FIFTEEN Helensburgh Heritage Trust members had the opportunity to relish and inspect the history of the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club at Rhu on Thursday October 10.
The trust accepted an invitation from club archivist Jon Reid after he spoke on the club’s golden years at a Trust open meeting in Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre in March.
Trust treasurer Stewart Noble said: “It is worth remembering that the Yacht Cliub is in negotiation to sell its building, and so this may have been one of the last chances for non-members to visit one of the outstanding local properties.”
In the early days yachting was a royal pastime enjoyed by the extremely rich. Until 1865 membership of the Royal Northern required ownership of a yacht more than eight tons.
After lengthy consideration a clubhouse — actually part of a hotel — was opened in Rothesay in 1878 which became the base for the club's regattas.
The club moved to the current clubhouse in Rhu in 1937, merging with the Gareloch Yacht Club which started life as the Clyde Model Yacht Club in 1856 and was established to cater for owners of yachts less than eight tons, in direct response to the RNYC's threshold for membership.
The club became the Royal Clyde Yacht Club after being granted a Royal Charter in 1863, and a grand clubhouse was opened at Hunter's Quay in 1872. However the changing economic climate and reduction in steamer services led to the clubhouse becoming impractical.
During World War Two the former Ardenvhor played a key role in the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, RAF Helensburgh. During the early 1950s the RCYC moved to a smaller base at Rhu Marina and in 1978 the two remaining clubs merged.