Copy of Royal Welsh Yacht Club, Caernarfon

button_lang_welshRoyal Welsh Yacht Club, Caernarfon

caernarfon-regattaThe home of the Royal Welsh Yacht Club – the gatehouse known as Porth-yr-Aur – is believed to be the oldest premises owned by any sailing club. The structure was built c.1284 as the West Gate, or Watergate, of the walled town.

The club was established in 1847 under the patronage of the Dowager Queen Adelaide, widow of King William IV. Royal patronage was continued by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, when he was only 18 years of age, and confirmed by him when he became King Edward VII. The club’s regattas were festivals of splendour and pageantry.

The club moved in to Porth-yr-Aur in 1854. Facilities included a reading room and billiard room. The drawing (courtesy of the RWYC) shows a Victorian regatta, with Porth-yr-Aur on the right.

In 1856 a warden’s bedroom was created in the loft. The warden from 1890 was Crimean War veteran Sgt Major William Tegarty, who wore the club’s uniform (blue coat and white or blue waistcoat). He died at the club house in 1898 and was succeeded by his widow Elizabeth, whose daughter Augusta became the warden in 1912. The club’s Tegarty Bar is named in their honour.

The RWYC’s first Commodore was Henry Paget, the first Marquis of Anglesey. He commanded the cavalry under the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo, where he lost his right leg.

The club’s first Vice-Commodore was the engineer Robert Stephenson, designer of the Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait. The first Rear-Commodore and founder of the club was Sir Llewelyn Turner, Mayor of Caernarfon.

Club members have achieved great seafaring accomplishments, including major ocean crossings and circumnavigations of the world. Among them was Victoria Cross winner Lionel Rees, who in 1933 sailed his yacht solo to the Bahamas, Florida and New York, a feat which earned him a medal from the Cruising Club of America.

The club continues to organise sailing, rowing and social events, including the annual regatta.

With thanks to Mo Judge, of Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 1SN    View Location Map

Website of the Royal Welsh Yacht Club

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