RBYC celebrates 175 years
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is celebrating its 175th anniversary by launching a new scholarship fund making year-round sailing more accessible to young sailors.
A celebration to mark the anniversary will take place at the RBYC this Sunday. Invited dignitaries, guests and members will enjoy a sail past, speeches and a brunch overlooking the club's marina.
The scholarship fund which has been championed by Geovanni Hayward, a sailing instructor, will provide a 50 per cent bursary for up to 15 students for any of RBYC's programmes. These include sailing lessons, powerboat training and first-aid training.
The fund is available to every resident child aged between eight and 18 years of age and is based on merit and financial need along with the recommendation of a sailing instructor and the Next Generation Fund Selection Committee.
Nathan Bailey, RBYC sailing director, said: “Children who are exposed to sailing at a young age learn self-confidence, spatial awareness, agility, independence, decision-making skills, responsibility and discipline. All skills acquired can be very helpful in a child's development leading to better concentration and can help overall academic success.
“Of course, one of our favourite things about youth sailing is the benefits of being outside in the fresh air, meeting new friends and spending some time away from digital and electronic devices.”
The RBYC was established on November 1, 1844 and is one of the oldest yacht clubs in the world. It also has a rich maritime history with the club's patron Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visiting Bermuda in 1994 to help to celebrate the 150th Anniversary, the introduction of a world class inclusive youth sailing programme and its marina supporting the 35th America's Cup.
One of the biggest developments for the club over the years has been the RBYC Sailing Academy developed from the original WaterWise programme. It became Bermuda's first Royal Yachting Association [RYA] accredited Training Centre, with students receiving internationally recognised certifications upon completion.
RBYC is best known for international events such as the Gold Cup and the biennial Newport Bermuda Race and the King Edward VII Gold Cup match racing event, currently sponsored by Argo Group.
Some of the world's most successful competitors have won the King Edward VII Gold Cup including seven-time winner Sir Russell Coutts who was largely responsible for bringing the 35th edition of the America's Cup to Bermuda in 2017.
Jonathan Corless, commodore of RBYC, said: “Throughout the club's history but particularly more recently, there have been drastic changes to the styles of sailing, the boats, equipment and racing. It is important for us as a leading club to continue to recognise that history while continuing to position ourselves to meet these challenges and develop what the club has to offer both on and off the water. We keep old traditions alive by continuing to participate in traditional areas such as Bermuda Fitted Dinghy racing but we are also looking closely at the future of the club and have recently made huge investments in new boats and to the infrastructure of the club to put us on a great course for the future.”