In 2022 the Royal Lymington Yacht Club will be celebrating its centenary with a spectacular year of celebrations afloat and ashore.
It was in 1922 that the Lymington River Sailing Club was formed, in the aftermath of the Great War, which had frustrated all previous attempts to bring together local sailors.
Many of “the great and the good” lived in Lymington and were members of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, but they wanted their own Club on their home river. That year, Major Cyril Potter and his friends got together at Potter’s house, near the ferry terminal, to form the Club.
They bought the disused Coastguard Boathouse which was ideally situated on the town side of the river. Since then, it has been expanded to become the excellent facility enjoyed by members today.
From small dinghies to the biggest cruising and racing yachts
“Royal” status was bestowed on the Club in 1938, which complemented Royal patronage of the Club since 1925, the current Patron being HRH The Princess Royal.
Right from the start, members sailed everything from small dinghies to the biggest cruising and racing yachts.
Local fleets in Lymington
XOD dayboats were on the river as the Club began and continue to be raced in large numbers today. Channel and offshore racing became a big part of Club activity, crews made up of Royal Lymington members regularly and successfully competed against other yacht clubs enhancing the Royal Lymington’s prowess.
Today Nordic Folkboats, J/80s and cruiser-racers contribute to a thriving keelboat racing scene.
Developing world class sailors
Many early members sought the advice and skills of Dan Bran, one of Lymington’s boat building legends, who had his shed near the Seawater Baths. From Dan came the Lymington Pram which together with the smaller Lymington Scow were seen on the river for many years. Today, the Lymington Scow is raced on the river in large numbers together with many modern dinghies.
The Club’s racing credentials are impeccable, staging the famous Royal Lymington Cup match-racing series for three decades and attracting the most famous sailors in the world to Lymington. Sailing stars such as Olympic medallists Sir Ben Ainslie, Pippa Wilson, Sarah Gosling, world match-racing champion Ian Williams, plus numerous young talent including Vita Heathcote/Ryan Orr and Emily Mueller - are all very much part of the Royal Lymington family.
Many sailors begin their voyages from the Club whether it be setting off around the world or on one of the many cruising meets catering for yachts and motorboats.
Wednesday Junior Sailing
Junior Sailing is in many ways the “Jewel in the Crown” of the Club’s achievements. Wednesday Junior Sailing began over 30 years ago as a community project by members. It is designed to benefit any local children interested in learning to sail. Every year literally hundreds of individually coached sailing sessions are provided during the summer months, teaching juniors everything from tying knots, to rowing and sailing small dinghies. The emphasis is on fun while fostering a love for boats and all things water-borne along the way.
The Club’s junior coaching programme is widely respected as one of the most successful in the UK. Over the years it has introduced hundreds of young people to the joy of racing boats.
Yacht Havens have been longstanding supporters of this wonderful scheme, which celebrated its 35th year in 2019 with a visit from HRH Princess Anne.
Sailing encourages a lively social scene ashore. It is very much a fraternity of the like-minded, the bar being the centre of activity. The winter season is filled with lectures, dinners, quiz nights, art competitions and even yoga classes.
The Club has come a long way in its hundred years, from a somewhat elitist organisation to one which nowadays embraces everyone active on the water. As its website says, the Club is “The home of yachting, dinghy sailing and motorboating”.
New members are always welcome including experienced sailors and motorboaters as well as those new to the water. Find here more information about joining the Club and for membership enquiries please contact 01590 672677 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To see what the Club has on offer in its second century it has an open day on 26th March 2022.
Sir Ben Ainslie Centenary Message for Royal Lymington Yacht Club
Get on the water
Whether you're an experienced sailor or you want to learn more, there are many ways to get on the water from Lymington.
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