Designed and built by Camper & Nicholsons at Gosport in 1928, Astra was a beautiful Bermudian-rigged composite cutter of 91 tons gross (83 net) and measured 115 feet in length with a 20 foot beam. Originally built for Sir A. Mortimer Singer, the naturalised British son of the inventor of the sewing machine, she was owned for most of the 1930s by Mr. Hugh Paul who enjoyed much success with her during the so-called 'golden years' before the death of King George V after the 1935 season.
Britannia, built for King Edward VII when Prince of Wales in 1893, was undoubtedly the most famous racing cutter of them all. Hugely successful during her long life, she won 33 firsts out of 39 starts in her maiden season and competed against all the fastest yachts of the day. Sold in 1897 - although bought back for cruising in 1901 by which time the Prince of Wales had succeeded to the throne - her second racing career really came into its own when King George V had her refitted for big class competitions in 1921. Under the King's enthusiastic ownership, Britannia went from success to success. Despite being re-rigged seven times in all, her hull shape was so efficient that she remained competitive almost to the end and was only finally outclassed by the big J-class boats introduced in the mid-1930's. King George V died in 1936 and under the terms of his will, Britannia was stripped of her salvageable gear and scuttled off the southern tip of the Isle of Wight.
Shamrock (V) was the last of Sir Thomas Lipton's five "Shamrocks", each of which had been created in the hope of winning back the America's Cup or, as he habitually referred to it, "the Auld Mug". Lipton's final Shamrock was designed by Charles Nicholson and built for him by Camper & Nicholson at Gosport in 1930, her appearance at Cowes that same year marking her racing debut prior to challenging for the America's Cup in September. Registered at 103 tons gross (163 Thames) and measuring 120 feet in length with a 19 foot beam, she carried 7,540 square feet of sail and seemed more than worthy of the American defender Enterprise right up until the cup matches began on 13th September. In the event, Enterprise won the series convincingly and Lipton died the following year with his most fervent ambition unfulfilled. After Lipton's death, Shamrock (V) was sold to Mr. T.O.M. [later Sir Tommy] Sopwith, another America's Cup hopeful, and continued racing up until the Second World War began in 1939. Somehow managing to survive until the present day, she is now one of the only three remaining J-Class boats, each of which has been splendidly restored and still able to thrill the crowds on the rare occasions when they are, once again, able to compete against each other.