26th-28th May 2018

The Canford Cup


Recently discovered and bought at auction, The Canford Cup may now be the oldest sailing trophy in the world. Presented to The Poole Regatta in 1849 by the new owner of the Canford Estate, this Trophy predates the America’s Cup Auld Mug by 2 years.

Poole Regatta 1849

The 1849 Regatta took place on Friday August 10th 1849, when 3 races were held. The notice appearing in Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle on July 22nd 1849 announced that the following prizes would be offered:

FIRST RACE:  A Purse of 50 sovs, or a piece of plate of equal value, to be sailed for by yachts not exceeding
50 tons o.m.; a time race; entrance 1 sov; three to start or no race

SECOND RACE:  A Silver Tankard, value 30 sovs, with 15 added, to be sailed for by yachts not exceeding 30 tons o.m.; a time race; entrance 1 sov; three to start or no race

THIRD RACE:  The Canford Cup, presented by Sir J J Guest, Bart., M.P.; for yachts not exceeding 15 tons o.m.; a time race; entrance 10s; three to start or no race

All the matches in the Regatta were closely followed by passengers on board the Atlanta, a steamer from Southampton, while an on-board brass band from Blandford played for their entertainment. The evening ended with a vast display of fireworks over the town.

The Canford Cup

The third match of the Regatta was sailed by yachts not exceeding 15 tons for the Canford Cup. Three boats took part and the winner was Gleam, a 15 ton cutter owned by P Roberts, Esq. of the Southern Yacht Club in Southampton, who was duly presented with the Canford Cup.

This cup, a George IV silver vase, was originally created in 1822 by Robert Hennell of London, one of a well-known family of silversmiths. It was subsequently purchased by Sir John Josiah Guest, who had the cup embossed with a yacht racing scene and engraved ‘Poole Regatta 1849’. Sir John Guest had purchased the Manor of Canford in 1846, so named this The Canford Cup.

The cup then seems to have disappeared from view into private collections.  It came up for auction in October 2015 and was purchased by Poole Museum, with the help of donations from the Poole Regatta Committee, Poole Yachting Association, various yacht clubs and individuals from Poole.

The cup was presented to the overall winner of Poole Regatta 2016, Sam Laidlaw with Aguila, and was subsequently engraved and returned to its permanent home in Poole Museum.  It will be presented again to the overall winner of the 2018 Regatta

The Trophy recently featured on the BBC News website – read the story