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Royal Lymington Yacht Club to celebrate 100th anniversary with year of events

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NEW Year’s Day will mark the 100th birthday of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club which is preparing celebrations throughout 2022 to mark the milestone.

Formed initially as the Lymington River Sailing Club, it boasts of producing Olympic gold-winning sailors, including Sir Ben Ainslie, Pippa Wilson and Sarah Gosling, and world match-racing champion Ian Williams.

“The club has come a long way in its 100 years, from a somewhat elitist organisation to one which nowadays embraces everyone active on the water,” a spokesperson said.

Royal Lymington Yacht Club celebrates its 100th birthday in 2022
Royal Lymington Yacht Club celebrates its 100th birthday in 2022

“As the website says, we are the home of yachting, dinghy sailing and motorboating.”

The club came together in the aftermath of the First World War which had frustrated all previous attempts to bring together local sailors.

Members of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes who lived in Lymington decided they wanted their own club on their home river.

Major Cyril Potter and his friends bought the disused coastguard boathouse – which remains the club’s HQ today, having undergone numerous expansions and improvements.

The post-war dinghy shed
The post-war dinghy shed

The royal status was bestowed in 1938 – which complemented royal patronage granted in 1925. The current patron is HRH the Princess Royal.

At the outset, members sailed everything from small dinghies to the biggest cruising and racing yachts, with many initially seeking the advice and skills of Dan Bran, a Lymington boat-building legend who had his shed near the seawater baths.

From Dan came the Lymington Pram which, together with the smaller Lymington Scow, were seen on the river for many years. Nowadays, the Lymington Scow is raced on the river in large numbers together with many modern dinghies.

XOD dayboats also continue to be raced, while Nordic Folkboats, J80s and cruiser racers contribute to a thriving keelboat racing scene.

The old boat house
The old boat house

But it is the junior sailing programme which is regarded by many at the club as its “jewel in the crown”.

Wednesday junior sailing began over 30 years ago as a community project and continues to be as popular as ever.

Its aim is to teach youngsters in a fun and engaging way everything from tying knots to sailing small dinghies.

New members are welcome and the club is hosting an open day on 26th March. Visit www.rlymyc.org.uk

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