including those from the steam yachts Portia and Belinda. The first, however, to arrive on the scene of the accident was the Duke of Westminster's own motorboat Loxwood, in which was lady Crichton, who had been watching the progress of the hydroplane.
The Duke and Mr Robins were rescued apparently little the worse for their immersion, and the two engineers were also rescued and taken ashore.
An attempt was made to tow the half-submerged hydroplane to shallow water, but she sank out of sight in several fathoms of water.
The tugs Irishman and Malta put off to the scene of the accident on endeavoured with a long grapple to raise the hydroplane, but failed to locate her. The Duke of Westminster landed at East Cowes, and, after getting a change of dry clothing, caught the 4 o'clock boat on return to London. He seemed unharmed by his adventure, and was quite cheerful.
The hydroplane was valued at over £3,000 pounds.
Statement by the Duke
The Duke of Westminster arrived at his London residence Grosvenor House at about 8 o'clock last night. He was accompanied by his half-brother, the Hon. Percy Wyndham. His grace had recovered from the serious effects of his emersion.
Colonel Lloyd, his secretary, made the following statement to a representative:-
The duke had a very narrow escape. He had been in the North of Scotland fishing and came back to London, going on to Southampton and then to Cowes, on purpose to test this hydroplane.
Fortunately, he was followed behind by the motorboat of his half-brother the Hon. Percy Wyndham. The hydroplane, however, made faster speed and soon left the other boat behind, and in the course of time got about one mile to a mile and a-quarter ahead. Turning round; the hydroplane suddenly went over, and the duke, Mr Robins, who was steering, and the two engineers were thrown into the sea. The engineers, being only lightly clad, were able to cling to the side of the hydroplane, but the duke, encumbered by a lot of heavy clothing - Macintosh, jersey, etc. had difficulty in keeping above the water. Mr Robins helped him to keep afloat, but twice the duke went down, being pulled up by Mr Robins each time. Finally, the Loxford came up to the duke and took him aboard. Just in time, for he was nearly done, and they had to apply artificial respiration to bring him round in the motorboat. The Duke was only just saved. Needless to say, he is very grateful to Mr Robins, who he considers saved his life.
The Duke of Westminster was born in 1870 and succeeded his grandfather in 1800. In 1901 he married Constance Edwina, daughter of Mr cor West. He served in the South African war as aide de camp to Lord Roberts. Lady Crichton is his aunt. He has taken a great interest in motor boat racing and the Ursula referred to by our correspondent won the Coupe des Nations in the Monaco motor boat meeting last April, exhibiting a speed of about forty-three land miles per hour.
Also in 1908 Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt 1887 – 1915 Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt presented the ‘Venture International Challenge Cup’ to SMYC. The cup is an unusually large Edwardian silver trophy decorated with an enamelled SMYC burgee and engraved “Sussex Motor Yacht Club, The Venture, International Challenge Cup.
The cup was to be used in 2016, 101 years after it was first presented as the prize for the Venture Offshore Challenge. A 1,000-mile race around Ireland. Unfortunately the race had to be cancelled.
Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt was an extremely wealthy sportsman and a member of the famous Vanderbilt family of philanthropists. Tragically, he died in 1915 at just 28 years old, when he was on the 32,000-ton luxury liner RMS Lusitania when she was torpedoed and sunk by U20. U20 was captained by Kapitän-Leutnant Schwieger.
Lusitania sunk within 18 minutes from the time the first torpedo was fired at 14.09 on May 7th 1915 just off the coast of Ireland. Alfred was valiant to the last, helping women and children into the lifeboats and even though he was a non-swimmer, he and his valet handed and fitted their life-belts to a woman and her child.
The Sussex Motor Yacht Club was founded in April 1907. The Bystander, a magazine of the day, reported in its May 22, 1907 edition, that “the inaugural luncheon of the club was held at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, on Saturday the 11th of May 1907; and, as the afternoon was delightfully fine, the opening cruise which followed was thoroughly enjoyed, particularly by the club’s guests.” The Bystander also reported that “Although only a month old, the Sussex Motor Boat Club already numbers upwards of one hundred members; and if, as seems probable, it is able to secure from the Corporation of Brighton the proposed site for its new club-house—on the seafront, where the Aquarium now stands, or, rather, lies buried—there is no reason why, in time, it should not develop into one of the most popular yachting centres on the South Coast.”The Bystander article reflects that the club’s chairman was Sir Theodore Angier, and that his speech “was really interesting, because there is nothing worth knowing about motor-boating that he doesn’t know.” Following the speeches, the members went for an hour’s run in members’ boats, and afterward, “we went ashore again, and were entertained at tea by Mr. Harry Preston at the Royal York [Hotel]….” Preston appears to have been one of the club’s organisers and, at the time, was the owner of the Royal York. It is unclear when the Club moved to premises at 7 Ship Street. but the Navy List of 1927 shows Middle Street as the Club’s address, whilst the Navy List for 1938 shows the address as 7 Ship Street. It would appear from various magazines and Admiralty correspondence that the first Commodore of the Club was the Duke of Westminster. In 1909 the Duke raced an un-named motorboat as Commodore of Sussex Motor Yacht Club in the Hydroplane Regatta held at Monaco. The Duke was also a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron but chose to enter and skipper his boat as an S.M.Y.C. member. In the same year he also entered the Cowes Motor Boat Regatta in his 40 footer, Ursula, and in August, raced for the Harmsworthy Trophy.