History of the Royal Victoria Yacht Clubs
Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Canada
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Canada was founded on June 8th, 1892, by a group of passionate sailors dedicated to developing the art and sport that is sailing in their community46. The club promotes yachting, boating, navigation, and seamanship and offers racing events, cruising excursions, moorage services, and kayak & stand up paddle board rentals35.
The club gained its royal status in 1901 when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary) visited Victoria and the club was granted the title ‘Royal’ by the Queen2. It moved in 1912 to its current location, at the location of the old Hudson’s Bay Company cattle wharf. along the shores of Cadboro Bay in The Uplands a neighborhood of Oak Bay, adjacent to the city of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
The club has outstations at Telegraph Harbour, Portland Island, and Winter Cove3. It also has facilities at Tseheum Harbour in Sidney. Membership is open to anyone interested in boating and yachting, regardless of nationality35. The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Canada has over 1,000 members6.
A yacht race held to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday was the catalyst that led to the creation of the Victoria Yacht Club on June 8th, 1892. The first races, held in the 1880s, were originally contested only by local sportsmen, but in 1892, four American boats appeared and swept the board, winning the top four races. This outrage spurred the local sportsmen into forming a yacht club. The initial forty-six Members wanted to create a full season of yachting events to go along with the annual May 24th event. The club acquired a waterfront lease, and a clubhouse was constructed. In a few years it was replaced, both because it was too small, and because it had sunk three times. The replacement clubhouse in the Inner Harbour was wound-up in 1908.
In 1910, encouraged by increasing membership, and weary of competing for space with the whaling and sealing fleets, the yacht club began to search for a better location. On the Oak Bay waterfront, four miles from the Inner Harbour, the Uplands Corporation was turning a thousand-acre farm into an exclusive residential suburb. By 1912, negotiations were complete, and the Victoria Yacht Club possessed a spectacular property hugging the shores of Cadboro Bay. A clubhouse, designed by well-known Victoria architect William D’Oyly Rochfort, was completed in time for the official Opening on July 13, 1913 when three hundred members and guests gathered for the social event of the season.In 1911, the club’s growth and stature were recognized when King George V granted permission for the club to add the prefix “Royal” to its title. The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty granted a warrant allowing the club to fly a blue ensign defaced in the fly with the club badge: the letters VI, representing Vancouver Island, surmounted by the crown.The History of Oak Bay
Royal Victoria Yacht Club, UK
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the UK was founded in 1845 at Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, and was granted ‘Royal’ status immediately16. The club was formed by Prince Albert to give Queen Victoria a yacht club which she was entitled to enter as a mere female4. The first steam-powered royal yacht had been launched two years earlier, owned and managed by the Royal Navy4.
The yacht was designed by William Symonds, Surveyor of the Navy, and was built by Pembroke Dockyard in Wales24. The Victoria and Albert was 96 meters long and had a displacement of 1,034 tons2.The yacht was used by the royal family for over 20 years, and it was decommissioned in 186324. The yacht was then sold to the Royal Navy and was used as a training ship until it was scrapped in 18992.
According to the National Maritime Museum ln Cornwall, the application of steam power to yachts was viewed with much disfavour by the Royal Yacht Squadron in earlier days, and at a meeting held at the Thatched House Tavern in 1827 it was resolved that no vessel propelled by steam should be admitted into the club, and any member applying a steam-engine to his yacht would be disqualified thereby and cease to be a member.’ In 1844 this rule was somewhat modified by admitting steam yachts to the club of not less than 100 horse-power, and in 1853 all restrictions in regard to steam were removed. Nonetheless, the need for a club that did not distain motor boats was likely influential in the formation of the RVYC.
The year that the RVYC was formed the Queen and Prince Albert had started to build their summer home on the Isle of Wight. They became the nearby RVYC’s first patrons at its genesis. On 2 March 1846, at Ryde, the ceremonial laying of the foundation-stone of the original clubhouse by H.M. Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort took place.
Prince Consort Building Club house, Royal Victoria Yacht Club
The Prince Consort Building was the Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s home until 1922 when the club moved to its current location in Fishbourne6. The club offers RYA training courses, racing events, and social programs6.
Noteworthy Events at the Clubs
Cowes Week is one of the longest-running and most successful sailing regattas in the world, attracting sailors from around the globe. The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the UK is one of the clubs that participate in Cowes Week6.
Cowes Week is one of the UK’s longest-running and most successful sporting events and is a key highlight of the British sporting summer145. The regatta is famous for its fireworks on the final Friday3. Cowes Week is one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world, with 40 daily sailing races, up to 1,000 boats, and 8,000 competitors ranging from Olympic and world-class professionals to weekend sailors3. It is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world6. The event lasts for eight days and takes place every August at Cowes on the Isle of Wight23.Cowes Week has been held in August every year since 1826 (except during the two World Wars)23. Over the years, the regatta has been visited by royalty and other world-famous personalities as well as naval warships, superyachts, and square-riggers23. The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the UK is one of the clubs that participate in Cowes Week6. In 1869…
The town of Ryde was then developing into a fashionable resort and the sport of yacht racing was expanding from racing on the Thames under the auspices of the Cumberland Fleet to the Isle of Wight and the Solent. The Royal Yacht Squadron had developed an annual regatta at Cowes and the Royal Victoria went on to develop an annual regatta at Ryde to take place immediately after the Cowes regatta. This extended the developing Solent yacht racing season to two weeks. As the sport grew so this trend continued. The foundation of the Royal Albert Yacht Club at Southsea (1865) led to the extension of the racing season by a further week.Royal Victoria Yacht Club (England)
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Canada is known for organizing the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, which is the premier long-distance sailing race in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia area. The race starts and ends in Victoria, BC, Canada, and the midpoint markers for the four long courses are in U.S. waters24.
Let’s travel back to July 4, 1930, when several nattily dressed gentlemen, in dark suits, wide lapels, fedoras and certitudes, met to organize the first sailboat race that would become Swiftsure. They represented the geographic triangle of the three premier regional yacht clubs—Royal Vancouver, Royal Victoria and Seattle. After quaffing hot rums at the Royal Vic Clubhouse, they decided to race the next day from Cadboro Bay to rounding the Swiftsure Lightship moored on Swiftsure Bank. Indeed, six boats, Claribel, Westward Ho, Minerva, Andy Laili,Cressetand White Cloud took off at 11:00. Seattle-based Ray Cooke’s Claribel, a schooner, won.
The Race, named after the lightship and bank marking the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait, was held again in 1931 and 1934, but the Depression and World War II prevented further contests until Royal Victoria’s Jack Gann revived the concept in 1947. That year, 15 yachts gathered in Victoria Harbour to race to Port Townsend. Royal Vic has continued to present Swiftsure every year since and, to accommodate yachts arriving from as far away as Oregon and California, and because July winds are often iffy, the long U.S. Memorial Day weekend in May was chosen as the race date.
Widely known as the premier long distance race in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. Like every year, there’s hope for a race that lives up to its name—swift winds, manageable tides, a sunny day without fog, an alert crew, and a boat without breakdowns that could hamper success…THE HISTORY OF SWIFTSURE
75+ years of sailing adventure
Vic Maui Race
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club Canada is responsible for the Vic-Maui race. The Vic-Maui race is an international yacht race that takes place every two years, starting in Victoria, British Columbia, and ending in Maui, Hawaii123. The race was first sailed in 1965 and was a dream of Royal Vancouver Yacht Club member JG (Jim) Innes1.
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club is responsible for organizing and managing the race, and the club’s Vic-Maui Event Chair is appointed to oversee the preparations for the race4. The Royal Victoria Yacht Club has a long history of hosting regattas and an international reputation for excellent race management and on-shore activities6. The race is governed by the rules defined in the current edition of the World Sailing Racing Rules of Sailing23. The Royal Victoria Yacht Club is proud to organize and host this prestigious race, which attracts sailors from around the world16.
Burgees and Royal Status
The burgees of the two clubs are dissimilar in design, one featuring a white and blue background with a crown in the center13 and red border. The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Canada gained its royal status in 1901 when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary) visited Victoria and the club was granted the title ‘Royal’ by the Queen2.
Royal Victoria Yacht Club Canada burgee
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club UK was granted a warrant to wear the Red Ensign of His Majesties Fleet in 1845, and from 1872 until 1898, the club held the warrant to wear the crown defaced Red Ensign2.
All members of RVYC UK have the right to obtain a Special Ensign permit under the Club’s Warrant if they are British citizens and own a yacht (sail/motor/RIB) which meets Conditions Governing the Issue of Yacht Permits. The last ensign depicted on the image is the one flown today.
Background Royal Yacht Squadron
Looking is as near as most sailors ever get to this most aristocratic of clubs. Members will repair to the Squadron after racing, taking tea on the lawn, before entering the Castle for cocktails before a party or the fabulous Squadron Ball, but for the rest, the Castle itself, built by Henry VIII to repel the French, is a visual symbol of the club’s exclusivity.
The most prestigious club in Britain, possibly the world, is wreathed in mystique. The only way to join this club of Kings, Lords, Hons and Sirs is to be invited by a member and be subject to a secret ballot. The fact that the membership list reads like Debretts is an indication of most sailors’ chances of being invited…
Flying the white ensign
The appeal of being a member is obvious. Who wouldn’t want to fly the white ensign from their stern? The Squadron is the only yacht club with a Royal Navy warrant to do so, granted in 1829. And who wouldn’t want to walk boldly in to meet and drink with the great and the good?
Originally named The Yacht Club, it was founded on 1 June 1815 by a group of 42 gentleman yachting enthusiasts. Five years later, member King George IV conferred the Royal in the club’s title and in 1833 King William IV renamed the club the Royal Yacht Squadron. Members met in the Thatched House Tavern in St James’s, London, and in Cowes twice a year for dinner.
Today there are 535 members… Some of history’s greatest yachtsmen are on the Squadron’s membership roll: Sir Thomas Sopwith, John Illingworth, Sir Francis Chichester, Sir Alec Rose, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston. Ties with the Navy are strong and some of British maritime history’s most famous names have been Squadron members, not least Nelson’s vice-admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy who commanded HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, Admiral Lord Cochrane who was the inspriation for C.S. Forester’s Hornblower novels and Admiral Sir Jeremy Black, captain of the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible during the Falklands War.Inside the Royal Yacht Squadron – we get a rare view of this most exclusive club
Compare how similar the Royal Victoria Yacht Clubs are to the Royal Yacht Squadron? Was the Royal Yacht Squadron formed after the Cumberland Fleet to promote racing on salt water? How is the Royal Yacht Squadron funded? Can the Royal Yacht Club ask Royals to join or do they, like other clubs, need to wait for a Royal to seek membership?
Royal Victoria Yacht Clubs
- The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the UK was founded at Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, and was granted ‘Royal’ status immediately2.
- The club was formed by Prince Albert to give Queen Victoria a yacht club which she was entitled to enter as a mere female2.
- The first royal yacht had been launched two years earlier, owned and managed by the Royal Navy2.
- The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the UK was granted a warrant to wear the Red Ensign of HM Fleet in 18452.
- The club currently holds the warrant for its defaced ensign2.
- The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the UK is the second club of that name, succeeding a failed club on the Thames and preceding its namesake in Canada by nearly fifty years2.
- The RVYC Canada club gained its royal status in 1901 when the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary) visited Victoria and the club was granted the title ‘Royal’ by the Queen2.
- The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Canada is known for organizing the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, which is the premier long-distance sailing race in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia area.
- The Royal Canadian Navy has added greatly to Swiftsure’s success, and a Royal Canadian Navy ship establishes one end of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race’s start line1.
Royal Yacht Squadron
- The Royal Yacht Squadron is located in Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK15.
- The club was founded in 1815 as The Yacht Club by 42 gentlemen interested in sea yachting15.
- The original members decided to meet in London and in Cowes twice a year, to discuss yachting over dinner15.
- Membership was restricted to those who owned a vessel not under 10 tons15.
- The Earl of Yarborough, later first commodore of the club, welcomed the Prince Regent as a member in 181715.
- In 1820, when the Prince Regent became George IV, it was renamed the Royal Yacht Club15.
- The club started organizing racing as a principal feature of the annual regatta, which is now known as Cowes Week15.
- In 1833, William IV renamed the club The Royal Yacht Squadron15.
- The Royal Yacht Squadron is considered one of the most prestigious and exclusive yacht clubs in the world15.
- The club is funded by its members15.
- The Royal Yacht Squadron has reciprocal arrangements with other yacht clubs worldwide5.
- Its association with the Royal Navy began early and Nelson’s captain at Trafalgar, Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy, headed the list of naval members15.
- The spirit of invention led to yachts “of such celerity in sailing and beauty of construction” that they were of utility to the Royal Navy15.
- In 1851, the club’s commodore, visiting the Great Exhibition, issued a challenge for the squadron’s £100 Cup for a race around the island15.
- The New York City–based America, representing the New York Yacht Club, triumphed in this race, giving its name to one of the oldest and best-known trophies: the America’s Cup15.
- The Royal Yacht Squadron is considered one of the most prestigious and exclusive yacht clubs in the world15.
- The club is organized like any other club or organization with committees, chairman, directors, etc.15.
- The recent decision to add female members is part of a wave of similar moves by long-established British clubs3.
- The Royal Yacht Squadron can ask Royals to join, but they must be approved by the club’s membership committee4.
- The club is funded by its members16.
Two Royal Victoria Yacht Clubs, both with Royal designation,
One in Canada, one in the UK, both with a rich history and reputation.
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the UK was founded in 1844,
And it was granted ‘Royal’ status immediately, that’s for sure.
The club was formed by Prince Albert to give Queen Victoria a yacht club she could enter and granting royal status made it even better.
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Canada was founded in 1892, And it’s located at a Cows Ranch in Victoria, British Columbia, that’s true.
The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Canada is known for Swiftsure, the ocean sailing race. In the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia this is sailing’s showcase.
Both appreciate the Royal Yacht Squadron for traditions like port vs starboard at Cowes Week, And for sharing a passion for sailing over motoring that’s unique.
The Royal Yacht Squadron was founded in 1815,
And it’s one of the most prestigious yacht clubs that’s ever been.
It’s located in Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK,
And it’s known for its association with the Royal Navy.
The USA doesn’t have a Royal Yacht Club, that’s a fact,
But it’s appreciated for the America’s Cup, that’s a great impact.
Yacht clubs in the USA are prestigious and exclusive too,
And they also share a passion for sailing that’s tried and true.