The Republic of Singapore Yacht Club



The Republic of Singapore Yacht Club (RSYC) is a maritime recreational society and club for yachting enthusiasts. It was established in 1826, and is the oldest recreational or social club of any theme in Singapore. It is also the first yacht club in Asia. It was known as the Royal Singapore Yacht Club until 1967, when it changed its name to the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club1 to coincide with the country’s independence two years earlier.2

Background

The club has its founding roots with men who were part of Sir Stamford Raffles’ initial voyage to the island. William Montgomerie served as the first president of the club from 1826. It was initially known as the Singapore Yacht Club, but changed its name to the Royal Singapore Yacht Club in 1922, after it came under the patronage of the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII). It was known by this name until 1967.3


Apart from the Prince of Wales, other prominent patrons of the club have been King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. Singapore’s first president, Yusof bin Ishak, was the first Singaporean patron of the club in 1967, and the name of the club was subsequently changed to reflect the shift in patronage and independence of the country.4

Singapore’s former President Ong Teng Cheong was chosen as the club’s patron in 1997. He was the guest-of-honour at the club’s 174th anniversary celebrations on 17 June 2000 and opened the club’s current clubhouse and marina.5

Former President S R Nathan has been the current patron of the RSYC6 since 2003,7 while Wee Keng Hwee is its commodore. The club also has five serving honorary members, namely His Royal Highness Tunku Ibrahim Ismail, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, S. Jayakumar, Tan Cheng Bock (Dr), and S. Iswaran.8

To acknowledge and commemorate the long and prestigious history of the RSYC, the National Heritage Board installed a plaque in the club’s premises on 17 June 2000 to mark the club as a historic site.9

Location
In 1920, the RSYC’s original clubhouse at Trafalgar Street was opened by Sir Laurence Guillemard, who was then the governor of the Straits Settlements.10 He also served as the club’s commodore from 1922 to 1927.11

After independence, the club had to relinquish its Trafalgar Street premises to the Singapore Harbour Board to make way for a container terminal. As a result, the RSYC, with the help of the British Army, were able to claim five acres of mangrove swamp along Tanjong Penjuru to build a new clubhouse.12 Then President Yusof bin Ishak officially opened the new clubhouse on October 8 1966 upon invitation from the club.13

The RSYC relocated for the third time when it moved to its current premises at 52 West Coast Ferry Road in August 1999.14 Its official opening ceremony was held a year later, graced by then President Ong Teng Cheong. The state-of-the-art clubhouse was designed by Edward Wong of Alfred Wong Partnership Pte Ltd. In July 2001, the building was the recipient of a Singapore Institute of Architects’ (SIA) Architectural Design Award in the recreational category.15

Club facilities
The RSYC offers accommodation and services for short-term local getaways. It has guestrooms,16 restaurants, bars17 and other leisure and entertainment outlets.18 The club also has comprehensive boating facilities with 127 wet berths and 218 dry berths for members and visiting yachtsmen.19

Events
Over the decades, the RSYC has also been instrumental in organising several sea sports events, both recreationally and competitively. In 1923, famed yachting enthusiast and renowned tea merchant, Sir Thomas Lipton, donated the Lipton Cup to the RSYC. The Lipton Cup is now on display at the Singapore Sports Museum.20

The RSYC most notably holds the annual RSYC Regatta, a premier local club yachting event open to all local clubs and marinas. The RSYC Regatta is the oldest regatta held in Singapore and traces its origins as far back as the early 1920s. Apart from traditional race formats, the regatta has also added the Round-the-Island Challenge and Passage Race to Tioman to its competition line-up.21 The regatta is held annually in July.22

Apart from competitive events, the RSYC is also active in organising recreational activities and holding courses and sailing lessons for its members.23



Author

Bhaskaran Kunju




References
1. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history.html
2. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). About Us. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/about-us.html
3. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history.html
4. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history.html
5. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History: National Heritage Plaque. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history/nhb-plaque.html
6. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). About Us. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/about-us.html
7. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History: Milestones. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history/milestones.html
8. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). About Us: Patron & Honarary Members. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/about-us/patron-a-honorary-members.html
9. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History: National Heritage Plaque. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history/nhb-plaque.html
10. Yuen, K.C. (2008, September/October). W. Maxwell Blake: Commodore of SYC in 1919. RSYC magazine, 23.
11. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History: Commodores. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history/commodores.html
12. Snowden, J. (2008, November/December). Brief History of RSYC. RSYC magazine, 23.
13. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history.html
14. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). About Us. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/about-us.html
15. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history.html
16. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). Accommodation. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/accommodation.html
17. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). Wine & Dine. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/wine-a-dine.html
18. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). Facilities. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/facilities.html
19. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). Marina. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/marina.html
20. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). History: Trophies. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/history/trophies.html
21. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2009, September/October). RSYC Regatta 2009. RSYC magazine, 6.
22. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2016). About: History of RSYC Regatta. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from RSYC Regatta website: http://www.rsycregatta.org/index.php/about/history-of-rsyc-regatta
23. Republic of Singapore Yacht Club. (2015). Sea Sports. Retrieved 2016, June 26 from Republic of Singapore Yacht Club website: http://www.rsyc.org.sg/seasports.html



The information in this article is valid as at 2010 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Recreation>>Sports
Sports, recreation and travel>>Water sports>>Yachting
Sports organisations
Yacht clubs--Singapore
Sports and games
Organisations>>Associations>>Sports Associations
Yachting--Singapore