Archived Regatta Pages

About the Club

Hamo Thornycroft photo

Founded in 1815, the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) is one of the most prestigious yacht club in the United Kingdom and arguably the world. Its clubhouse is located in Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight. The club’s patron is HM Queen Elizabeth II and the club’s Admiral is HRH Prince Philip.

The history of the RYS is without equal – in 1826, individual races between members’ yachts led to the start of racing for gold cups. George IV began the annual tradition of the reigning monarch presenting a cup; the King’s or Queen’s Cup was the most prestigious race in the Squadron Regatta. The 1830’s saw the first ocean race, the 1840’s the first American member and 1851 a race Round the Island for a 100 sovereign Cup. This race was won by the yacht “America” after crossing the Atlantic to challenge the best British yachts. The 100 Guinea Cup was renamed the America’s Cup, and the beginning of arguably the biggest prize in sailing was born.

With this history in the birth of the America’s Cup and the Squadron’s ongoing involvement in British Cup challenges, it is of little surprise that Sir Ben Ainslie has chosen to race under the burgee of Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Ltd in his BAR Challenge for the 35th America’s Cup, a campaign culminating in the same year as this World Championship.

Today the view of the castle, with its red and white striped Platform roof, is known throughout the world and the club’s start line has seen the beginning and end of many of the world’s greatest yacht races. Squadron members have taken part in many of these, for an active interest in yacht racing is still a prime requirement in those invited to become members.

In 2000, the Squadron opened a fantastic new facility on the club lawn, overlooking the Solent. Designed by Sir Thomas Croft, The Pavilion provides wonderful facilities for visiting yachtsmen and a great venue for social functions.