history of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club



Experience the rich history of The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club (RCYC), where sailing and socialising have been valued for more than two hundred years

Falmouth has long been a venue for major regattas, and the RCYC has been instrumental in organising major sailing events since before the Second World War.  RCYC is often host to international, national & local regattas. Events organised by RCYC in the more recent years include the J-Class, Richard Mille Cup, Dragon SW Championships, International Fourteens Prince of Wales Cup, as well as our very own AZAB challenge.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnson

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, was the first solo yachtsman to sail non-stop round the world.

He completed his 30,000-mile voyage in 312 days and a Cornish harbourmaster summed up the feelings of all seafaring men as he watched the battered 32ft. ketch, Suhaili, complete the final agonisingly slow tacks to the finishing line: “He’s a real professional.”

Television viewers heard Sir Francis Chichester, sailing only feet from Suhaili say of Knox-Johnston: “You can’t help admiring him. The more you see of him, the more you admire him. He’s really playing it very cool.”

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*** Circa 22nd April 1969: Robin Knox-Johnston  taking his first unsteady steps on dry land after spending 312 days at sea aboard his 32ft yacht SUHAILI to become the first man to sail solo non-stop around the globe. Knox-Johnston was the sole finisher in the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo round the world race, having set out from Falmouth, England on 14th June 1968 aboard his tiny 32ft ketch Suhaili. It was a time when the Flat Earth Society was still in existence, and even seasoned yachtsman thought it to be an impossible feat. For everyone else it was; Robin was the sole finisher among 9 starters to complete this 30,000 mile supreme endurance race, organised by the Sunday Times newspaper.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnson

Robin Knox-Johnston stepping ashore at RCYC on 22 April 1969 after the first-ever solo, non-stop circumnavigation.

His reply of “Falmouth” to the challenge made by Falmouth’s Custom Officer “were from?” is on a par with those contemporary words of Neil Armstrong when he took his first step on the surface of the moon: “one small step for man…”

The Log of the OWL

The log of the OWL was found in the library of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club late in 2011. Enquiries of the Club’s officers were unable to establish exactly how the log had come into the possession of the Club, but it was generally agreed that it had not been in the library for long.

The log itself includes a good description of the OWL. The quality of its build can best be judged by the fact that over 100 years after launching she is still in use as a (very expensive) charter yacht.

A History of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club 1871 – 2012

The RCYC History Book

The book “A History of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club 1871 – 2012” is on sale for £20 (plus P&P £3.50 to UK).

The book, which is 288 pages with hundreds of illustrations, charts the history of the Club in detail from its founding in 1871, through the World Wars, to 2012, and includes many fascinating chapters such as those recording the Royal Patronage and Notable Members.

RCYC History Timeline