Portsmouth Regatta History
In 1864 the newly founded Royal Albert Yacht Club was at the heart of the keenest competition in sail racing in the Solent. The cutter yachts, huge by our present standards, were at the forefront of design. Two leading members of the Royal Albert were experimenting with a revolutionary sail. They competed hotly for the coveted Royal Albert Cup. In 1865 it was won by William Gordon in his 40 ton Niobe. In that year he was said to be conducting trials with a full bellied foresail. In 1866 H C Maudsley in his 47 ton yacht Sphinx won the cup who too had conducted trials with a revolutionary foresail flying from the masthead and using a detachable boom. Who was first with the design? At this distance in time it is impossible to be certain but we can be sure that the 1866 victory was considered to be due to the new sail. We can also be sure that the crew of Maudsley's yacht called it the Sphinxacre.
In modern times, after many decades, the Regatta was resurrected in 2014 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Albert Club and the 80th of the Victory Class. The Regatta continues to grow in presence and size in the Solent racing season. Addressing a greater number of classes and with commercial and support partners the future is very bright.
Last updated 21:05 on 20 February 2020