St. Matthew Cup

In the first week of January 1946, before the Service finally left Burnham, representatives of the Royal Navy. Royal Marines and WRENS handed to the Burnham Council a perpetual Challenge trophy, the St. Matthew Cup, for an interclub team race between the three Yacht Clubs and the Sailing Club under arrangements to be made by The Joint Yacht Clubs Sailing Committee which functions during Burnham Week. There was some confusion during 1946 on how the race should be organised and managed. Nevertheless a date immediately after Burnham Week was chosen for the race. One is left with the impression that everybody was very relieved when the weather that day was such that there was no question of any sailing! Consequently there was no race in 1946.

In March 1947 the Burnham Sailing Club offered to place boats of the Clubs new 16 foot One Design Class at the disposal of the Council for the Cup race. The Council called a meeting of four Clubs in July and it was agreed that each Club would provide four of its One Design Class boats, one to be sailed by each Club; that each Club should enter four crews, one to sail each class of boat: that no crew should sail their own boat, that there should be a draw for boats; that the race should be annual; and that it should be managed by each Club in turn. The 1947 race was sailed immediately after Burnham Week and was won by the Burnham Sailing Club. The format was continued in future years and in about 1950 the United Hospitals Sailing Club joined in so that there were five boats of each Clubs (lass and five crews per Club, one to sail each Class of boat.

The most successful Club between 1947 – 60 was the Burnham Sailing Club, but we won in 1955 and 1957. The 1955 victory was surprising when the finishing places were added up the RBYC was fourth, but the St. Matthew Cup has always been a great arena for protests and when all had been heard we were first! There must be a lesson to be learned from this result!