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Yachting And Yacht Clubs

By Marty Johnson

As the Dutch rose to dominance in sea power during the 17th century, the early yacht became a pleasure craft used mostly by royalty and later by the burghers for the canals and the protected and unprotected waters of the Low Countries. Racing yachts was incidental, borne from private games. English yachting started with King Charles II of England during his exile in the Low Countries. On his return to the English throne in 1660, the city of Amsterdam sent him a 20-metre (66-foot) pleasure boat with a beam (maximum width) of 5.6 m (18 feet), which he then named Mary. Charles and his brother James, the duke of York (James II, sovereign 1685-88), built additional yachts and in 1662 raced two of them from the Thames, from Greenwich, to Gravesend, and the same way back, on a 100 bet. Yachting became popular for the affluent and royalty, but after that time the trend did not last.

The first yacht group in the British Isles, the Water Club, was started at about 1720 at Cork, Ire., as a cruising and unofficial coast guard association, and had great naval panoply and rigour. The closest thing to a race was the “chase,” when the “fleet” pursued an imagined enemy. The club persisted, for the large part as a social club, until 1765, and in 1828, when merging with other societies, it was known as the Cork Yacht Club (later the Royal Cork Yacht Club).

Yacht racing began in some ordered manner on the Thames around the mid-18th century. The duke of Cumberland founded the Cumberland Fleet for Thames racing in 1775. When George IV came to sovereignty in 1820, it was then called the Fleet to His Majesty’s Coronation Sailing Society. The Thames Yacht Club seceded with a racing argument, to become the Royal Thames Yacht Club in 1830. The first English yacht club had been started at Cowes on the Isle of Wight in 1815, and royal funding made the Solent – the strait between the mainland and the Isle of Wight – the continued site of British yacht racing. The organisation at Cowes became the Royal Yachting Club, again at the ascension of George IV. Every member was required to have boats of at least 20 tons (20,321 kg). Sailing tests for high bets were held, and the club life was wonderful. It came to be that the Royal Yachting Club boats increased in size to over 350 tons.

In North America, yachting started with the Dutch in New York in the 17th century and persisted when the English gained power. Sailing was largely for leisure and reached its epitome in George Crowinshield’s Cleopatra’s Barge (1815), which traveled on the Mediterranean Sea and established a benchmark of luxury and sophistication for the later yachts in the area from the late 19th century. The first enduring American yacht association, the Detroit Boat Club, was started in 1839. In 1844, John C. Stevens founded the New York Yacht Club while aboard his schooner Gimcrack.

Kinds of sailboats

Early sailing yachts took the design of such naval craft as brigantines, schooners, and cutters from the 17th century through to the second half of the 19th century. The design of bigger yachts was initially heavily put upon by the victory of America, which was created by George Steers for a association led by John C. Stevens, and it was the boat for which the America’s Cup (q.v.) was named after its win at Cowes in 1851. Earlier yachts were not designed and crafted in today’s sense, with only a model used. Not until the later half of the 19th century did what was called naval architecture come into action. Not until the 1920s did the use of the study of aerodynamics do for the structure of sails and rigging what it had done earlier for hulls.

Because almost all sailboats were individually built, there was a requirement for handicapping boats previous to the one-design class boats were made. Thus, a rating rule was decreed, which resulted in the International Rule, taken on in 1906 and edited in 1919. Today, one of the rapidly growing areas in the field of sailing is that of one-design class boats. All boats in a one-design class are built to the same specifications in length, beam, sail area, and other elements (for an example of a two-person sailboat, see illustration). Racing between such boats can be had on an even playing field with no handicapping required. A prime example is the generic International America’s Cup Class taken on board for yachts in the 1992 America’s Cup race.

So long as yachting was done mostly for the nobility and the rich, cost was no problem, and the size of boats increased, in both length and weight. The rise and desire of smaller boats occurred in the latter half of the 19th century in the sailing of the Englishmen R.T. McMullen, a stockbroker, and E.F. Knight, a barrister and journalist. A trip around the world (1895-98) captained single-handedly by the naturalized American captain Joshua Slocum in the 11.3-metre Spray made plain the hardiness of smaller craft. Following this in the 20th century, for the larger part after World War II, smaller racing and pleasure yachts became more popular, down to the dinghy, a favoured training boat, of 3.7 m. In the late 20th century, boats of less than 3 m were traveled in single-handedly across the Atlantic Ocean.

Kinds of power yachts

After the decade 1840-50, in which steam started to emulate sail power in public craft, the steam engine, and later the internal-combustion engine, were employed more and more in personal yachts. Sizeable power yachts were furthered to a high element, and long-distance sailing turned into a preferred pastime of the wealthy. The earliest power yachts were paddle-wheel boats; these then gave rise to boats powered by the completely submerged screw or propeller sort of propulsion. Like naval and merchant yachts, auxiliaries possessing both sail and power were the yacht fashion for a number of years. By the later half of the 20th century, a lot of yachts were still auxiliaries, but the majority were exclusively power yachts containing gasoline or diesel engines.

During the last decade of the 19th century there was a push in the design of more sizeable steam yachts. Notably of these was the Mayflower (1897) of 2,690 tons, with triple-expansion engines, twin screws, and a compartmented iron hull, and was operated by a crew of over 150. The Mayflower, purchased by the United States Navy in 1898, was the official yacht of the president of the United States until 1929 and was used in active service in World War II.

As more sizeable and better quality internal-combustion engines were created, many large boats began using them for power. The development of the diesel engine, using heavy oil for fuel, progressed from World War I. During the decade following, bigger power-yacht manufacture grew, reaching a climax in the Orion (1930) at 3,097 tons. In that point the biggest auxiliary yacht built was the four-masted, steel, barque-rigged Sea Cloud (1931) of 2,323 tons.

The construction of bigger power boats lessened in 1932, and the trend thereafter was in preference of smaller, less costly craft. From World War II, lots of small naval boats were bought by private owners for conversion to yachts. At the late 20th century, yachting is a widespread beloved sport enjoyed by thousands of yachtsmen personally sailing and maintaining their own small recreational craft. The amount of boats and owners increased steadily, not only in the traditional areas by the sea but also on inland waterways and lakes.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Johnson, Marty "Yachting And Yacht Clubs." Yachting And Yacht Clubs. 24 Jul. 2010. uberarticles.com. 4 Aug 2014 <http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/yachting-and-yacht-clubs/>.

APA Style Citation:
Johnson, M (2010, July 24). Yachting And Yacht Clubs. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/yachting-and-yacht-clubs/

Chicago Style Citation:
Johnson, Marty "Yachting And Yacht Clubs" uberarticles.com. http://uberarticles.com/recreation-and-sports/yachting-and-yacht-clubs/

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