Nov 292010
The Admirals Cup

The Admirals Cup

The Admirals Cup was an international competition based on teams of three boats, run by the Royal Ocean Racing Club from Cowes.

The Admiral’s Cup began as a private challenge in 1957, but in 1959 the club was asked to run the series.

Although the Americans did not return that year, Holland and France took part.

The story of the Cup from then on was one of continual expansion of the number of teams, which reached a maximum of 19 (57 boats) between 1977 and 1979.

After 1985, in terms of the number of three boat teams, there was a decline as the kind of yacht needed to compete both offshore and in inshore courses (even Olympic or Olympic style layouts), became progressively more unusual and expensive, as did the paid crew.

Commercial sponsorship of the series by French company, Champagne Mumm began in 1983, while the first British boat to be sponsored, rather than privately owned, appeared in 1991.

The 2003 event, the last held, was planned to be based in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, but this was changed at short notice for reasons that are still unclear. In addition, instead of being a competition between national teams, the event was competed between yacht clubs, each with two boats.

The 2005 event was cancelled in April of that year, only months before the event was to be held.

Towards 2011

RORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen

RORC Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen

The Royal Ocean Racing Club has now secured the support of Skandia to undertake a feasibility study into the revival of the Admiral’s Cup as the premier offshore racing regatta in the world circuit.

RORC through Chief Executive Eddie Warden Owen, has been working on reviving the Admiral’s Cup for sometime. “With this commitment from Skandia we can put resources in place to carry out a thorough feasibility study leading to a plan that could enable our vision to become a reality” says Eddie. “We have considerable interest from all over the world but we want to ensure that the Admiral’s Cup meets the needs and expectations of all prospective competitors.”

RORC is consulting with yacht clubs, boat owners and sailors from all over the world with a view to holding the event in the summer of 2011.

Andrew McIrvine, the commodore of RORC is excited at the prospect of working with Skandia. “Skandia is a company with a long history of yachting sponsorship and one which understands what is required to make an event of this calibre work for the sponsors and sailors. With Skandia’s experience and support at this crucial planning stage there are real prospects of restoring the Admiral’s Cup to prominence.”

Tim Sewell, Skandia’s Sponsorship Manager is delighted to support RORC to bring back the Admiral’s Cup. “The history and heritage of the Admiral’s Cup is immense” says Tim “We hope that our support with the feasibility study will enable RORC to create an event that will do justice to its history and reputation as one of the world’s leading offshore racing regattas.”

 11:03 am  Yachts
Mar 272010

Dubai World Cup

Dubai World Cup worth $10 million to the winner

For decades, horse owners and breeders from the Arab world have worked to establish the Arab presence in international thoroughbred racing, not only by winning top trophies in the United States, Great Britain, France and Japan, but also by bringing world-class racing and breeding back to the Arabian Peninsula, the home of the thoroughbred’s renowned ancestor, the Arabian.

As 11 of the world’s leading thoroughbreds stepped onto Dubai’s refurbished Nad Al-Sheba racecourse on 27 March 1996, that ambition came true.

The brainchild of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai World Cup is a fitting tribute to his love of horses and of horseracing.

Dubai World Cup Trophy

Dubai World Cup Trophy

Horse racing began in the Emirate in October 1981, when the dusty Camel Track hosted the first thoroughbred.

The race meeting consisted of three races – a sprint, a mile and a mile and a half.

Just over a decade later in 1992, the now world-famous racing stable Godolphin began, followed by the inaugural Dubai World Cup meeting in 1996.

The initial Dubai World Cup racemeeting put the United Arab Emirates on the map, as it has become the home of one of the world’s top racing challenges, and has drawn the attention of millions of enthusiasts around the globe.

The standard was set and history was made by the American ‘wonder horse’ Cigar, when he claimed the first Dubai World Cup.
With the establishment of the annual invitation-only Dubai World Cup, the United Arab Emirates became the home of one of the world’s top racing challenges, and drew the attention of millions of enthusiasts around the globe.

Among the horses entered in the inaugural race was a 13-time winner from Australia, a seven-race winner from Great Britain, the ‘dirt horse’ champion from Japan, and Cigar, North America’s ‘Horse of the Year’ for 1995.

Reflective of the overwhelming generosity of the UAE and embodying the warmth of traditional Arabian hospitality, contenders for the purses are flown in from all corners of the world, such as North and South America, South Africa, South East Asia, Australasia and Europe, and horsemen enjoy generous travel subsidies for their support of racing in the UAE.

The Dubai World Cup, now worth US$10 million, is classified as a ‘Group 1 Flat Race’ previously run on dirt for four-year-old thoroughbreds and above, and spans a distance of 2000m (one mile, two furlongs). 2010 marks the first year this race will be run on Tapeta.

Chief supporting races are the US$5 million Dubai Duty Free and the US$5 million Dubai Sheema Classic – the two richest races run on turf, anywhere in the world.

The newest addition to the card is the Group 3 Al Quoz Sprint, worth US$1 million, to be run over 1200m on turf. Also on the card are the Dubai Golden Shaheen and UAE Derby, both worth US$2 million, and the US$1 million Godolphin Mile, while the evening kicks off with the Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic for Purebred Arabians.

Perhaps part of the Dubai World Cup’s success is not only due to the state-of-the-art race track, but the burgeoning status of Dubai as an international crossroads and global transport hub, and of course a first-class tourist destination, evidenced by more than 50,000 racegoers attending the Dubai World Cup meeting each year.

 4:14 pm  Horses
Nov 012007
History of Polo

History of Polo

One view is that Polo originated in Iran over 2,000 years ago and developed as a sport to train cavalry in good horsemanship.

By the Middle Ages, the game had spread as far afield as Japan and China.

The 1991 edition of the Guinness Book of Records on the other hand traces the origins of Polo even farther back, to Manipur, in circa 3100 BC, where the sport was known as Sagol Kangjei.

Known in the East as the Game of Kings and the King of Games, this verse is inscribed on a stone tablet next to a polo ground in Skardu,Pakistan, just north of Kashmir.

British tea planters in India first witnessed the game in the early 1800’s but it was not until the 1850’s that the British Cavalry drew up the earliest rules. By the 1870’s the game was well established in England.

James Gordon Bennett, a noted American publisher and adventurer, was captivated by the sport and brought it to New York in 1876 where it caught on immediately.

The sports Golden Age is seen by many as the 1930’s. It was an Olympic sport and crowds in excess of 30,000 regularly attended international matches.

Nowadays, Polo is active in 77 countries, and although its status as an Olympic game ended in 1939, the International Olympic Committee recognised it as a bona fide sport in 1998 with its own international governing body, the Federation of International Polo.

It is still one of the few sports where keen amateurs can play alongside seasoned professionals.

Professionally, a few countries dominate the game, notably Argentina, England, Pakistan, India, Australia and the United States.

Among this field, Argentina is the team to beat. Argentina has been the uninterrupted world champions since 1949 and is today the source of most of the world’s 10 goal (i.e., top-rated) players.

However, explosive growth in players and the availability of good horses is honing the competitive abilities of challengers from many other countries, including the United States where there are more than 225 USPA member clubs with over 3,000 players.

The sports popularity into the wider masses is continually hampered by its image as an aloof and expensive sport.

While it is true that to play the sport competitively requires money, enjoying the sport as a spectator is something that is open to everyone. Most Polo Clubs and their players welcome wider members of the public to participate in the enjoyment provided by an afternoons match.

So Toffsworld’s advice is to check out what your local Polo club has to offer – you might be surprised by the warm welcome you receive.

Note however, that in most countries, outdoor polo is only played during the Summer months.

 3:01 pm  Polo
Aug 282006

Since the great age of Louis XIV and his extravagant court, France has been the yardstick for fashion.

Haute Couture is a craft that has endured and evolved for more than one hundred and fifty years.

It is a gentleman named Charles Frédéric Worth who holds the honour of being the originator of Haute Couture. In 1858 he founded the first true house of haute couture at 7, rue de la Paix, in Paris.

He created original items of fashion each distinct and possessing its own personality for individual clients. The essence of haute couture is underpinned by a sense of craft that each season dazzles with its creativity and virtuosity.

Haute Couture

The phrase haute couture is itself the French term for high fashion. Couture itself relates to dressmaking, sewing, or needlework while haute means elegant or high.

To own a haute couture model garment is to possess a hand customised fashion design by a couture design house that is of the highest possible level of quality. A hand made model haute couture garment takes into consideration both the wearer’s measurements and body stance ensuring an exquisite fit.

Haute Couture by John Galliano

Haute Couture by John Galliano

The actual term haute couture is protected by law and according to the Syndical Chamber for Haute Couture “only those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves thereof”. The criteria to which a fashion house must adhere in order to be categorised haute couture were laid down in 1945 and updated in 1992.

These rules are simple, to be designated as haute couture a minimum of fifteen people must be employed at the workshops and must present to the press in Paris each season (spring/summer and autumn/winter) a collection of at least thirty-five runs consisting of models for daytime wear and evening wear.

The golden age of haute couture dates back to the fifties, but today there are only 10 houses of haute couture in France, designing to an elite customer base of around 3,000 people worldwide.
 1:13 pm  Fashion
Aug 242006

Tailoring, the cutting and sewing of cloth as we understand it today, developed gradually in Europe between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.  The first specific reference to the word “Tailor” in the Oxford English Dictionary provides a date at around the end of the thirteenth century.

old fashioned mens suits

Old Fashioned Mens Suit

At one point the cloth was the important feature of any garment. Following the Renaissance the primary function of clothing to conceal the body shifted to a position whereby clothing was used to accentuate certain physical features. Following this transition the Tailor grew in importance with masters of the craft appearing at hubs of civilization.

The empires of Italy, then Spain and France were all at one point as a result of their empires the centre of fashionable dress. Italy reached its peak during and after the Renaissance, Spain and France followed early and late 17th century respectively. France during the reign of Louis XIV France was the hub of Tailoring fashion by the time he died in 1715 the balance of fashion power begun to shift across the channel to the UK.

During King Louis XIV’s 72 year reign a paradigm shift in male attire was becoming apparent. Around 1650 men had stopped wearing the doublet, hose, and cloak, fundamentals of a mans wardrobe since early in the sixteenth century. During Louis XIV reign men started to wear coats, vests, and breeches which we can recognise three components of modern male attire.

As noted the balance of fashion power was shifting, following the civil war the English moved away from the decorative court style popularised in France and took up a more practical form. Both the clothing of the gentry and the merchant classes became progressively more sober throughout the eighteenth century. By the start of the 1800’s kings, consorts, and princes were dressing in a restrained manner identical to their subjects, this would evolve into the classic attire associated with the ninteenth century such as stovepipe hats, umbrellas, and frock coats.

At this point in the evolution of clothing English Tailors, particularly those in London, dominated the male fashion scene. The male style was a clever combination the sporting attire preferred by the gentry and the business clothing of the newly rich industrialists. The fit now rather than decoration became the fundamental rule for male clothing. English Tailors experts at their craft and trained to use woolen cloth over time developed the art of “molding” cloth close to the body without duplicating the exact body form of the wearer. The keywords for the gentlemen of the nineteenth century were discretion, simplicity, and the perfection of cut. It was at this point that modern Tailoring as we know it had it arrived.

Innovations such as sewing machines and more comfortable cloths have had their impact but do not detract from the essential consideration that Tailoring is an art form.
 4:45 pm  Fashion
Jul 252006
Traditional Wedding Cake

Traditional Wedding Cake

The wedding cake is an ancient tradition that symbolises union and allows the guests to share in this happiness.
It has also developed many myths of it’s own, most of them harmless fun to do with future marriage and love.
The fruits and grains were introduced to symbolise fertility. This is why the cake forms the central focal point at the reception to this day.
The tradition of the cake dates back at least to Roman times who ate a cake made of wheat flour while the wedding service was in progress.
Tiered and iced confection was introduced to Britain from France after 1660. Originally this icing was crumbled over the bride´s head.
The top tier is traditionally set aside and kept until the christening of the couple´s first child.
And the guest who found a ring in the cake was said to be ensured happiness for a year.

Wedding cake was given to unmarried guests as they left the reception.

They would place these slices under their pillows to improve their chances of marrying. In this event, Bridesmaids would apparently dream of their future husbands.

 5:11 pm  Weddings
Mar 282006
America Yacht First Photo

First known photo of America - the Yacht that started it all

Poster Advertising 100 pound cup

Poster Advertising the £100 Cup - forerunner to America's Cup

The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) was established on July 30, 1844, when John Cox Stevens invited eight friends to his yacht Gimcrack, anchored in New York Harbor.
The nine who met resolved to form the NYYC and named Stevens as commodore. The theme of the club was to race sailing yachts.

Three days later, members would depart on a yacht-club cruise to Newport. Thus, began the historical connection between the NYYC and Newport, RI.

At that time, The Isle of Wight in the Solent had been the epicenter of yachting in England. In 1851, a schooner painted black and called America, arrived there looking to win races. That yacht was owned by John Cox Stevens of the New York Yacht Club (NYYC), and other club members.

America challenged all English yachts to a match race but no yacht were willing to race her.

Finally, America joined a free-for-all on Friday, August 22, around the Isle of Wight.
Watching the race, which included 15 English yachts and America, was Queen Victoria, who supposedly inquired, “Which is first?” Told it was America she asked, “Which is second?”

“Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second,” was the reply.

America won what was then called the Royal Yacht Squadron’s “Hundred Guinea Cup.”

On July 12, 1857, surviving members of the America syndicate donated the silver trophy they won in England, the “Hundred Guinea Cup,” to the NYYC.

They called it the America’s Cup, in honor of the yacht that won it.

They invited yacht clubs around the world to compete and promised, “friendly competition between foreign countries.”

Boats flying the NYYC club flag held onto that trophy for 132 years, or until 1983. During that stewardship, NYYC boats won 81 of 93 races. The win in 1851 in England and then 24 defenses, from 1870 to 1980, has been described by journalists as the “longest winning streak in sports.”

 3:49 pm  Yachts