Today is Saturday 30th May
Tide - 00:00 (0.0M)

One Hundred Years Of Amateur Yachting

RCYC celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 1971, and to mark this this auspicious event, a book recounting the history of the first 100 years was published. It became widely distributed within yachting circles, and has subsequently gone on to become a collectors' item, with copies regularly turning up for auction. It is now regarded as the authoritative history of RCYC, and as such, it forms the backbone of this history section. Little has been changed in the process of bringing it to a 21st Century audience - but where appropriate, a more contemporary style of presentation and punctuation has been adopted.

It was well received and reviewed widely.

Original Chapters

  • The first 42 years - 1872 to 1914 by Robert Melville
  • The East Coast One Design Class by Bill Davies
  • Between The Wars - 1919 -1940 by Booth Maxwell
  • The Corinthian Otters by Jo Heriot
  • The 1934 America‚Äôs Cup Amateur Crew by Nigel Warrington Smyth
  • The Corinthian and the Dinghy Classes by Beecher Moore
  • A New Clubhouse by Cyril Goodman
  • Trophies of the RCYC by Jerry Salmon
  • Trek to the South, Thorney Island by Francis Elkin
  • Trek to the South, Cowes by Nigel Warrington Smyth and others
  • The Next 31 years - 1940 - 1971 by John Chamier
  • The Next 50 Years by Kit Hobday

Foreword by R.K. Melville, Commodore, 1971

A Centenary provides a suitable opportunity for an organisation to take a fresh look at itself - what it is doing and what its objectives are.

This book is an account (none of the contributors professes him or herself a historian) of amateur yachting as conceived in 1872 and typified by the Corinthian Yacht Club. The Club was formed partly to promote racing in smaller boats and partly as a reaction against the professionalism of those times. Just now it seems that a new kind of professionalism is emerging and many in pursuit of today's Olympic honours might not qualify under the rules of Corinth.

As one reads through the stories one can discern that the fortunes of the Club have reflected the characters of certain dominant personalities whom fate (and the members) have placed at the helm during critical times. There was the decision to cut loose from Erith and transfer to Port Victoria and shortly afterwards open a large branch club house at Burnham. Later the influential Eastern Yacht Club of England was absorbed. Between the wars the present club house at Burnham was built - a unique undertaking in the history of any yacht club. Then the Trek to the South-Thorney, the one that failed ; Cowes, the one that succeeded. These were some of the acts of men of forethought and vigour who understood and were equal to demands of the hour and assured the Club of its position among the leaders. We owe much to men like Telford Field (Vice-Commodore in 1872 and Commodore until 1884); T.G.F. Winser (Secretary 1884-1919) ; Fred Last, a Flag Officer from 1901-1926. From the early 30s until his death in 1962 F.G. (Tiny) Mitchell simply dominated the Club which today continues both at Burnham and Cowes to bear the stamp of his personality, and to benefit from the many far-sighted decisions taken under his leadership.

Here, too, would be an appropriate moment to mention his wife "Blackie" who is still alive with us as this foreword is written. She, like her husband, had a profound effect on the Corinthian.

We decided to record the first hundred years because this is what centenaries are for. It was unthinkable that the authentic note would be struck by a non-member could one be found to do it and at a fee we could afford. So it was resolved to make this a combined effort of a team of members each of whom has contributed an essay on a particular topic.

We were fortunate to obtain the services of John Chamier as Editor, it was a piece of luck to find one of Britain's foremost writers on yachting so sympathetic to the project from the outset.

One thing is certain - all the contributors have learned much from their researches and have probably had a great deal of fun at the same time however they may protest otherwise! We hope that readers will get as much enjoyment from the book as we did in compiling it.