This film is part of Free

Watkins Trophy 1964

The members of British Transport Yacht Clubs have swapped buses and trains for sail, as they compete against the clock, the elements and each other on the River Ouse in York.

Non-Fiction 1964 16 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


A blackboard marks the time, wind direction, laps and where the buoys are placed, as sailing teams from three British Transport Yacht Clubs – Leicester, London and York – prepare to do battle on the River Ouse outside York. A green pennant with a yellow lion symbol flies in the wind above the silver Watkins Trophy for 1964, ready for presentation. After four races, the winners are Leicester. Speeches are made, tankards given out, and boats pushed back across the fields.

It is believed the film was taken by Sheila Korczack, wife of race participant Leonard, and preserved by York Railway Institute member Peter Monahan. Leonard Korczak was a member of the Free Polish Paras which were based here in the war. He stayed, working for British Rail in Leicester, and he started the sailing club with support from British Rail, later becoming a secondary school teacher of English (d. 2003). The Watkins Trophy, funded by BR, was a competition between the three British Transport Yacht Clubs in the country: Saddington, near Leicester, Welsh Harp, near the North Circular in London and York, taking it in turns to host it. Originally for British Rail employees only, it was later open to anyone.