Royal Victoria Yacht Club (RVYC) is the oldest yacht club in western Canada.
A yacht race held to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday was the catalyst that led to the creation of the Victoria Yacht Club on June 8th, 1892. The first races, held in the 1880s, were originally contested only by local sportsmen, but in 1892, four American boats appeared and swept the board, winning the top four races. This outrage spurred the local sportsmen into forming a yacht club. The initial forty-six Members wanted to create a full season of yachting events to go along with the annual May 24th event. The club acquired a waterfront lease, and a clubhouse was constructed. In a few years it was replaced, both because it was too small, and because it had sunk three times. The replacement clubhouse in the Inner Harbour was wound-up in 1908.
In 1910, encouraged by increasing membership, and weary of competing for space with the whaling and sealing fleets, the yacht club began to search for a better location. On the Oak Bay waterfront, four miles from the Inner Harbour, the Uplands Corporation was turning a thousand-acre farm into an exclusive residential suburb. By 1912, negotiations were complete, and the Victoria Yacht Club possessed a spectacular property hugging the shores of Cadboro Bay. A clubhouse, designed by well-known Victoria architect William D’Oyly Rochfort, was completed in time for the official Opening on July 13, 1913 when three hundred members and guests gathered for the social event of the season.
In 1911, the club’s growth and stature were recognized when King George V granted permission for the club to add the prefix “Royal” to its title. The Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty granted a warrant allowing the club to fly a blue ensign defaced in the fly with the club badge: the letters VI, representing Vancouver Island, surmounted by the crown.
RVYC has a proud tradition of long distance sailors, active dinghy and one design racing fleets and is the host club of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, the Pacific Northwest’s premier yachting event (est. 1946), which includes a Classic Sail division.
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