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Welcome.............................................................. 05 History................................................................. 07 The Club Structure & Management Team........... 13 Membership & How to Become a Member......... 15 Sailing Activities.................................................. 17 Cruising................................................................ 19 Racing.................................................................. 21 Rallies.................................................................. 23 Club Trophies....................................................... 25 Social Calendar & Other Activities...................... 29

Clubhouse Facilities............................................. 31 Members’ Bar and Riverside Bar......................... 33 Club Moorings, Pontoons & Club Launches....... 35 Foreshore Facilities.............................................. 37 Restaurant Service at the RAFYC....................... 39 Holding a Function at the RAFYC...................... 41 RAFYC for Training & Corporate Events........... 45 Menu Options & Booking Details....................... 47 Contact & Find Us............................................... 50

0870 7707765 • •

The RAF Yacht Club and Pinnacle Publishing wish to thank the businesses who appear in this publication for their support and wish them every success in deriving business from its circulation. The contents of this book are believed to be correct at the time of printing, nevertheless, we can not endorse and readers should not rely solely upon the accuracy of any statements or claims contained herein without prior consultation within the service provider.

R.A.F. Yacht Club



Welcome to probably the friendliest yacht club on the South Coast! That’s what we are told by our visitors, time and time again. The Royal Air Force Yacht Club is a thriving club with a varied membership of almost 1,000 members from all walks of life, some of whom have been in the forces and some working in civilian life. We have a wide range of interests in boating from cruising locally to around the world, from racing around the cans to across the Atlantic.

The club is proud of its RAF heritage which brings a special ethos to the club built upon the history and achievements of our predecessors. We sustain a unique culture and an informality which keeps the club a friendly place to meet new friends and enjoy their company in special surroundings.

Our club provides a superb base for your sailing activities with easy access to the Hamble and the Solent’s many varied ports and harbours as well as to the Channel for those wishing to venture further afield. On land we have an active social life with a wide range of events held throughout the year from casual summer get-togethers to more formal black tie evenings. R.A.F. Yacht Club




R.A.F. Yacht Club


Situated at the centre of British sailing and on the banks of the River Hamble lies Riverside House, the home of the Royal Air Force Yacht Club. This flourishing, independent fraternity of sailors did not just come about by chance; the story of its conception and progress is worth telling, because there was no silver spoon in the mouth of this struggling infant in 1932. Situated at the centre of British sailing and on the banks of the River Hamble lies Riverside House, the home of the Royal

Air Force Yacht Club. This flourishing, independent fraternity of sailors did not just come about by chance; the story of its

conception and progress is worth telling, because there was no silver spoon in the mouth of this struggling infant in 1932.

Calshot, situated at the entrance to Southampton Water, was

an RAF Flying Boat Unit in the early 1930s. The Saro Cloud

amphibian aircraft was based there to train pilots destined for

various operational seaplane squadrons (this was the period when aircraft such as the Supermarine S6B, world speed record holder

and Schneider Trophy winner, raced across the Solent skies). The officers of RAF Calshot sailed a few National 14 dinghies and some Solent-based yacht owners had moorings on Ower Creek. This was a loose gathering of enthusiastic sailors, the embryo of our club today. The Commander-In-Chief, Coastal Command was based at Lee on Solent; he agreed to formalise the sailing group, and the title Royal Air Force Yacht Club was granted. The annual subscription was set at £1 and a room in Calshot Castle was used as the Headquarters. Subsequently, two 60’ wooden huts on the foreshore were acquired for the club, and R.A.F. Yacht Club


History these acted as a kitchen, bar, store, lounge and dormitory. The club and members’ yachts lay on their moorings in the creek, and dinghies were ‘parked’ on a flying boat slipway. Although money was short and boats few, these were happy carefree days when the sun always seemed to shine. However, there was a need to increase membership, and the very remoteness of Calshot damaged interest in the club. Moreover, more pressing matters were looming and, in September 1939, the RAFYC found itself in a state of hibernation, very aware that it might never wake up. After the war, in 1947 at the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly, the few original surviving members met, and Air Marshal Sir Arthur Conningham was elected Commodore. The Air Ministry presented him with the contents of the ‘Wings Club’, which had been established for wartime airmen visiting London. The furniture was moved to the two huts on the foreshore at Calshot. The club was ‘in business’ once again, and one of the first tasks was to bring back the ‘Windfall’ yachts from Germany; these prizes of war had been built, on Hitler’s orders, for the amusement of the Luftwaffe. The whole fleet was sailed back to the UK by the three services with the RAFYC having responsibility for the RAF allocation to Calshot. Eventually, these beautiful craft were distributed throughout the Services. During the next few years, little thought was given to development, and membership was static until Group Captain E F Haylock (Retd), the editor of ‘Yachting World’, became Commodore in 1951. He persuaded the Committee that the club would always struggle at Calshot and would need to move to a more accessible location to succeed. Many schemes were mooted but, by chance, the Commodore heard that Riverside House had been purchased by Port Hamble to enable it to increase its foreshore holdings.

The 100-year-old building stood in three acres of ground, stretching down to the river. It was empty, in a bad state of repair and needed much attention. An approach was made to the Directors of Port Hamble who were prepared to sell for £20,000. However, Group Captain Haylock was the essence of persuasion and he reached agreement to buy the whole property for £6,000, reckoning an extra £2,000 would be needed to make the building habitable. In the event, more money than that would be required, but that is another story. On the 10th of May 1952, Sir John Slessor opened the new clubhouse amid a fanfare from the Central Band of the RAF. Since the 1950s Riverside House has continued to be developed for the benefit of the membership which between the 1950s and the 1970s has as a result of the peace dividend, expanded beyond the officers and men of the Royal Air Force to welcome in a diversity of members, all sharing an active interest in yachting. The club membership continues to thrive and during the 1990’s the efforts of the Commodore and his team sought approval from the membership to enter into an agreement with MDL and Berkeley Homes who collectively wished to purchase some of the club’s land. Using some of the income the club has funded and invested in considerable developments of both the foreshore and the impressive facilities in the extension to the building which supports the club as you see it today. The club has a strong sense of its origins and is justifiably proud of its culture, the club history and the members who sacrificed and contributed so much, to its survival and its development. It is their efforts which have helped make the RAFYC the thriving club which our members enjoy today.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


The Club Structure & Management Team

The Admiral The Admiral is an honorary post in recognition

Rear Commodore Sailing is responsible for all water-based

Flag Officers The Flag Officers are volunteers who oversee

Honorary Secretary is responsible for operating the club in

Commodore is the chairman of the board and responsible for

Honorary Treasurer is responsible for the financial

of a record of many years of support to the club.

the operational running of the club, they are elected annually at the club’s AGM in October. the direction of the club as well as acting as a representative of the club to other organisations.

Vice Commodore is the Chief executive officer responsible for staff management, marketing and finance.

Rear Commodore Hospitality is responsible for all

shore-based activities and acts on behalf of the board to lead the House Committee and events committee.

Rear Commodore Premises looks after the fabric and function of the Clubhouse and environs

activities including the club rallies, launches and racing activities. line with the club rules and managing any amendments in the policies of the club. management of the club.

The Board The board is comprised of up to eight

non-executive directors who ensure that the club operates for the benefit of the members, these directors normally take a lead in a number of club activities and sit on the standing committees. The board is re-elected annually at the club AGM.

Standing Committees There are a number of standing

committees within the club that voluntarily give up their time to support and develop activities on behalf of the membership. These committees are House, Sailing and Finance. The club also has a Membership Committee and an Events Committee. R.A.F. Yacht Club




R.A.F. Yacht Club

Membership & How to Become a Member

The club offers membership based on either single or family membership and also offers variations on the membership. The club offers membership based on either single or family membership and also offers variations on the membership.

Inport Members who either live within a 75-mile radius of the club or have a boat located on the South Coast.

Outport Membership for those members living in the UK but outside the limits described above.

Overseas Membership for those members living outside

the UK for more than six month of the year with a permanent address overseas.

Under 25 Membership is also available at a significantly reduced rate.

For all classes of membership above, we offer Temporary Membership for one year for those members who do not yet have a proposer or seconder, so that they can continue to enjoy the facilities and benefits of the club, while they build friendships necessary to gain a proposer and seconder, alternatively if applicants have known other members for more than six months, they can apply as for Full Membership immediately. Membership fees are normally published on the club website and are subject to review from time to time. A joining fee is normally paid on transition from Temporary to Full membership.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Sailing Activities

The club as a base for the Solent and beyond The Hamble provides an excellent central location for many delightful destinations. The club provides a launch service

for members that runs at weekends and Bank Holidays and for other times there is easy access to a slip way for tender

launching. The club has also invested in two club tenders for members’ free temporary use.

Whatever facet of sailing interests you, the Royal Air Force

Yacht Club, with its large and diverse membership, is able to cater for it.

We are proud to have been recognised as a global cruising club and having led the way in that sphere with our Trade Winds Rallies in the 1990s. We have members situated in various places abroad. Cruising remains our main activity.

For our younger family members we can offer dinghy training through our affiliation with the Hamble River Sailing Club with the Flagstaff trust in concert with our loan of Pico dinghies to the HRSC. The club has an active racing programme and is affiliated to the Southampton Water Sailing Association, a group comprising several different local yacht clubs which affords even greater competition in both dinghy and cruiser racing. Races include evening round the cans in Southampton water and longer weekend races. The social side of sailing is what attracts many to our great pastime and we have a well-supported rally programme throughout the year that takes in a variety of destinations both close to home and further afield. R.A.F. Yacht Club



RAFYC members can be found sailing in many parts of the world. Whether your interest is cruising locally or further afield we have a wide range of experiences to share with you. RAFYC members have been involved in the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), in sailing around the world, the Mediterranean and the oceans of the world. In fact the very first round the world cruise in company was organised by members of the club. In the early 1990s Trade Winds Cruising Rallies Ltd, the brainchild of club member Malcolm McLaren, was established as a club subsidiary to promote global cruising at the club level. Under his dedicated planning and leadership this led to 39 yachts setting sail from Gibraltar in November 1995 on the Trade Winds Round-the-World rally, completing the circumnavigation in 1997. So popular and successful was this pioneering rally that the Royal Air Force Yacht Club attained international recognition as the leading global cruising club,

and such was the momentum established beyond the club that a new commercial enterprise, Blue Water Rallies, seized the opportunity to meet the demand. In October 2001, 11 yachts set sail from Lagos in Portugal on the Trade Winds USA 2001 rally via the Caribbean and optionally back to Europe via Bermuda and the Azores. Although very different in scope, this was another very successful rally for both club and participants. Those following in the footsteps of the early round the world pioneers continue to explore the world by sea. Whether your ambitions are local or further to sea you will find a special camaraderie within the RAFYC.

R.A.F. Yacht Club



Our members have exercised their skills on the racing circuit and continue to win trophies in various classes including the one designs such as the XOD, the Sigma and the J boats. Positioned in the central Solent area our club racers are offered a wide choice of racing venues and organisations. They are frequently active within the Southampton Water Sailing Association (SWSA) and the Junior Offshore Group (JOG) as well as the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC). Events such as the Hamble Winter Series and Cowes Week as well as the Annual Round The Island Race are also populated by a number of RAFYC members.

The club’s XOD fleet continues to thrive and holds evening and weekend racing series under the careful eye of our sister club at the Hamble River Sailing Club.

In the autumn the RAFYC holds its Battle of Britain Regatta, an open event for IRC, ISC yachts and XODs, This is a weekend regatta with local races run in the Solent on both days and social events at the clubhouse after racing.

R.A.F. Yacht Club



Club members who have a keen interest in sailing in company and socialising among good friends are able to take advantage of the club’s active rally programme which runs from early March through to the Christmas and New Year season. The typical format of a rally involves a sail to a well-chosen venue in the Solent or beyond, on arrival you are assured of a warm welcome from your fellows who normally offer a glass of something alcoholic. This is most often followed by one of the RAFYC’s legendary pontoon parties where an epicurean mix of boat-made specialties is devoured along with further glasses of wine and good conversation and renewed friendship. The rally attendees are then typically welcomed at a local yacht club or hostelry to enjoy a fine dinner in company after which a number of members are found back on their boats with many welcome guests on board attempting to stay in tune for a group sing-song long after the sun has disappeared below the lowest yard arms. Next morning our members often appear surprisingly bright

and bushy tailed for discussions on whether or not to attend the return fun passage race back to the Hamble. Destinations for club rallies have included the local favourites such as Ocean Village, Cowes Beaulieu, Yarmouth and Lymington. Moving out to Bembridge, Chichester, Poole and Weymouth. Across the channel to Cherbourg, St Vaast and the Channel Islands. Continuing to Northern Brittany or the West Country. Club rallies frequently get booked up early and attract up to 40 boats. Impromptu rallies are started with two boats and their club burgees, attracting others to join in on the way to Brest, La Coruna and beyond. The club rallies continue to be a major bonus to longstanding friendships! R.A.F. Yacht Club


Club Trophies

The club has the privilege of owning a distinguished and well-endowed trophy cabinet containing trophies garnered from its activities around the world with an international and particularly colonial flavour. There are some well-known names engraved on these trophies and we hope the current winners will go on to become memorable in their turn. Our club embraces the spirit of friendly competition, recognising our members’ sailing skills with trophies for both cruising and racing. Non-boat owners are not left out as some trophies can be won by any member!

Our trophies are awarded for results in the locally popular Solent events as well as club regattas and cruising competitions. So we are looking for the best RAF result in events such as the Warsash Spring Series, Round the Island, Bursledon Regatta and the Hamble River Winter Series as well as the Battle of Britain Regatta, cruising logs and photos and one or two more unusual competitions.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Social Calendar & Other Activities

The club holds a broad and active calendar of events throughout the year. During the sailing season our events tend to be less formal with a number of theme nights continuing our Round the World theme with social dinners inspired from different locations. We also run a number of lunches, barbeques and suppers. As the nights draw in the club arranges a number of more formal dinners with the opportunity for the ladies to air their best frocks and the gentlemen to brush off their DJs. We try and balance a mix of dress codes to suit all tastes. Entertainment is normally provided by local bands with whom we have a good relationship and who are able to play music to suit a broad range of musical styles.

Visiting Yachtsmen The club welcomes members of visiting yacht clubs and in particular members of reciprocal clubs who may benefit from extended hospitality, under reciprocal terms. Whether you are visiting on your own or considering coordinating a rally to the Hamble you will be assured of a warm welcome and excellent hospitality.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Clubhouse Facilities

The clubhouse is situated at the end of Rope Walk with easy pedestrian access from the pretty village of Hamble and its local marinas. Car Parking The club has an enviable allocation of car

parking for members and, by prior arrangement, for a small number of guests. Access is via pass card or secure access arranged by the office. There are two public car parks close to the clubhouse on the Hamble quay or the square.

Accommodation at the RAFYC The club currently

has four bedrooms available for booking by members and non-members. These quaint rooms provide comfortable accommodation for visiting yachtsmen, during the week you are provided with a complimentary DIY breakfast. The configurations of the room includes one en-suite double and one double and two single rooms with shared facilities.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Members’ Bar & Riverside Bar

The Members’ Bar is operated throughout the week for members dropping in to the club during the evenings. You may also find the bar open on some lunch times subject to the season. The well-stocked Members’ bar provides a warm and cosy welcome for members, their guests and visiting yachtsmen to enjoy some convivial company and perhaps have a light snack. The Riverside Bar offers the facility for those who wish to hold a special event at the club to have their own private staffed bar in the lovely surroundings of the Riverside Room which can be laid out with a dance floor and can provide seating for diners in various configurations.

The two bars can be run together or separately to suit the needs of the occasion allowing members to always have access to the club facilities, at the same time as providing privacy for guests attending functions.

Both club bars have patio doors opening out onto the club patios for fine days and whatever the weather they offer a fine view of the river.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Club Moorings, Pontoons & Club Launches The club provides 39 mid-stream moorings, these moorings are situated on the river with easy access from the club and are located mostly on pontoons. Some are fore and aft pile moorings and for the small, shallow draught yachts, trot moorings. The club maintains a slipway for launching dinghies and tenders and a launch pontoon with a fresh water supply. This pontoon is dredged to CD-1.5m for all tide access as a waiting pontoon for the scrubbing bays. It is situated in front of the clubhouse and is used for operating the club launch service. A second pontoon is the club hammer head with power and is a few yards downstream of the club. This pontoon offers all-tide access to yachts drawing up to 1.5m and is used for temporary stays to load or off load equipment or make repairs. The pontoon can be booked for overnight mooring via the office.

Dinghy Storage Dinghy storage is available in the club

grounds and on the water for dinghies less than 16 feet LOA. A number of options are available to suit various budgets and needs, the rear pound caters for less used tenders, while the “dinghy toast rack� storage and on-ground storage is available with easy access to the water. There are a small number of onwater dinghy moorings available on an annual, first come, first served basis.

The club has two launches and provides a launch service throughout the year for members with access to mid-stream moorings between Hamble Point and Universal marinas. The service typically operates at weekends and Bank Holidays providing a free service to members. Operating times are published on the website and on the noticeboard and generally run from 8am to sunset or 8pm, whichever is earlier. During the summer months a Friday service is operated by volunteer members from 10am to 4pm thereafter the bosuns operate until sunset or 8pm. Two club tenders are available for use by members to access their moorings at any time.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Foreshore Facilities

Maintenance Bays The club has splendid, purpose-built,

support facilities to allow yachtsmen to bring their boat ashore for temporary intra tide, maintenance, cleaning and re-antifouling. The two purpose-built scrubbing bays are accessible at high tide for vessels with draft between 2 and 2.5m and with a length of up to 45 feet or approximately 13m.

Using the holding berth on the club pontoons provides accessibility and as the tide drops, yachts can be cleaned using the powerful spray gun made available for the bay. Electricity points are available for plugging in to marina power so you can run your heaters and refrigerators whilst using the facilities.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Restaurant Service at the RAFYC

The Club restaurant is open on Fridays, Saturdays , Sundays and Bank Holidays. The restaurant makes for a perfect combination with the Friday night Happy Hour in the Members’ Bar. It also provides a great welcome for those returning from their boats, whether they have been racing around the cans in the Solent or have ventured further afield.

Our experienced catering team also look after all the private functions held at the Club on weekdays as well as weekends. They will be delighted to discuss your needs with you, whether it’s a formal dinner for a small number of people or a BBQ for 150.

The emphasis is on home cooked food, from local suppliers, freshly prepared and competitively priced. For those looking for something warming the crewpot is a firm favourite as is the traditional Sunday roast. But the menu caters for all tastes from sandwiches to a three course meal with all the trimmings. The menu changes on a regular basis so you can be sure that you will find convivial company and good food to suit your tastes.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Holding a Function at the RAFYC

If you are thinking of holding a corporate or private function, then the RAFYC is a venue that ought to be put at the top of your list. Our team will work with you to plan your day, to link with local suppliers to provide associated services such as marquees and flowers and ensure that you can relax, sit back and enjoy the memories of a great event in a fine location.

RAFYC for Weddings Imagine a band playing your

favourite tune, champagne on the lawn and photographs by the marquee! You and your lucky guests can enjoy a day by the riverside with fine catering and excellent service. We offer dining environments for both fair weather and British summer weather to ensure that you relax and enjoy yourselves you can choose to dine in the Riverside Room or outside in a beautifully decorated marquee. You can even arrange to have a wellstocked bar outside.

RAFYC for Functions The RAFYC is a perfect venue

for celebrations and can offer an occasion to remember for the best reasons, whether you are thinking of a special birthday party, a wedding celebration or a perfect location for a corporate or sailing event the RAFYC provides the solution to meet all budgets! Contact Claire for details.

RAFYC for Club Rallies If you are thinking of arranging a group dining event as a visiting yacht club, the RAFYC would make a great choice. We offer superb food and a well-stocked bar in an excellent location. We have specially-created Rally Menus available and we can even arrange local moorings at Port Hamble marina with direct access to the club. If you are thinking about a date in the Hamble for a Rally why not put us on your calendar? R.A.F. Yacht Club


RAFYC for Training & Corporate Events

Perhaps you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the office for some creative time, or you are looking to escape from the mobile phones and interruptions in the office. Or maybe you are looking to combine a meeting with some on-water team building! Then the corporate facilities at the RAFYC might be the place for you. On weekdays we can offer an exciting venue overlooking our patio and lawn to the river. The two rooms or combinations of them offer facilities for various sizes of activity from small meetings to larger corporate training events. We can provide a projector and screen, a laptop for you to present with and seating for up to 100 in various formats. We can also offer fully-stocked bar facilities and we can arrange lunch, sandwiches or canapĂŠs.

If you want to coordinate with an on the water team building event, why not ask us to connect you with some of the South’s best event organisers for a turnkey event.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Menu Options & Booking Details Our catering is all provided by Bonne Bouche Bonne Bouche has been a feature on Hamble High Street for many years and the quality of their food is well known. We are delighted to be working in partnership with them.

Our catering team are very flexible and look forward to discussing your requirements in detail. Their capabilities range from providing breakfast for early morning meetings all the way through to a formal function for 100 people or more.

Example Menus Breakfast Menus

Continental Breakfast Buffet Hot Breakfast Buffet Menu Finger Buffets Cold Fork Buffet Menus Salads Desserts Cheese Hot Fork Buffet Menus Formal Sit Down Dinner With Table Service / Vegetarian Options CanapÊs Mini Meals Bowl Food BBQ’s

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Menu Options & Booking Details

Booking a Function The clubhouse is an Ideal venue for meetings, corporate training events and lunches, social dinners and wedding receptions. The function rooms are available throughout the week for daytime or evening events subject to availability, Friday evenings are member’s evenings, however the Riverside room and bar may be booked for a private event.

If you wish to book a function at the Royal Air force Yacht Club please contact Claire our Bar & events manager Tel: 02380453278 or contact the club office Tel: 02380452208 to discuss the type of event, the number of participants and the date & timing of the event. We will send you a booking form with terms & conditions pack.

R.A.F. Yacht Club


Contact & Find Us The club keeps a regular update of activities on its website along with gallery pictures of recent events and write-ups of events and rallies at You will also find a wealth of answers to many of the questions you might have on that site. If you have any questions or would like perhaps to drop in and see what a friendly club we are then please give us a call and we can arrange a welcoming committee just for you! Address: Royal Air Force Yacht Club Riverside House Rope Walk Hamble Southampton SO31 4HD


023 8045 2208 (Office) 023 8045 3278 (Bar & Restaurant)


023 8045 8001



Office Hours:

Monday-Friday 0900-1600.

How to Find Us The Royal Air Force Yacht Club is located at Hamble, six miles South East of Southampton. For satellite navigation purposes, our postcode is SO31 4HD. 50

R.A.F. Yacht Club


From Southampton Head out of the

city on the A3025 Portsmouth Road. Turn right onto Hamble Lane and follow this road into Hamble. At the end of the High Street, bear right on to The Quay and then take the first left on to Rope Walk. The club is at the end of this road.

From the M27 Leave the Motorway

at Junction 8. Turn on to the A3024 Bursledon Road (first exit if travelling northbound, second exit if travelling southbound). At the Windover Roundabout, take the second exit on to Hamble Lane and follow the directions as above.

Public Transport The nearest railway

station is Hamble, which is one mile away. Frequent services run from here to Southampton and Portsmouth, with connecting services to London and along the South Coast.


Riverside House, Rope Walk, Hamble, Southampton, SO31 4HD 023 8045 2208 •

0870 7707765 •

The RAF Yacht Club 2013 - 2014  

A guide to the yacht club, sailing and facilities, and supporting local businesses.

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