Yacht racing on the Thames

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Yacht racing was not unknown on the river in the reign of easygoing, pleasure-loving King Charles II. Evelyn tells us that he sailed with his Majesty on October 1st, 1661, "in one of his 'Yatchts,' or pleasure boats, vessels not known here till the Dutch East India Company presented that curious piece to the King, being very excellent sailing vessels."

It was on a wager between his other new pleasure-boat built frigate like, and one of the Duke of York's; the wager 100 l., the race from Greenwich to Gravesend and back.

The King lost it going, the wind being very contrary, but saved stakes in returning. There were a number of noble people and lords on board, his Majesty sometimes steering himself.

The King own barge and Kitchen barge attended. "I breakfasted with the King on his return in the smaller vessel, he being pleased to take me and only four more who were noblemen with him; but dined in his 'yatcht,' where we all ate together with his Majesty."

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