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To encourage attendance of yachts, at the local regatta a spectacular Challenge Cup (value 100 guineas) was executed. This cup was competed for over a 7 year period and in 1859 was won outright by Vigilant, a 22 ton yacht of Mr J.C. Atkins from Ireland.
Another important trophy was the Singleton Cup donated by Mr Vivian (who owned one of the local copper smelting works). This cup was won outright by the yacht Psyche for wins in 1833-1835 (the cup was raced for by yachts not exceeding 2 tons).
In all, almost 200 different yachts competed in regattas, held in Swansea Bay, during the 19th Century.
There were 2 excellent races, held in 1861, - involving Glance (a 36 ton yacht owned by Mr Duncan of the Royal Thames Y.C.) and Lurline (a 40 ton yacht owned by Mr Atkins of the Royal Cork Y.C.). Glance won both races.
Up until the mid-1860s the main yacht race at Swansea Regatta was confined to yachts (not exceeding 25 tons) from any Royal Yacht Club, but the rule was relaxed in later years. Most races were time races with a handicap system (usually of 50-60 seconds, per ton).
Children gather on the beach to pose for the comparatively new invention of photography
Notice in the background, working Oyster Skiffs, two in full sail; the recently blasted slopes of the Hill devoid of vegetation and the partly-made road going nowhere; but also see the absence of the “Cutting”, the old Lifeboat House, the Pier and its buildings, the promenade and the Mumbles Railway track, which would be all part of the future.
Photo courtesy of Ron Austin
Sir Thomas Lipton won this large trophy in 1909, sailing aboard “Shamrock” under the BCYC burgee.
It is interesting to note that for most of the yacht races held in the 1800s very few yachts entered (seldom more than 6). It was often a condition of a race that there had to be at least 3 entries. The yachts had distinctive flags and there are numerous references in the local press to boats being built, modified, or sold. In 1871 almost £200 was subscribed for the regatta and the list embraced practically all of the local industrialists in, The Harbour Trust and those influential in local society.