In 1902 the Commodore of the Royal Kennebaccasis Yacht Club. Robert Thompson, presented his club with a challenge trophy. The trophy was a massive silver cup, gold lined, mounted on an ebony base and stood about two feet high. Called the “Coronation Cup” in recognition of the coronation of King Edward V which took place on 9 August 1902, the competition was responsible for the formation of the first Charlottetown Yacht Club.
While the racing for the cup was to be between individual yachts the ownership of the cup was held by the yacht club to which the winning boat belonged. An early contender was the sloop Cibou of the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club which had won the $1000 King’s Cup race at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in 1901. The Cibou was owned by Henry M. Whitney of Boston who had major investments in the developing iron and steel mills in Cape Breton. The sloop took the Coronation Cup Trophy in 1902 and again in 1903 so the 1904 race would be held in Sydney.
Meanwhile in Charlottetown interest in yacht racing was developing. In 1904 a keenly contested regatta saw five boats on the line; Zephyr out of Souris, Vinco, Micmac, Freda and the recently launched Cabot.
The Cabot was one of the most famous of the pre-war Charlottetown sailing yachts. It had been built by Martin Pineaud to a design by his son John (Jack) Pineaud as a contender for the Coronation Cup with another son, Walter, as the skipper. It was launched shortly prior to 15 August in 1904. The boat had an overall length of 39 feet 10 ½ inches with a 25 foot waterline and a beam of 8 feet 9 inches. With a gaff rigged main and a jib she was designed to carry 700 sq. feet of sale. The Cabot had its first race and took the cup in the Charlottetown regatta and within a week had departed under sail for Sydney to challenge the Cibou, which had been the trophy holder since 1902. Originally the boat was to travel to Sydney as deck cargo on the S.S. Bonvista but the $50.00 charge was deemed excessive. The challenge was not successful with the Cibou easily beating the challenger in all three scheduled races. The Cabot however had competed under less than perfect conditions. In the trip to Sydney the boat had lost her mast and had a replacement shipped at Port Hawkesbury. This had strained the rigging. In addition she was a new boat with an untrained crew and she was sailing against an experienced crew and boat in full racing trim. She appears to have stayed in Sydney until July 1905 when she returned to compete in the Charlottetown regatta. However she was plagued with broken spars and stays and did not complete the course. In 1906 Walter Pineaud moved to Sydney and continued to build a reputation as a master yacht designer and builder. He may have taken the Cabot with him.
The challenge to the Cibou carried by the Cabot was directly responsible for the creation of the Charlottetown Yacht Club. As only yacht clubs could challenge for the cup the Cabot’s owners may have been very interested, they could not mount a challenge in their own names. In an early August 1904 notice in the Guardian the boat is described as “the new Coronation Cup Challenger of the Charlottetown Yacht Club…: A further link is the following note from the Guardian of 19 August 1904 :
“All interested in yachting are requested to meet at Prowse Brothers store this evening to complete organization of the Charlottetown Yacht Club. It is the intention to send the Cabot, cup winner of Wednesday’s races to Sydney to compete for the Coronation Cup.”
While there appear to be no press reports or other records of the meeting, there is little doubt that it did take place and the Charlottetown Yacht Club may date its existence from at least August of 1904. A cryptic 1906 reference to the development of a fleet of small sailboats “when our Charlottetown Yacht Club becomes more firmly established…” seems to complete the documentary record. However asserting this was an organization with the same character and purpose as the current Charlottetown Yacht Club is difficult. Other than providing a basis for the challenge for the Coronation Cup, no other evidence of activity in the name of the Charlottetown Yacht Club has been found in the period prior to the 1920s
I have not been able to discover the fate of the Cabot not have a been able to find a photo of her. Douglas Orford, formerly of Charlottetown and now of Saint John is compiling a history of the Coronation Cup and has been involved in the attempts to revive the Cup as the premier yachting competition of Eastern Canada. The Charlottetown Guardian takes several liberties with name Pineau, Pinaud and Pino. Thanks to Ralph Pinaud, Martin Pinaud’s great-grandson for reminding me that the family of the boat builders is properly spelled with a “d” [except perhaps in the Guardian]. More on the Pinaud’s Charlottetown boats in an upcoming posting.