CARTER 1850—1910, Captain
and skipper of the Royal Racing Yacht Britannia
and contributed by John
Carter in Leeds whilst researching his family history.
Born in Wivenhoe in 1850, John Carter began sailing
at a young age aboard “smacks”, the typical fishing boats of Rowhedge
and its neighbourhood. At the
age of 22, he helmed small yachts and in 1875, he distinguished himself as
the skipper of the 10t-ton Lancer and later of the 110-ton cutter Moina.
His reputation led to him taking command of the Genesta,
the English challenger
for the fifth
’s Cup. The American yacht Puritan won the first race. Carter
sailed beautifully in the second race and was leading at the outer mark
but the Puritan overhauled the Genesta in the race in and
won by just over a minute.
During his stay in the
, Carter sailed Genesta to
win three prestigious trophies: the Cape May Cup, the Brenton Reef Cup and
a cup presented by the Commodore and Vice-Commodore of the New York Yacht
Club. At the close of the1887 season, Captain Carter sailed Genesta to
victory in the first round British Isles race, held to commemorate Queen
John Carter’s highest honour
came in 1893 when he took command of the Britannia, the
newly built yacht of the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII.
Between 1893 and 1897, he sailed 219 races, winning 122 and placing
second 25 times.
1897, he was recruited by C.L. Orr-Ewing MP to skipper the Rainbow, the first modern schooner built in
. Two years later however, when the Prince of Wales offered Britannia to
sail as a trial horse for the
’s Cup challenger Shamrock Captain Carter was again at the helm.
He continued to sail big racers until his death in Rowhedge on 26th
Carter’s son Jack R. Carter, also born in Wivenhoe, became the skipper
of the Britannia until after 1914.
Prince of Wales valued John Carter’s skill as a helmsman and his ability
in tuning and commanding a large racer and conferred on him membership of
the Victorian Order for personal service.