The “Big Class” on Film, 1899

As part of the research for G L Watson – the Art and Science of Yacht Design, we discovered in the Irish Film Institute’s Irish Film Archive an amazing film clip from the Golden Age of Yachting.

The year is 1899, the date is July 8th and the time is exactly 10.30. It is the start of the “Big Class” in the Royal Clyde Yacht Club Regatta at Hunter’s Quay, on the Firth of Clyde.

(Not 1898, and not at Bangor on Belfast Lough, as previously thought by the IFI  and on their original title frames.)

We know it to be the earliest known Irish made film footage.

But is this the earliest moving image of yachting? Of “Big Class” yachting? Of Clyde yachting? Of a Clyde Paddle Steamer? Of a film maker seeing a storyboard developing in front of his eyes, and capturing the moment beautifully? Of two men in a boat almost getting into difficulty? Or just something moving in Scotland? Remember, it’s 1899.

First watch the film here.

Then read more by Hal Sisk here.

Do it that way around –  don’t spoil the fun!


Comments/ leave a comment

About Peggy Bawn Press

496pg biography of Scottish yacht designer, George Lennox Watson (1851-1904). Significant book on the history of yacht design & the development of modern yachting. Beautifully illustrated. Many photographs previously unpublished.
This entry was posted in archives, Big Class, Clyde yachting, Clydebuilt, film, Firth of Clyde, G.L. Watson, Hal Sisk, object of desire, yacht clubs, yacht racing, yachting history and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The “Big Class” on Film, 1899

  1. Tiernan Roe says:

    Thanks for posting this wonderful film. Those guys in the rowboat were certainly cutting it close.
    All the best,

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