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Home / About Us / Club History

Club History

The club was founded on October 4, 1910 at a meeting of a group of enthusiastic gentlemen from the South of the Island, in the Station Hotel, Port St Mary. Meetings and social events were held in various local hostelries. The first yacht race was held 11th June 1911 from Castletown to Port St Mary and back. Women were permitted to become members in 1912. By December 1913 the club was affiliated to the YRA (now RYA).

Between 1914 and 1918 club affairs were put on hold. In the aftermath of WW1 the club re-formed in late 1919, centred on the Fort Anne Hotel in Douglas. However, there was little enthusiasm at this depressing time and the club went into hibernation in 1927.

It wasn't until October 28, 1946, in the wake of another World War, that four members of the old club convened a meeting at the Bay View Hotel in Port St Mary. There had been another sailing club in the interim the Port St Mary YC - which was absorbed into the new IOMYC as most of the new committee had been members of both clubs anyway.

In 1947, with over 100 members, the club now wanted its own premises and a lease was obtained on part of the Compton Buildings (now demolished) at the top of PSM inner harbour.

The 1950s quest to purchase a suitable HQ ended when The Anchorage, a substantial but dilapidated five-storey property on the High Street, was secured in 1958. A huge amount of work was put in and the new clubhouse (and bar) officially opened on July 31, 1959. Membership increased to 300 by 1960, the club's Jubilee year, and a lease was taken on Gawne's Yard in Lime Street for winter boat storage. This yard was bought outright in 1969.

The continuous spending to keep The Anchorage in reasonable order eventually persuaded most members that a new clubhouse, built on the recently acquired boatyard site, was the best option. Building began in 1974 and the new club HQ was opened on May 31, 1975.

In 1978 membership peaked at 650. The premises were extended during the winter of 1980/81 to the present footprint. Internal modifications have been made since. In recent times the club has had an average of just under 400 members.

Early sailing records are patchy. Yachts were in two classes: 21'-24' and 18'-21'. Many members were residents of the Wirral and Merseyside. Fifty yachts were listed 1910 to 1914 but only seven appear to have raced.

Between WW1 and WW2 racing seemed to revolve around the 28' class and the 18' class. After 1946, the old "up to 18 foot" class evolved into the "Ace Class" - the wooden National 18' designed by Uffa Fox in 1938. The Aces dominated club racing - Fourteen of these were raced regularly from 1950 - but a handicap class for the many smaller dinghies developed in the 1960s.

Races had always been started from the end of the inner harbour, which was great for spectators but demand for proper windward starts led to the club buying a suitable committee boat in 1967, now affectionately known as the "Yellow Peril". Support for other dinghy classes has varied over the years and since 1982 handicap racing has prevailed.

Since the 1960s, club cruiser racing has had phases of high support, peaking in the 1980s. Offshore races were a regular feature at that time sailing to Portpatrick, Howth, Carlingford, Strangford, Skerries and the like.

Through the 1950s to 1980s the club occasionally hosted finishes and starts for visiting offshore races to and from UK and Irish ports.

The National 18' Class championship was hosted here nine times, first in 1969 and most recently in 2010, when the championship winner was local boat 18/303 "Crossfire". Other events hosted over the decades include Folk-boat Rallies, Ruffian 23 and E-Boat championships and probably the largest single event was the Tall Ships Race in 1979, coinciding with the Manx Millennium.

Club racing now revolves around a handicap mixed dinghy fleet sailing and keelboats in Bay ny Carrickey, with the occasional race to Castletown and round the Calf when the weather suits. Cruises in company are also arranged for offshore capable yachts two or three times ay season.

Club members regularly cruise their yachts as far as Brittany to the south and Shetland to the north, the Western Isles being a particular favourite for many.

A feature in recent years is the increase in motor boating and RIBs. The club now arranges cruises-in-company and regular trips off-island for power craft.

The club became a recognised RYA Training centre soon after its move to the present site and runs a wide range of courses for all ages and abilities. The training section is very active year round but especially April to July and absorbs a lot of voluntary effort from members and parents.

The racing junior sailors produced by the training section have, in recent times, very honourably represented the club, the island and some cases within GB teams sailing their respective classes at World, European and National regattas.

The club has generally prospered since 1946 through the careful management by many officers, directors and volunteers, adapting to changes in society and within the sport.

Last updated 17:51 on 24 April 2024

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