Sailing is one of the most popular sports in the UK, with an estimated 600,000 people taking to the water every year. Britain has a strong maritime history and with its long stretches of coastline perfect for sailing, it is easy to see how it has become so popular over the years. Additionally, sailing has won thousands of new fans as a result of team GB's success in the 2012 Olympic regatta, which for the first time was held just a couple of hundred metres from shore. This has really helped to get people excited about sailing and has really turned it into a spectator sport. Of course, with sailing comes yachts, and in Britain we have plenty of them. Our country has a rich heritage of classic beautiful yachts as well as yacht clubs, of which many remain exclusive and 'members-only'.
The Manila Yacht Club
Britain has a number of well-known yacht clubs, but the world's most famous club is undoubtedly the Manila Yacht Club. Formed back in 1927 by five yachtsmen, it is today considered to be the the “social and sporting Mecca” of the Philippines. It is a members-only Club and is highly exclusive, which is surely a result of its strong reputation and rich historic past. It's reputation is such that the majority of the yachting that goes on in the Philippines is based at the Manila Yacht Club. Continually growing in size as well as stature it is considered to be the “yachting hub” of South-East Asia, there to unite fans of sailing as well as promote the sport to those who may be considering taking to the water for the first time.
The Club's racing season runs from September through to May every year and it's main event is the President's Cup Regatta which is held just after Easter. It is certainly an eagerly anticipated event and since it began in 1993 it has been incredibly well publicised globally. It has a great reputation not just in the Philippines but around the world and regularly attracts thousands of sailing enthusiasts from overseas. It was initially known as the 'Philippine Easter Regatta' but was renamed the 'President's Cup Regatta' in 1997 when then President Fidel V. Ramos asked the Manila Yacht Club to host a an international regatta during the APEC Summit.
The annual Regatta is a great opportunity for the club to welcome overseas visitors and for local sailing enthusiasts to compete against highly skilled yachtsmen from all around the world. Members are encouraged to take part in other major yachting events, both in the Philippines and internationally, including the China Sea Race and the King's Cup of Thailand. Facilities at Manila Yacht Club are impressive to say the least, but with such an exclusive membership policy this isn't too surprising.
Joining a Yacht Club in the UK
The Manila Yacht Club may one of the world's most famous yacht club, but Britain has one or two of its own. They are a place for sailing enthusiasts to promote the sport as well as provide a meeting place for those with an affinity for yachts and sailing. Historically, yacht clubs in the UK were incredibly exclusive and tended to focus on a membership composed solely of yacht owners, however, in recent years they have become a lot more inclusive, offering small sail boat and dinghy owners the opportunity to become members.
The first yacht club in England and one of the oldest in the world is the Royal Thames Yacht Club. Originally known as the 'Cumberland Sailing Society', it was founded in 1775 and has a rich and interesting heritage. Another of the UK's (and the world's) oldest and most well-known yacht clubs is Starcross Yacht Club which dates back to 1772 when it was loosely formed to organise a sailing regatta. Originally lacking the organisation of other yacht clubs of its generation, it is now a go-ahead, modern Club offering superb facilities for keen and experienced sailors. Britain has a huge number of yacht clubs and this is testament to the popularity of sailing, both historically and today.
If you're a sailing enthusiast keen to join a yacht club in the UK, you'll probably find that there's a suitable Club not too far from you. In fact, there's now a yacht club in the UK 100km from the coast! The newly-formed Chipping Norton Yacht Club has caused a stir by attracting over a 100 members despite being miles away from the sea.
Sailing yachts and possessing a yacht is not cheap. Make sure that have quality yacht insurance from a reputable insurance company such as Bishop Skinner.