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Home > The Club > The Club History

The Club History

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The Club originated in London and was formed by a group of gentlemen who sailed on the River Thames and met regularly at the Coal Hole Tavern off the Strand. They kept their yachts on the foreshore by the Arundel Steps which lead to the formation of the Arundel Yacht Club.

In 1845, the Members voted to assume the title 'London Yacht Club'. At the same time, not being entitled to the ensign of HM Fleet, the Club adopted a White Ensign with blue cross, with the Union flag in the upper canton and a gold star in the canton below. In 1846, the Lord Mayor gave permission to use the City Coat of Arms, which replaced the star.

In 1849, HM Adelaide, the Queen Dowager, widow of King William IV, became the Patron of the London Yacht Club and thus the Club became 'Royal'. At that time, RLYC was the seventeenth in seniority of yacht clubs. A warrant soon followed, dated 17 October 1849, to wear a Blue Ensign of HM Fleet with the City Arms in the fly. A Burgee was adopted which unlike many clubs, actually corresponded with the Ensign.

The Club flourished on the Thames where its activities gained widespread support. However, in 1882, it was decided to move to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. A lease was taken on the two elegant Regency Houses on the Parade, which is still the Clubhouse today.

Only the second yacht club to be formed in Cowes, the Royal London was given the first Monday of Cowes Week as its race day, which it still is today. Royal patronage came again in 1893, when the Duke of York became Admiral until 1911, when he ascended to the throne as King George V. Our present Admiral is HRH The Princess Royal, who succeeded her Father, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 2012.

The influence of the Royal London on yachting and yacht racing has never waned from the earliest days, when the Club was instrumental in establishing a universal set of rules and a system of measurement.

The Club has always been associated with Metre Yachts and it is appropriate that the annual Cowes Classics Week, at present sponsored by Charles Stanley Direct, is one of the most supported and competitive Regattas held in the Solent. In 2017, this Regatta celebrates its 10th Anniversary. It has been growing year on year, and is being referred to as 'the Goodwood Revival of Yachting' and 'one of Europe's most important Classic Yacht Regattas.

In 2016, the Club organised and ran the World Championships for the Tempest Class as well as the European and World Championships for the Etchells Class.

Last updated 10:43 on 6 February 2024

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