2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club. The Club has headquarters in Jersey and Guernsey and hosts a series of events and regattas throughout the year. This year's landmark celebrations include the Connex Spring Regatta, a major highlight in a season of heightened activity.
Yachting for pleasure was brought to England by Charles II and from this royal introduction, it spread throughout the aristocracy becoming a popular sport for the noble and the powerful. Today, it is not the sole preserve of the rich, and the many yacht clubs that exist around the globe embody a spirit of community that is concerned with a love of sailing rather than social status. In seaside ports, the burgee, or club flag, is a sign to visiting yachtsmen that they will find a warm welcome and like-minded enthusiasts. It is traditional for a first-time visitor from a club to exchange burgees with the host club in a gesture of camaraderie. These burgees are then displayed on the walls of each clubhouse.
The first Royal Yacht Club was named in 1820, when its most distinguished member the Prince Regent became King George IV. Membership was restricted to those who owned a vessel above 10 tons and the gentlemen met in London and in Cowes twice a year, to discuss yachting over dinner. The Club changed its name in 1833 to The Royal Yacht Squadron and the pinnacle of its activity was the annual Cowes Week regatta, which remains the highlight of the racing calendar. In 1851, the New York based schooner America arrived in Cowes to compete in the Hundred Guinea Cup, a race that took the fleet around the Isle of Wight. It won spectacularly and the trophy was known thereafter as the America's Cup in its honour. Queen Victoria, who gave our Channel Islands Yacht Club its 'Royal' designation a century and a half ago, witnessed the victory.