Welcome to our blog!

It's better than a bat in the eye with a burnt stick!

This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

And make sure to visit The Arnold Bennett Society for expert information and comment on all aspects of the life and work of AB.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Yachting and yarning

Saturday, January 21st., Yacht Amaryllis, Cannes.

I began the 4th and last part of "Lilian" yesterday and wrote 1,600 words.
Old Cecil Quinton the yacht-racer and original owner of the Cicely (now Lamorna), came to lunch with his wife. He said that the Cicely once did 17 knots with two patent logs - "and they didn't help her much".

Westward and Cicely off Cowes, 1905
Only four of the 14 entries started in the Over 20 tons class at the 1900 Olympics and British yachts occupied the first two places. Selwin Calverley’s 153-tonner Brynhild took the line honors but Cecil Quentin’s 96-ton Cicely won on time adjustment. Designed by William Fife as a fast cruising yacht for Cecil Quentin, "Cicely" was built by Fay & Co. of Southampton in 1902. At 263 tons and 114 ft overall, she set 10,000 sq. ft of sail and was universally admired for her classic sheerline and beautiful appearance. Unable to resist the challenge of competition, her owner raced her against the finest opposition of the day, winning countless encounters against such fine yachts as "Meteor III", "Clara", "Nordwest", "Germania", "Adela" and "Susanne". In fact, in her first year afloat she won every race she entered against the big schooners of Germany and Britain. A long-lived yacht, she was renamed "Lamorna" in 1911. During her lifetime she had her sternpost and part of her deadwood renewed. Her bottom flanking was renewed in teak in 1922, and her decks, also in teak, in 1933. Post World War II, she had a black hull and sailed until 1951 when she was driven ashore near Christchurch Ledge in a gale, under the ownership of a party who were reputedly hunting for Captain Kidd's treasure. As a friend and one-time business partner of Cecil Rhodes, Cecil Quentin was, in his early days, one of the country’s most prominent financiers and as a yachtsman his most notable achievement was to captain Cicely to three successive victories over the German Emperor’s yacht, Meteor III. 

He also told tales of an old illiterate captain whom he took ashore to watch over a flat in Buckingham Street and who in a storm would 'stow' all the crockery etc. affirming that the house was rolling. Also he sat in his room with only a small blue jet of gas-light. Asked why he didn't have it higher, he said because he had noticed that when he blew out the gas at full there was much more smell than when he blew it out from a little point. He had been blowing out the gas nightly for weeks. Old Quinton is 70 odd and was racing in the eighteen-seventies.

On Wednesday night and last night Laura Aitken came down to dance with me. Last night Bonar Law came and joined us for a few minutes, showing all his usual extraordinary charm. He said that for 12 months he had been perfectly happy to be idle, but during the last month idleness had begun to bore him. Half an hour later he made the mistake of introducing me to Lady Z. Quelle femme!

Andrew Bonar Law (1858 – 1923) was a British Conservative Party statesman and Prime Minister. Born in the colony of New Brunswick (now in Canada), he is the only British Prime Minister to have been born outside the British Isles. He was also the shortest-serving Prime Minister of the 20th century, spending 211 days in office. He had a much longer tenure as Conservative Party leader, November 1911 to March 1921 and October 1922 to May 1923, where he used his business background to good advantage in promoting better organisation and efficiency. His lack of aristocratic family connections helped him broaden the base of the party to include more businessmen.

No comments:

Post a Comment