Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Celebrates 175 Years

November 14, 2019 | 2 Comments

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club — which was established on November 1, 1844 –  recently celebrated its 175th anniversary, and the center of the celebration is the launch of a new scholarship fund which, in addition to existing bursaries, will make year-round sailing more accessible to young sailors.

A spokesperson said, “The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, established November 1, 1844, is one of the oldest Royal Clubs in the world and holds some of the richest maritime history of the Atlantic.

“The Club’s Patron Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited Bermuda in 1994 to help celebrate the 150th Anniversary, however, on its 175th Anniversary, it is the development of the club, its membership and its impact on Bermuda’s future generations that is being celebrated.

“From the introduction of a world-class and inclusive youth sailing programme to building a new marina and supporting the 35th America’s Cup, the RBYC has seen a tremendous amount of change over the last 25 years.

Bird’s-eye view of the extended marina

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Nov 2019 (1)

“In particular, the RBYC Sailing Academy has been one of the biggest changes. Developed from the original WaterWise programme, it became Bermuda’s first Royal Yachting Association [RYA] accredited Training Centre, with students receiving internationally recognised certifications upon completion. These accreditations allow its elite sailors more options for entering the international circuit.

“The more structured programme has seen tremendous results with Bermuda’s junior sailors and allowed for further outreach across the island, including working with both public and private schools.

View of the back of the club before renovations:

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Nov 2019 (2)

“Leading up to the anniversary, the Club has launched a new scholarship fund which, in addition to existing bursaries, will make year-round sailing more accessible to young sailors. The scholarship, which was championed by sailing instructor Geovanni Hayward aims to make sailing a more affordable year-round activity.

“Each term up to 15 students will receive a 50% bursary for any of the RBYC programmes, which include sailing lessons, powerboat training and first-aid training. The fund, accessible to every resident child between the ages of 8 and 18, is based on merit and financial need along with a recommendation of a sailing instructor and the Next Generation Fund Selection Committee.”

Nathan Bailey, RBYC Sailing Director commented, “Children who are exposed to sailing at a young age learn self-confidence, spatial awareness, agility, independence, decision-making skills, responsibility and discipline.

“All skills acquired can be very helpful in a child’s development leading to better concentration and can help overall academic success. Of course, one of our favourite things about youth sailing is the benefits of being outside in the fresh air, meeting new friends and spending some time away from digital and electronic devices.”

Before the extended Marina was built:

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A spokesperson said, “In the sailing community, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is best-known for International events such as the Gold Cup and the biennial Newport Bermuda Race, which attract world-class sailors and thousands of visitors to the island.

“The Newport Bermuda Race attracts around 200 boats, is one of the most prestigious and classic International offshore races in the world and is on the bucket list of many sailors, both amateur and professional.

“The King Edward VII Gold Cup match racing event, currently sponsored by Argo Group, dates to 1937 and has been instrumental in the development of professional match racing since 1988.

“The list of winners of the trophy reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of yachting with the most successful competitor being seven-time winner Sir Russell Coutts who was largely responsible for bringing the 35th edition of the America’s Cup to Bermuda in 2017.

The Club’s Patron Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited Bermuda in 1994 to help celebrate the 150th anniversary:

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Nov 2019 (4)

Commodore of RBYC, Jonathan Corless, says “Throughout the Club’s history but particularly more recently, there have been drastic changes to the styles of sailing, the boats, equipment and racing. It is important for us as a leading club to continue to recognise that history while continuing to position ourselves to meet these challenges and develop what the club has to offer both on and off the water.

“We keep old traditions alive by continuing to participate in traditional areas such as Bermuda Fitted Dinghy racing but we are also looking closely at the future of the Club and have recently made huge investments in new boats and to the infrastructure of the club to put us on a great course for the future.”

“This Club, along with many others, has gone through a shift demographically. We are now seeing a balanced mix of male and female sailors in our club. The number of elite female sailors has increased substantially and within the past 25 years, we have also had two female commodores. Our quest, as it has been since the Club’s inception, is to foster the sport of sailing and make it accessible to people from all walks of life and communities.”

View of the back deck before the covered patio was added:

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Nov 2019 (5)

“Since the 150th anniversary, the RBYC premises have been renovated and refurbished to include a covered outdoor patio and bar area and an extended marina. The patio area is popular for events and members enjoy sitting outside for lunch service and other events.

“The marina, which previously could hold around 20 boats, can now accommodate 140 boats and allows the club to host more international events at a larger scale, such as regattas and annual fishing tournaments.

“A celebration to mark the anniversary will take place at the RBYC on Sunday, November 17th. Invited dignitaries, guests and members will enjoy a sail past, speeches and a brunch overlooking the club’s marina.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. IPFreely says:

    Remember to wear your shoes!

  2. The enemy says:

    Don’t forget to invite Zane DeSilva and David Burt.

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