One of the Edwardian 'greats', Cariad (II) was designed by A.E. Payne and built for the 4th Earl of Dunraven by Summers & Payne at Southampton in 1903. A splendid composite ketch to replace his existing Cariad, she was registered at 153 tons gross (87 net), measured 94½ feet in length with a 19½ foot beam and proved a winner from the outset of her long career. Lord Dunraven, a notable yachtsman of the period, had already challenged twice for the America's Cup (with his Valkyries (II) and (III) in 1893 & 1895 respectively) and, amongst many other successes, Cariad (II) won the prestigious King's Cup at Cowes for him in 1905, 1912 and again in 1921. Just as keen as Lord Dunraven but even more competitive was the German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II who, in less than twenty-five years, owned five successive Meteors, each one larger and more splendid than its predecessor. Meteor IV, a big steel schooner of 400 tons, was designed by Max Oertz and built in the Germania yard at Kiel in 1909. A familiar sight at Cowes in the last years before the Great War, she won many prizes for the Kaiser prior to the building of his last yacht Meteor V in 1914.
Cariad (II) and Meteor (IV) are shown here racing neck and neck towards Egypt Point shortly after the start of the race for The King's Cup, 1912. During the race, which went out across the Channel and back, there were many yachts which had to retire, including Meteor (IV). With the Kaiser aboard and pushing hard for victory Meteor (IV) set too much sail and was caught by a squall which laid her sheets under water on the lee side. She bore away out of control narrowly missing Cetonia and was then laid flat by an even stronger gust of wind, water surged through her open hatches; luckily the wind lulled, she came upright and her crew could reach the sheets and free them. On returning to port there was found to be seven feet of water below decks.