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Yacht racing at Whitby takes place each weekend throughout the season. Races are set within the bay or occasionally along the coast. Racing is open to all types of cruiser/racers and are run on a handicap system, in two classes. Club members are always available to give assistance to new members, and special pursuit races on Saturdays give good training to new and inexperienced sailors. WYC is also a member of the North East Cruiser Racing Association, and participates in coastal and passage races between clubs ranging from Scotland to Bridlington, Holland and Norway.
Yachts sailing with Whitby Yacht Club are of many sizes and varieties. They range from open day boats, to trailer-sailers, through cruiser racers, to power boats. There is usually a 'Cruise North' each year, and cruising and power boat owners are encouraged to join the inter-club racing fleet when the racing takes them to other ports. There is no restriction on the type of vessel which may be owned by members. Members embark on extended cruises throughout the year often to Holland and Norway etc. The club recognises the achievement with annual prizes being awarded. We also have several members at present cruising world wide.
Cruising members are encouraged to try their hand at racing, as the racing fleet itself consists of many cruiser-racer types of boats, which race on handicaps. The club welcomes power boat owners and membership in this group is being encouraged so that a full programme of events can be arranged. This coming year it is anticipated that their will be a few pilotage evenings taking place throughout the season on a Friday evening for further information contact our Rear Commodore Cruise.
Whitby Yacht Club have a number of deep water pontoon moorings situated in the lower harbour between the swing bridge and the lifeboat pier, with access to the sea at all states of the tide. Access is by tender which increases security. These moorings are available to full members at competitive rates. There are marina moorings in the upper harbour which are controlled by Scarborough Borough Council. These are deep water moorings. However access to the sea is dictated by the swing bridge which opens 2 hours either side of high water at 1/2 hour intervals by request on Channel 11 or 16.
Dinghy racing with Whitby Yacht Club takes place over the winter months with the 'Frostbite' series. All racing takes place in the upper harbour, where there is a launching ramp up river of the car park. The boats are sailed in two classes, Class A is for boats with a PY of 1200 or greater, Class B for boats with a PY of less than 1200. The race duration is usually about 45 minutes.
Additionally there is an open dinghy race held during the annual Town Regatta, sponsored by the Regatta Committee. This is held in the upper harbour, and details are published in the Town Regatta Programme. The race is for the Tyler Cup.
The first recorded sailing regattas at Whitby took place in the 1840's under the burgee of Royal Yorkshire Yacht Club. Entries were few and craft tended to be large with substantial prizes. A momento of these early days is the 'Hilda Salva' in 1847. A Whitby Yacht Club was formed at a meeting in I H Harrowing's Shipping Office, now the Magpie Cafe, in 1895.
The first year to commence was January 1896 and the annual subscriptions were half a guinea per member. Regular races and regattas were held up to the outbreak of the 1914-1918 war. The club appears to have been disbanded and not reformed. The present Club was formed in 1932 under Commodore Elect F H Pyman and eighteen founder members. The fleet was somewhat mixed, the greater proportion being motor vessels. The Club rented rooms in the Old Harbour Office in the beginning but in 1937 obtained a lease from the RNLI to erect the present Clubhouse over the Old Lifeboat House, now the RNLI Museum.
The members raised £1,000 to build the Clubhouse by selling £5 and £10 shares in a company called Whitby Yacht Club and Hall Ltd. The official seal of the Company is in the display cabinet. The Company then leased the building to the Yacht Club for £50 per annum. At this time a design for a class boat was commissioned called the 'St Hilda Class'. This was an 18' C B Sloop, sail area 292 square feet including a 100 square foot spinnaker. To accommodate Whitby bridge the mast was mounted in a tabernacle.
During the 1939-45 war sailing was suspended but the Club was kept alive as a Bridge Club attended by local members. After the war several members bought redundant ship's lifeboats and turned them into yachts. A major development in small boat sailing began in the 1950's and a fleet of Dragons raced at Whitby and adjacent clubs. On the Cruiser/Racer front the Folkboat was the boat to aspire to although the fleet was mixed and dinghies raced with larger boats in the bay.
By the 1970's the surge of interest in sailing required the premises to be enlarged to accommodate increased membership. The improvements and extensions were officially opened by the Patrol, the Marquis of Normanby. At the same time the Club moorings were increased by leasing and dredging the area between Tate Hill Pier and Fish Pier. In the 1980's the Club had Racing, Cruising, Powerboat and Dinghy sections with a strong diving membership. 1989 saw the narrow section of the lounge entrance converted and refurbished as a dining/social area and two years later the cadet room was refurbished to form a family lounge/multi-functional room.
In 1993, 1994 and 1995 there was three very successful Whitby Sailing Weeks with competing visitors from all over Britain. The renowned Whitbread Round the World challenger 'Heath Insured' was brought from the south coast to Whitby with a Yacht Club crew led by the Commodore John Webster and moored in the harbour for the whole week, (1993). Craft were rafted upto ten deep. 1995 saw Whitby Yacht Club's first Lady Commodore, Mrs Ann E Hope. In 1997 with the co-operation of the Harbour Master who dredged what had been Whitby Yacht Club's drying moorings the club purchased a number of pontoons and now have 50 metres of deep water pontoon moorings between Fish Pier and Town Bridge.
Many were the rumours of plans for a new marina and a new Clubhouse during these last years but, as yet, there are no concrete plans for the year 2000. Whitby Yacht Club goes forward into the twenty-first century financially sound and with plans to maintain and refurbish the present Clubhouse for the benefit of members, yet bearing in mind that there may well be a move some time in the future.
Whitby, North Yorkshire, England - 5 deg 29 min N 00 deg 36.68 min W. Whitby was also made famous by Bram Stokers 'Dracula' who it was said first came ashore in Whitby.
Situated at the mouth of the river Esk it is also a good starting place for those wishing to explore the North Yorkshire Moors, (Recently made popular with the TV series Heartbeat), or travel on the scenic North Yorkshire Moors Steam Railway. Historic York is only a short journey.
Whitby Harbour may be approached safely from any direction except south east. From this direction Whitby Rock Buoy (North Cardinal) must be rounded and kept on port hand. The harbour entrance is approximately three quarters of a mile from the Rock Buoy. At the entrance a strong set to the east commences some two hours preceding high water, and likewise one to the west commencing shortly after high water.