Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club


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Brewin Dolphin Jersey Regatta 08


Patrons and Commodores
A Brief History of the Club
King Charles II - Yachtsman







1862 The Club had a President, 1970 - 1971 W F A Hamilton O.B.E.
  Gervais Le Gros in addition to 1972 - 1973 A Martin
  a Commodore 1974 - 1976 P P C McElwee
1862 - 1868 Francis Gautier de Ste Croix 1976 - 1978 W E Challinor
1869 - 1882 Lerrier Godfray 1978 - 1980 P P C McElwee
1883 - 1887 G F Carrington 1980 - 1982 J J Morel Orchard
1888 Capt. C R K Smith R.N. 1982 - 1983 B P Andrews
1889 - 1933 Sir William H Venables Vernon 1984 - 1985 A D Rosser
1934 - 1936 Capt. Charles Maingray Robin 1985 - 1987 D C Dale
1937 - 1939 T B F Davis 1987 - 1989 B C Amy
1940 - 1945 (German Occupation - no  1989 - 1991 N B Lucas
  officers) 1991 - 1993 J M Constantine
1946 - 1949 Lt. Col. C J M Riley M.C. 1993 - 1995 W D Harris
1950 - 1952 Edward Cock M.B.E. 1995 - 1997 R C B Waller
1953 - 1955 Lt-Comdr. Philip Le Marquand 1997 - 1999 M K Jackson
  R.N.V.R. 1999 - 2001 C P Cook
1956 Lt-Comdr. Denys P Richardson 2001 - 2002 V Huelin
  M.A.  R.N.V.R. 2002 - 2004 K E Jesson
1957 - 1959 Brig. J D R Fisher C.B.E. 2004 - 2006 G Winchester
1960 - 1962 St. J Birt  F.R.C.S. 2006 T Eggleston
1963 L P Stevens 2007 - K E Jesson
1964 - 1966 Douglas A Hall    
1967 R Radcliffe    
1968 R J Huges    
1969 D R Lane    
SENIOR FLAG OFFICERS 1981 - 1982 B D Lovell
1954 Cdr. L T Peyton-Jones  1982 - 1983 P A De C Swoffer
  R.N.(retd) 1983 - 1984 Dr. P S A Heyworth
1955 -1957 J S H Morgan M.C. 1984 - 1985 Brig. W M E White C.B.E.
1958 - 1959 R G Randall 1985 - 1986 J M Button
1960 -1962 Lt. Col. R O Symonds 1986 - 1988 Capt. F G Thatcher R.N.
1963 Capt. T W Brunton D.S.C. 1988 - 1989 D V E Ewart-White
  R.N.(retd) 1989 - 1992 J S L Majoribanks
1964 - 1966 R A D Foster 1992 - 1995 R A Perrot
1967 - 1968 C J D Renny 1995 - 1996 J P Lee
1969 - 1970 Lt. Col. F G C Macartney    
1971 - 1972 Lt. Cdr. J S Barnes R.N.    
1973 - 1974 P J H Morgan    
1975 - 1976 I W Lovell    
1977 - 1978 J R E BabbĂ©     
1979 - 1980 G R Nicole    
1980 - 1981 G M Dorey    
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The designation "Royal" was granted to the Jersey Yacht and Rowing Club in 1862 by her most gracious Majesty Queen Victoria. However, it has not been possible to ascertain exactly when the club was founded. Certainly in 1862 it became the Royal Jersey Yacht Club and in 1869, by royal sanction, it became the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club.

It would seem, from official records in London, that the Club is the sixth oldest yacht club to bear the designation "œRoyal".

In 1863 the Board of Admiralty issued a Warrant authorising the Club to wear the Blue Ensign with the distinctive marks of the Club thereon. This Warrant was superseded by a Warrant issued in 1894, which imposed certain restrictions similar to those in force today.

Both at the Coronation Naval Review of 1953 and the Silver Jubilee Review of 1977, Club members sailed to Spithead to be present at the ceremonies.

A burgee of the Royal Channel Island Yacht Club was the first yacht club burgee to reach the South Pole. An officer of the United States Navy was given one in the Caribbean and from there the burgee reached Antarctic explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs.

One most distinguished Commodore was Sir W. H. Venables Vernon. Bailiff of Jersey from 1899 to 1931. His yacht, the "œWyvern", was the last built in St Aubin.

The first woman member of the Club was Lillie Langtry (The Jersey Lily). She was elected in 1892 and became a celebrated figure in Victorian Society and one of the most talked about women of her day.

At least as far back as 1872 and until as recently as 1946, the Club maintained its headquarters at various hotels in St Helier. In 1946 the Club's headquarters were opened at Le Boulevard, St Aubin.

The Club's chief activity was originally rowing but from about the time it became a "œRoyal" club, rowing declined in favour of sailing. Eventually the rowing activities disappeared entirely and the offices of Captain of the Boats and that of Club Master were abolished in 1888.

The 1939-45 war years witnessed a complete hiatus in Club affairs. Mr. T. B. F. Davis, owner of the famous "œJ" class schooner-yacht "œWestward"' although absent from Jersey, was re-elected Commodore in 1939 but resigned immediately over some matters of club policy. He died during the war. No successor was elected before the German occupation of the islands. The last elected Rear Commodore also died about the same time. Of the pre-war flag officers only Sir Victor Carey, Bailiff of Guernsey, the Vice-Chairman in that island, survived the war to serve again in the same office. In 1940, when the German forces were completing their occupation of northern France, an appeal was made for Jersey yachtsmen and other owners of small sea-going craft to assist in evacuation from St Malo of allied military personnel. A naval party, landed from a British destroyer to demolish the lock gates, was taken off in one of the Club's yachts and returned to Britain through Jersey.

The German occupation authorities prohibited all boating and in 1940 commandeered, for a military establishment, the Grand Hotel, St Helier, in which the Clubroom and headquarters were situated. By the promptitude, initiative and personal exertions of a private member, Mr Tom Lee, the greater part of the older and more precious Club documents and records were removed to safe storage at the shortest possible notice. All other furnishings and effects were lost with the exception of the shaped and engraved doorplate.

In 1946, the St Aubin's Yacht Club was founded by residents of that district and many of them were also members of the "œRoyal". This new club secured clubroom accommodation in Le Boulevard, St Aubin, and shortly after combined with the "œRoyal" who took over their accommodation.

By this time dinghy racing was well established in the Island and both St Helier Yacht Club and the "œRoyal" had regular dinghy racing in St Aubin's Bay in addition to their traditional types of sea­going activities.

An annual Regatta is held normally in July with regular passage races to the adjacent French coast and neighbouring Channel Islands being organised throughout the season. Several multihull series are run in St Aubin's Bay and the club has hosted a race for 20ft Catamarans from St Lunaire.

Owing to the great natural advantages of harbour and marina facilities at St Peter Port as well as its more central location among the Islands compared to St Helier, far more yachts from outside the archipelago call at Guernsey and, in the 1950's a group of Guernsey members of the "œRoyal" formed a Guernsey Centre of the Club. To begin with meetings were held in the United Services Club, but in 1954 permanent quarters were established on the second floor of premises well situated on the harbour frontage of the town, which provided a good vantage point for seeing the yachts at anchor or moored in the harbour.

Similarly, all shipping movements are easily visible and all the larg­er of the Channel Islands as well as a portion of the French coastline are visible from the Clubroom windows. These present Club quarters were opened by the Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey on the 15th May. 1954.

Jersey and Guernsey each now have a Commodore. Vice Commodore and Rear Commodore. Under present rules, no member may hold the position of flag officer for more than two consecutive years. Formerly no such limitation existed and Sir W. H. Venables Vernon held the office in Jersey for 45 consecutive years.

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On the 17th April 1664, Charles Prince of Wales arrived in Jersey from the Scilly Isles. A writer on the Royal stay in the Channel Islands states that; "œduring the voyage from Scilly to Jersey, His Highness amused himself vastly with steering the frigate (the 160 ton Proud Black Eagle), He would remain for a couple of hours at a stretch on the helm and could with difficulty be persuaded to resign it. One of his first commands on coming to Jersey was that a barge should forthwith be built for him. She was a perfect model of a pinnace, of great length fore and aft; ele­gantly painted, and emblazoned with His Highness's armorials; the stem-sheets were also fitted up with soft cushions for the royal helmsman and his courtiers."

"œNever, after the arrival of his new toy, did the prince (who had taken up residence in Elizabeth Castle) condescend to cross the causeway either on horseback or on foot; but whenever he and his lords attended worship in the town church, or whenever they vis­ited the island for any other purposes His Highness went over in the barge."

"œThe entire control of a boat to a lad of sixteen, whether prince or commoner, is no doubt a source of delight."

St Aubin's Fort, in the bay, was greatly strengthened on the direct orders of Prince Charles during his visit to Jersey.

On the 17th September 1649, Charles, now King Charles II, accompanied by his brother, James, Duke of York, (later James II) returned to Jersey from France. Of the King's arrival, it is written that: "œ...the king, in high spirits the moment he grasped the tiller of the favourite craft in which he had so often buffeted the rippling waves of St Aubin's Bay, resolved to cross the Channel in her, being well accustomed to her trim, having an expert pilot on board, and finding that the wind and tide were in his favour.

In 1660, after the King's return from exile in Holland, the Dutch presented him with a sailing vessel of a type known to them as a "œjaght". The King used it frequently. His brother, James, Duke of York, had a similar craft built and the royal brothers would race their respective vessels against each other. It is the English cor­ruption of the original Dutch word "œjaght" that has given the English language the word "œyacht".

Because Charles II introduced yachting into England and because his first experience in this sport was gained around the shores of Jersey, it is appropriate that this note on him should be included in this handbook. It is equally appropriate that the place where the royal yachtsman first indulged in the sport of yachting should be the headquarters of a flourishing Royal Yacht Club.

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