Category: ARROW

The Royal Yacht Squadrons Famous Cutter Arrow Under Full SailThe birth of a legend

The original Arrow was modeled and built somewhere about 1822 by Mr. G. Inman for Mr. Joseph Weld of Lulworth Castle but was largely the product of her owner’s ideas of design. Arrow was 61 feet 9½ inches long by 18 feet 5¼ inches beam, with a depth of hold of 8 feet 8 inches.

She had the usual round barrel-like bottom, and, so far as can be learned, a round, short bow, the run being fair and easy, the small midship section lending itself pleasantly to this.

Considerable success then oblivion

Lithograph of Arrow - by John B. DayArrow seems to have been a fairly representative craft of that time, and raced with considerable success, even against much larger vessels than herself. In an exciting race from Cowes to Swanage Bay and back in July 1825 for a wager of £500, “Arrow” was only narrowly beaten by Lord Anglesey’sPearl” yet the winner was nearly 20 tons more in burden. When matched against yachts of comparable size and tonnage, “Arrow” was unbeatable and her first real triumph came in 1826 when she won the £100 gold cup at the Royal Yacht Club’s annual regatta; that year marked the inauguration of cup-racing at Cowes and thus the honour of winning the very first cup ever offered by the Royal Yacht Squadron fell to Mr. Joseph Weld and “Arrow”. It was an historic victory and the first of many in what was to prove an astonishingly long career.

Anxious to improve on “Arrow’s” success with an even larger cutter, Weld sold “Arrow” after the 1828 season – a decision he came to regret bitterly – and she was purchased by George Ackers, a fellow club member. Although Ackers kept her for five years before selling her to Lord Godolphin in 1834, it appears that she was often laid up for long periods and might never achieve her real potential.

A second career

Lines of ARROW after that her bow was lengthened in 1852But the old 'Arrow' was to begin a second career. Bought in 1846 for a bargain price by Mr. Thomas Chamberlayne, that gentleman had her replanked and some alterations made in the bow and run, indeed not very much more than the amidship frame seems to have been preserved. Anyway the resuscitated vessel appeared again in 1847, recommencing a career which has certainly been an extraordinary one. But it was not until 1852 that her bow was lengthened and she appeared as shown above.

During the famous Cup, Arrow went aground off Ventnor (not an uncommon experience) and Alarm stood by to assist and relinquished the race. When “America” returned to Cowes in 1852 she was soundly beaten by “Arrow” in an identical race for the Queen’s Cup at Ryde Regatta with “Arrow” then going on to win the other Queen’s Cup at Cowes the same summer, the latter in one of the quickest times on record. Arrow and Alarm battling it out during the original - by Tim ThompsonIn 1854, “Arrow” took the cutter’s prize at the Royal Southern Regatta, the prestigious silver salver at the Royal Victoria Regatta and Prince Albert’s Cup at Cowes; it was a memorable season and she continued this winning streak over the coming years, winning the Prince Consort’s Cup at Cowes in 1860, the Squadron Cup in 1863, Mr. Salt’s Prize in 1865 and the Town Cup in 1869. Still competing and frequently winning in the next decade, she won at Dover in 1876 until finally taking an incredible ten prizes out of seventeen starts in 1879, her very last season.

The [Ryde] Town Cup of 1879 marked “Arrow’s” farewell appearance in the Solent, and it proved a triumphant finale to an altogether brilliant career. Pitched against a seemingly invincible opponent, the brand-new “Formosa”, “Arrow” beat her in an epic race which electrified all those who witnessed it; Bell’s Life, the contemporary journal, called it “the greatest victory the old ship has achieved in the half-century of her existence”. Rhetoric perhaps but, fifty-eight years after she was launched, the only English yacht to claim she had never been beaten by the great “America” had shown herself, even at the last, to be the most formidable cutter afloat. Thereafter retired but not forgotten, she has been described as “the epitome of the first sixty years of salt-water racing”.

Royal Victoria Yacht Regatta 1852 - From left to right: Mosquito, Arrow, America and BrilliantPrize list (incomplete):

- HER MAJESTY'S CUP 1850: Cutter 84 tons

- HER MAJESTY'S CUP 1852: lengthened cutter 102 tons, Arrow beat the America. -->

- HER MAJESTY'S CUP 1853: Thursday July 22nd, 1853, a neck and neck race between the Arrow and Mosquito, the former being about the length of her bowsprit in advance. They were timed as follows:
- Arrow 6h 59m 30s
- Mosquito 6h 59m 31s
- America 7h 1m 20s
- Zephyretta 7h 39m 0s
Thus it will be seen it was a most exciting match, and the alteration which the Arrow had undergone has greatly improved her sailing qualities.

The Cutter Yacht Arrow (100 Tons) in the Match for Prince Alberts Cup, August 15th 1854- GREAT REGATTA AT BRIGHTON. July 28nd 1853 Hotel Keepers Prize for £50 and 50 added from the fund. Arrow, Wildfire, Aurora, Mosquito and Julia started, Arrow winning by 17 minutes.

- PRINCE CONSORT'S CUP 1854: August 15th-The Arrow, Julia, Osprey, and Aurora (not Mosquito) started. This was one of the most brilliant achievements of the Arrow on record, she beat the favorite (Julia) 13m 55s. -->

- Royal Victoria Yacht Club Regatta 1858: 50 guineas for cutter Arrow (102 tons) winner by 20m 3s.

- PRINCE CONSORT'S CUP 1860: July 31st. The Arrow was hailed the winner after a spirited contest with Lulworth, which she beat by 6m 6s after allowing 4m 49s for difference of tonnage.

- PRINCE CONSORT'S CUP 1861: August 6th. Three cutters Arrow, Osprey and Brunette started with a splendid breeze from S.W., W.S.W., W. Arrow was the last off, but before passing Ryde pier she had forereached on her opponents, took the lead and kept it throughout, Osprey coming in second, Brunette some distance astern.

- HER MAJESTY'S CUP 1863: August 6th. The following entered: Vindex, Crusader, Psyche, Arrow, Marina, Audax, Christabel and Phryne. The Arrow became the winner by 7m 5s independant of the time she had to allow.

- The Prince of Wales' Cup 1863: Aline and Arrow were to receive no time, but were each to allow the following time to the other competitors: Zara 12m., Pearl 35, Shark 25, Ursuline 28, Weerit 88, Psyche 30, Flying Cloud 30, Sultana 33, Enchantress, Terpsichore, Intrepid, and Resolute 35, Lotos and Resolution 40, and Petrel 45. Arrow won by 14mn 23s maintaining her great fame, and adding another Royal gift to her former trophies.