Notable Dates

Port of Plymouth Royal Clarence Regatta Club was formed.

The Club was renamed The Royal Western Yacht Club.

The first Royal Warrant authorising a distinguishing ensign was granted. In the same year privileges were obtained for Members’ yachts visiting foreign ports, starting with France. In subsequent years privileges were obtained in places as far afield as St Petersburg, Capetown, Ceylon and South America.

The Club obtained lease of its first Clubhouse, adjacent to Millbay Docks.

The first Royal Warrant authorising the Blue Ensign of Her Majesty’s Fleet was granted.

A Squadron of yachts from the Club was present at Cherbourg for the review of the French Fleet by the President of the Republic, Prince Louis Napoleon.

The new Clubhouse on The Hoe was completed.

The Royal South Western Yacht Club was founded. They acquired the premises of the Public Baths for their Clubhouse.

The second Royal Warrant authorising the Blue Ensign of Her Majesty’s Fleet was granted.

The first Fastnet Race was sailed under the burgee of the Royal Western Yacht Club. There were seven starters and the winner was E G Martin, Rear Commodore of the RWYC sailing JOLIE BRISE. This was to be an annual event.

The second Fastnet Race was run by the newly formed Ocean Racing Club, later to become the Royal Ocean Racing Club.  Capt N G Clarke was a founder member of the RORC and also a member of the RWYC.  He arranged for the facilities of the RWYC to be put at the disposal of RORC for the finish of the race.  The RWYC continues to help with the finish of the race.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club decided to run the Fastnet Race every other year.

BRITANNIA and other famous J Class yachts raced under the RWYC burgee for the last time. For over 100 years the RWYC had run their annual Regatta of Plymouth.

The Clubhouse was destroyed by bombing. Thereafter, until the amalgamation, the Club was accommodated in temporary premises.

The first post-war Fastnet Race was sailed. There were 20 entries and the winner was MYTH OF MALHAM.

The RWYC arranged the finish of the RORCs Transatlantic Race from Newport, Rhode Island. This race was notable for the severity of the weather and the classic dual between SAMUEL PEPYS and COHOE.

The first Plymouth to Fowey Race was sailed for yachts and Service Boats. The race is now an annual event.

The first Plymouth to St Malo Race was sailed. It was organised in co-operation with the Britannia RN College, Dartmouth, and has been an annual event ever since.

The first St Malo to Plymouth Race was sailed. It was organised by the Societe Nautique de la Baie de St Malo and finished by the RWYC.

The first Singlehanded Transatlantic Race from Plymouth to New York was sailed. It was proposed by Lt Col H G Hasler RM, sponsored by The Observer and run by the RWYC. Five yachts took part and it was won by Francis Chichester (later Sir Francis) in GYPSY MOTH II.

The Royal Western and The Royal South Western Yacht Clubs agree to amalgamate.

Francis Chichester left from the RWYC starting line for New York in GYPSY MOTH II in an attempt to reach the Ambrose Light in 30 days. He actually took 34 days.

The second Singlehanded Transatlantic Race was sailed from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island. There were 14 starters and the winner was Eric Tabarly in PEN DUICK II.

HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the new Clubhouse. This was the previous building occupied by the RSWYC which had been extensively altered and renovated.

The first Two Handed Round Britain Race was sailed. Proposed by Lt Col Hasler, sponsored by The Observer and the Daily Express and run by the RWYC. There were 16 starters and the winner was Derek Kelsall in TORIA.

Francis Chichester started Round the World voyage from the Club line.

Sir Francis Chichester returned from his circumnavigation to land at the Club steps.

The RWYC received the first Crystal Trophy Race which was run by the RYA, sponsored by BP.  The prizes were presented by HRH Prince Philip in the Club.

Dr David Lewis returned to the RWYC from his three-year circumnavigation.

The third Singlehanded Transatlantic Race was sailed. There were 48 entries of whom 35 started, 18 finished.   The winner was Geoffrey Williams in SIR THOMAS LIPTON.  A severe storm in mid-Atlantic resulted in the loss or abandonment of seven yachts.

The second Two Handed Round Britain Race was won by Leslie Williams and Robin Knox-Johnston in OCEAN SPIRIT. Elapsed time 20 days, 21 hours. 25 started the race, 20 finished.

The fourth Singlehanded Transatlantic Race sponsored by The Observer was won by Alain Colas in PEN DUICK IV in 20 days, 13 hours. 55 started the race, 40 finished.

The third Two Handed Round Britain Race was won by Robin Knox-Johnston and Gerald Boxall in BRITISH OXYGEN. Elapsed time 18 days, 4 hours. 61 started the Race, 39 finished.

The Club was host to the ¾ ton World Championships.
Eric Tabarly in PEN DUICK VI achieved his second win in the fifth OSTAR.

The Club celebrated its 150th Anniversary with a Transatlantic Race from Manchester, Massachusetts, to Plymouth followed by a programme of social events and culminating in a race and cruise in company to Cornish ports and St Malo.

The third and fourth sailing courses for Blind and Visually handicapped yachtsmen were held in Plymouth based at the Royal Western Yacht Club.

The Parmelia Race to Western Australia, organised by the RORC, RWYC, Royal Cape Yacht Club and the Royal Perth Yacht Club started from Plymouth. The Race, which was a pursuit race, was in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Western Australia. There were 26 starters.

The club was much involved with the disastrous Fastnet Race in which 5 yachts were sunk with the loss of 15 lives.

The sixth OSTAR was oversubscribed and was won in a record time of just under 18 days by Philip Weld.

Following the popularity of the 1980 OSTAR, a new race was instituted, this time a Two Handed Transatlantic Race in which 76 yachts took part and the winners were Chay Blyth and Robert James in BRITTANY FERRIES GB in 14 ½ days.

The Round Britain Race, sponsored by Binatone Ltd, was won by Rob and Naomi James in the trimaran COLT CARS GB in 16 days.

The Club instituted a new long distance two-handed race, this time to Vilamoura, in southern Portugal, and back. The race was won by Jeff Houlgrave and Andrew Hall in COLT CARS GB, but the final leg was marred by storm force winds, which sank two yachts with the loss of one crew member.

The seventh OSTAR was won by Yvon Fauconnier after he was awarded a time allowance for standing by another competitor. The first to finish was Phillipe Poupon in FLEURY MICHON in 16 ½ days.

A new race for fully manned yachts was added to the Club’s normal programme, this time to Santander. It was won by Aubrey Long in YELLOW BIRD.

The Round Britain Race sponsored by the City of Plymouth was won by Tony Bullimore and Nigel Irens in their trimaran APRICOT, in 9 days 7½ hours.

The withdrawal of the Observer sponsorship allowed Carlsberg to step in to back the second Two Handed Transatlantic, with 55 starters. Won by Loic Caradec and Oliver Despaigne in ROYALE in 13 days and 6 ½ hours.

The Club also instituted a new race from Plymouth to San Sebastian on the North Coast of Spain. There were 47 finishers in fully crewed yachts.

A new departure of the Club instructed over 60 yachts to a 3-Legged Race cruise over 7 days visiting Lezardrieux and St Peter Port. Sponsored by the local firm of Renwicks Audi, and supported by the City.

The eighth Singlehanded Transatlantic Race sponsored by Carlsberg attracted 106 entries with 72 finishers led by Phillipe Poupon in the trimaran FLEURY MICHON.

Competitors’ yachts were limited to 60’ LOA – a new record of 10 days 9 ½ hours was set.

The second Armada Cup Race from San Sebastian to Plymouth finished to coincide with the Armada 400 Anniversary.

The Club moved from West Hoe premises to the new Queen Anne’s Battery Marina, and Watersports complex. HRH The Princess Royal opened the new Clubhouse on 24 May and was pleased to accept Honorary Life Membership.

The second Renwicks Audi Three-Legged Race was held, calling at Treguier and St Malo with 45 entries.

The Round Britain Race sponsored by the Observer was won by Francois Boucher and Loic Lingois in SAAB TURBO, in the record time of 7 days and 7½ hours.

The third Two Handed Transatlantic was won by Jean Maurel in ELF AQUITAINE in 10 days 23 hours and 15 minutes. There were 37 starters.

The third Armada Cup Race from Plymouth to San Sebastian was held. Both before and after the race, twinning ceremonies took place with the Real Club Nautico de San Sebastian and were attended by representatives of both cities. The race was very successful but marred by the tragic loss overboard of a crew member during a squall.

The Club hosted the National Sigma and J24 Championships, the European Micro Multihull Championships and the National Shrimper Championship.

The ninth Singlehanded Transatlantic Race sponsored by EUROPE 1 attracted 61 entrees with 55 finishers led by Loick Peyron in the 60ft trimaran FUJICOLOR in a time of 11 days and 1 ½ hours.

The Two Handed Round Britain and Ireland Race sponsored by the Teeside Development Corporation was won by LAKOTA, a 60ft trimaran in 7 days and 12 hours, co-skippered by Steve Fossett and David Scully.

The Club also hosted a qualifying round of the RYA Matchracing Championship, the Shrimpers and the Yachting World Dayboat National Championship.

The Two Handed Transatlantic Race sponsored by the Plymouth Development Corporation was won by PRIMAGAZ in a record time of 9 days, 9 hours, co-skippered by Laurent Bourgnon and Cam Lewis.

The Club hosted the National Sigma Championships won by M S H  Heseltine, Rear Commodore Sailing.

The tenth Singlehanded Transatlantic Race sponsored by Europe 1 attracted 58 entries with 42 finishers won once again by Loick Peyron in the 60ft trimaran FUJICOLOR in a time of 10 days 10 hours.

1997 The Club hosted The National Ballad and J24 Championships.

1998 The Two Handed Round Britain and Ireland Race was won by the 40ft trimaran FPC GREENAWAY in 8 days, 15 hours, co-skippered by Richard Tolkein and Robert Wingate.

The Club also hosted the YW Dayboat National Championships and organised inaugural race from Plymouth to Gijon.

The Club hosted the National Ballad, the National Squib and J80 European Championships.

The eleventh Singlehanded Transatlantic Race was won by Francis Joyon in EURE ET LOIR.

The Club hosted the finish of the Fastnet Race and the J24 Autumn Cup.

The Two Handed Round Britain & Ireland Race was won by MOLLYMAWK.  The Club also hosted the J80 National Championship.

The Club hosted the Ballad and Prima National Championships.

The Club hosted the Barratt J24 National Championships.

The Club was incorporated as a Limited Company.

The twelfth Singlehanded Transatlantic Race renamed the ‘Original’ (OSTAR) sponsored by Faraday Mill was won by COTONELLA skippered by Franco Mazoli in a time of 17 days 21 hours.  Club member Mervyn Wheatley won the IRC Class in TAMARIND.  The Club also hosted the Barratt J80 National Championships.

The Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Two Handed Race was won by the US trimaran ALACRITY in 18 days 22 hours co-skippered by Rex Conn and Etienne Giroire..

The Club organised the first UK Fastnet two handed race for the Mini 6.50 class. The Club also hosted the J-Cup.