A delightful day celebrating 100 years of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club

A delightful day of vintage vehicles and classic boats. 

Celebrating 100 years of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. 

Vintage yacht dressed in front of the Royal Lymington Yacht ClubFor any organisation, celebrating a centenary is quite something. When it is a yacht club, started as an elite few, that is now one of the most highly respected and successful clubs in the country, then a centenary is an opportunity to celebrate both the past, today and also the future. For nearly 40 years RLymYC has been ahead of its time - championing sailing for all with its highly popular Wednesday Junior Sailing sessions, aimed at encouraging young people who might otherwise not have the opportunity to learn valuable life skills out on the water. 

Much has changed over one hundred years - yet also so little. Whether 1922 or 2022, there is still "nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

And so on Saturday 7th May the Royal Lymington welcomed over 800 people to a very special Vintage and Classics Exhibition. An open event to showcase a specially selected collection of privately-owned vintage boats - and also classic cars and motorcycles, demonstrating how things have evolved over the past one hundred years. The event was free for all the community to attend, and by the number of enthusiasts and interested locals arriving in droves throughout the day, this was much appreciated.

"Our fascinating display of vintage cars and motorbikes alongside beautiful classic yachts and dinghies, many with interesting histories, attracted a huge amount of interest", said Stephen Crates, Vice Commodore of the Club. "Many thanks to our members and friends who kindly allowed us to include their classic as an exhibit in our collection and to all who helped to organise the day. It was great to open the Club up to the public for such a unique event. The feedback from visitors was fantastic.”

An exhibition of boating over 100 years

The unique exhibition included classic vessels on the pontoon and vintage dinghies next to the Club, many of which were designed and built locally in Lymington, such as the 1924 35ft West One Design yacht, Suvretta, that was one of five produced by Berthon to establish a class at the Yacht Club.

Vintage boats and dinghies at Royal Lymington Yacht Club's vintage and classics dayAlso fully dressed for the occasion and on display was the 1924 31ft Alfred Westmacott cutter Windflower, 1932 21ft Alfred Westmacott X One-Design Zest, 1938 22ft classic Rossiter Heron cruiser Nancy, 1952 25ft classic Folkboat Genifrède, 1964 15ft Sea Urchin runabout Kandie, 1964 Seafarer 21 small cabin launch Chinook and 1972 38ft modern Old Gaffer ketch 2000 Alice III.

On display were two original collapsible Berthon lifeboats, a design pioneered in 1854 by the Reverend E. L. Berthon that would eventually help to normalise ships carrying adequate safety boats.

Visitors could view and place bids on an original wooden Firefly which was owned by a member of the Club whose widow gave it to a young member to restore as part of his Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. The dinghy was finally sold for £1,535 with all proceeds given to the charity Médecins Sans Frontières.

The Club was founded by Scow racers and visitors had the opportunity to see a fantastic line up of prams including the famous 11-foot pram and a wooden Lymington River Scow. Also included in the display of vintage boats was a wooden Flying Dutchman, a wooden Finn, a 1934 14ft International built by Uffa Fox and a classic 18ft wooden rowing skiff.

An impressive display of vintage cars and motorbikes

Classic Cars at Royal Lymington Yacht ClubA number of vintage cars and motorbikes were displayed in front of Royal Lymington Yacht Club, the oldest of which were the fascinating 1915 GN belt-drive cyclecar and the 1921 GN chain drive "Vitesse".

It was interesting to see how quickly technology advanced from these early cars to the 1932 Ford Indianapolis Sprint Car and then onwards to the 1953 MG, 1969 E-Type Jaguar 4.2 litre and 1973 4/4 Morgan. In total fifteen privately-owned classic cars were displayed and much appreciated by enthusiasts.

Fun at RLymYC Vintage and Classic Exhibition DayThe display of seven vintage motorcycles included a 1921 Sunbeam 500cc and a 1932 Norton 500cc which was fascinating to compare with the 1957 Norton 600cc Dominator.

Visitors were able to enjoy "vintage tuck shop" refreshments in the Club's restaurant and out on the sun terrace, from where they could enjoy also a birds-eye view of the dinghies and yachts on display. They were also able to find out about the history of the Club and learn about Wednesday Junior Sailing, for which the season is now underway - find out more and register at rlymyc.org.uk/wjs

Without a doubt, the Royal Lymington Yacht Club is a superb organisation with something for all ages and all abilities. The club welcomes new members all year round - if you missed this opportunity to visit and would like to find out more about the club, contact Maria Shannon on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01590 672677.

Find out more about Royal Lymington Yacht Club

TMB, May 2022


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