The Yoke Trophy
The Yoke Trophy is competed for annually in a cruiser team race between Emsworth SC and Emsworth Slipper SC. The trophy itself is a very ornate solid brass rudder yoke, about 22" long, 5" wide and 2" thick at is maxima. (A rudder yoke slots over the top of a rudder blade, long edge at a right angle to the rudder blade, with a line from each end of the yoke running forward to the steering position).
It is of a type that was fitted to an Admiral's barge, although there is no Admiralty or Royal Navy identification stamped on it. It is said that the yoke was "acquired" from an Admiral's barge by ESC Member Admiral Murray when he was a Midshipman and much later offered for sale by his wife, Meg Murray, who ran an antique shop in Emsworth.
In 1966, Fred Hillier, an ESSC member, bought the Yoke from Meg Murray's shop for £12 and presented it to ESSC as the trophy for a cruiser team race between ESSC and ESC.
At that time, although the dinghy fleets of both clubs raced together in jointly organised events, there was little contact between the cruiser members of the two clubs.
Fred's idea was to get the cruiser members of the clubs to race for the trophy and to finish the day with a social event, a tradition which has continued up to the present day. Three boats from each club contested the first race, which finished off Cowes, and was won by ESSC.
There have been varying levels of support over the years. In some years a fleet of up to 30 boats have competed. In others, the support has been so poor that Fred Hillier considered taking the trophy back and offering it to another club!
In the early history of the race the trophy remained with ESSC, followed by a period of being moved backwards and forwards between the two clubs.
In recent years, ESC won the Yoke in 2013, 2016 and 2017.