In the years after America's legendary win at Cowes in 1851, a number of notable British yachts dominated the sport at home, two of the most celebrated being Foxhound and Vindex.
Foxhound, a 35-ton cutter, was owned by the 3rd Marquis of Ailsa and had been designed and built for him by William Fife (Senior) at Fairlie in 1870. Measuring 58 feet in length with a 12 foot beam, she achieved considerable success for her owner, despite a faltering start, when she won both the Squadron Queen's Cup and the Prince of Wales's Cup at Cowes in 1871. In fact, she was regarded as the most successful 'second class' yacht that year, with twelve wins in twenty-one races, a marked contrast to her maiden season the previous year (1870) when, under her first skipper Captain Sloan, she only managed two wins in thirteen outings. The disappointed Marquis therefore handed her over to Ben Harris of Itchen Ferry and this change of skipper was apparent at once. Later re-rigged as a yawl, she continued to perform admirably throughout the 1880s and was still racing into the twentieth century.
Vindex, also a cutter, was older than Foxhound and was built in 1863 although reference books are at variance as to where and by whom; it is sufficient to record here that she was constructed of iron, registered at 45 tons (Thames) and measured 61 feet in length with a 13 foot beam. Her career was marked by success from the start and she won eight races (out of nineteen) in her maiden season. In 1864 she was the champion prize-winner of the year, did particularly well again in 1866 and was last recorded racing - "as the famous old Vindex" - as late as 1898.
Foxhound was the winner of this closely-fought duel at Dartmouth Regatta, 1870.