Sir Peter Scott Painting of Sailing Dinghies

Sir Peter Scott painting of ailing dinghies

Explanation of the Scene Depicted

This page displays a photograph of the Sir Peter Scott painting of sailing dinghies: ‘Dinghies Racing on Lake Ontario’. The Cambridge University Cruising Club Annual Report of the time records Peter’s (wiki link) gift of the 80x50cm painting in the Club’s year of 1935/36. The story behind the scene depicted – one of the few ‘non-wildlife’ paintings that Peter produced in his career – is as follows.

In 1934 a team of 4 UK International 14 dinghies and sailors, from Royal Norfolk & Suffolk YC, went to Toronto. In Canada they sailed against teams from the Royal Canadian YC and Rochester YC, New York. The UK beat the US 3-0 and Canada 2-1 to take home the trophy. Canada beat the US 2-0 (one race being abandoned due to the time limit expiring). Peter Scott also won an open race for the Wilton Morse trophy in Eastlight. The series, which had started in 1933, went on to become an international biennial event.

Provenance of the Sir Peter Scott Painting of Sailing Dinghies

Peter painted the scene the year after the event, from memory, notes and sketches, and possibly a photograph. The scene is a start (a Preparatory Signal is flying), but only includes 6 boats. The three UK boats are K290 (Lightening – John Winter); K267 (R.I.P. – Stewart Morris); and K318 (Eastlight – Peter Scott). Missing from the scene are a fourth UK boat, K322 (Canute – David Beale, not a CUCrC member) and an opposing boat.

Peter intended the painting for the CUCrC and so left out the ‘non-Cambridge’ boat. Three helmsmen and two crews were CUCrC members, one crew was a Cambridge Rugby Blue, and one was an Oxford University YC member. A document accompanying the painting, also available from the Alumni Administrator contains further details. This document is in the Club’s archives at the University Library, along with printouts of the articles mentioned below.

International 14’s Team Racing

The origins and development of International 14 team racing form fascinating part of dinghy sailing lore. The history section of the International 14 Class website records the details. See also pages 70-74 of ‘Uffa Fox’s Second Book’, which give the results of the 1934 races when Uffa was Team Manager. Finally, also consult the two articles on Canadian 14 history by Rob Mazza in the Royal Canadian YC ‘KWASIND’ bulletins of August and September 2013.

Some International 14 History

’14’ dinghies evolved in parallel in the UK (where the International Rule was formulated), the US, and Canada. The Canada and America’s Cup events of 1930 initiated some animated discussion, as to the relative merits of the UK, US, and Canadian 14 dinghies. The outcome was that Sir John Beale, Commodore of RN&SYC, undertook to organise what became the 1933 international team racing event at Seawanhaka Corinthian YC, Oyster Bay, New York. He then accepted the invitation for the UK to attend the 1934 event at the Royal Canadian YC, Toronto.

Current Location of Painting

The painting is currently on loan to the Royal Thames YC, where it is on display in the library.