On Saturday 18th June, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited the Royal Lymington Yacht Club (RLymYC) for an impressive Regatta Day celebrating the Club’s centenary.
The Princess Royal has taken a particular interest in young people's sailing and training, as well as sailing for disabled people. She most recently visited Royal Lymington in 2019 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Wednesday Junior Sailing, the Club’s community sailing programme, which is in many ways the “Jewel in the Crown” of the Club’s achievements. This unique project was started by a group of members to benefit local children interested in learning to sail who might otherwise not have the opportunity and the project has been proudly supported by Lymington Yacht Haven for over 35 years.
The Centenary Regatta Day and ‘Après Sail Festival’ brought together members of all ages, their families and friends for a glorious celebration of one hundred years on the water. Flotillas of yachts, dinghies, motor boats and paddle craft took part in a wide variety of events during the day. Afterwards, members returned ashore for food, drinks, live music and fun activities including a Centenary Haybale Games on the green adjacent to the clubhouse.
RLymYC Commodore, Phil Lawrence, said: “We were honoured that our Patron, HRH The Princess Royal, was able to join over 800 members of all ages for our Centenary Regatta Day. We celebrated one hundred years of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club with a packed day of activities afloat and ashore.”
"Out on the water Princess Anne reviewed our fleet of members’ yachts and powerboats, many of which were dressed overall to celebrate the day. Keelboats raced for our prestigious PotterShip Trophy and the dinghy fleet raced in the boisterous conditions. Many of our junior sailors were delighted to meet the Princess as she watched them learning the joys of boating.”
"Back ashore, dozens of Club volunteers delivered a tremendous festival with food and drink, live music and fun activities on the green. It was fantastic to see so many members with a shared passion for boating - from the very youngest to those with over 50 years of membership enjoying the celebrations.”
“We were delighted to showcase to Her Royal Highness the enormous range of varied activities and excellent facilities the Club has to offer. Whether your passion is motor cruisers, yachts, dinghies or paddle boards, junior sailing and training or a thriving social scene, the Royal Lymington Yacht Club has something for everyone.”
Patron of the Club since 1979, the Princess was welcomed by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mr. Nigel Atkinson, New Forest District Council’s Vice-Chairman, Councillor Neville Penman, Mayor of Lymington, Councillor James Hoare, and the Club’s Commodore, Phil Lawrence.
The Princess Royal was introduced to Club’s Flag Officers, Centenary Regatta organisers and a number of young sailors, before heading out on the water in a RIB to tour the Regatta.
A spectacular fleet of members’ yachts dressed overall in nautical flags and motor cruisers anchored in lines on the Solent adjacent to the Club’s Starting Platform for a Fleet Review by Her Royal Highness.
The Princess Royal then took the opportunity to watch the prestigious PotterShip Race, an annual event where members compete for the glittering PotterShip Trophy, given by the Club’s founder, Major Cyril Potter, in 1937.
After watching the start for the XOD boats, which have been raced out of the Club throughout its one hundred year history, the Princess Royal was treated to an impressive ‘fly-past’ by young Club member, Hattie Rogers in her foiling Waszp dinghy, in which she was recently crowned SailGP Inspire Female World Champion. Hattie said: “The Centenary Regatta was a complete celebration of all types of racing and cruising. To sail in front of Her Royal Highness was an honour and very memorable.”
Whilst out on the water, Her Royal Highness was introduced to the race and safety officials and watched the dinghy racing, where junior, youth and adult sailors were racing in windy conditions a lot stronger than originally forecast.
The Princess Royal then had the opportunity to watch the Club’s youngest sailors in more sheltered water closer to shore; a colourful display of pottering Lymington River Scows brightening up the grey sky. Her Royal Highness waved to the youngsters and showed a great interest in the Club’s adventure sailing ‘Shipmates’ and ‘Mariners’ fleets and enjoyed seeing the two Club Boatmen, dressed as ice creams, handing out ice lollies to the delighted children.
The Royal Lymington Yacht Club is one of the most active ‘Royal’ Clubs, founded in the hopeful days after the first World War. Royal status was bestowed on the Club in 1936, which complemented the Royal patronage of the Club since 1925. The First Patron was HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the uncle of HM The Queen.
Since becoming Patron of the Club in 1979, HRH The Princess Royal has made numerous working visits to the Club, including joining the crew in the ladies championship event, participating in RIB support of junior racing, and attending key events in the life of the Club, such as the commissioning of the new pontoon in 2016. The Princess Royal has been an enthusiastic visitor to the Club’s special occasions and for a while kept her yacht on the river close to the Club.
The Royal Lymington Yacht Club is considered very much a home of yachting, dinghy sailing and motor boating - bringing together likeminded people with a love of the sea. Find more information about the Club at rlymyc.org.uk. The Club continues to welcome new members, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01590 672677.