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90 We asked Commodore Richard Haycock a few questions about the club


How would you describe the RDYC? Warm and welcoming. It’s all about a love of the sea and love of water-sports.


How many members do you have? 820


Who can join? Anyone and everyone. We actively encourage new mem- bers, prices start from £50 a year for under 30s and associate racing members to £282 for full single membership.


What do you get for your money? An opportunity to meet like-minded folk with an interest in sailing. Great food served in the most stunning location on the River Dart. An active social programme with events throughout the year including a winter lecture series. An RYA training programme, a very strong junior sailing section and active special interest groups. We also have small boat and yacht moorings.


Tell us more about the events… We have Friday club nights with delicious locally sourced food on offer. There are also pop-up restaurant evenings, themed events and barbecues on the terrace. Every Wednesday and Friday during the sailing season (April - October) we hold race evenings. They’re usually held in Start Bay or on the River - there are three classes and we encourage a Corinthian spirit.


What else can members get up to on the water? We have a group called Ladies Afloat which allows women to sail and cruise without men getting in the way! The weekly sessions are a great opportunity to develop skills and confidence, make new friends and just have fun. We have a similar group called Boys in Boats and a cruising section who organise local cruises and often cross the channel to places like Guernsey.


What are you doing to attract new members? We hold two or three open events each year which we publicise on the website. We want to encourage more people to start sailing, particularly youngsters. The club is a great local asset which people should come and use. There’s a misconception that yacht clubs are snooty - but it’s not the case.


What’s new for 2020? We had a flood last year so we’re in the middle of a refurbishment programme at the moment. The clubhouse is getting a new look, things are being moved around to make more space and we are looking to further improve club facilities. We need to keep updating, we’ve been here for 150 years and think we should be here for at least 150 more!


When did you take over as commodore? Last year. You usually hold the post for two years.


What do you hope to achieve in your time? I’d like to ensure the club has a strong future and for me that means focusing on encouraging young families to get involved and experience the fun of being on the water. We offer a junior sailing programme and work with local schools to try and get children who’ve never been in a boat out onto the water. It’s great to give them new skills and confidence.


Do young people need to be a member to do the sailing programme? No, parents can just sign them up. The sessions are run on Saturday mornings and there’s a great atmosphere. Afterwards we serve up sausages and chips which the children love! The parents stay and chat and we often get up to 70 people on the terrace.


When did your interest in boats begin? I’ve been playing with dinghies since I was eight. I got my own boat in my 30s which was a loveable old slow wooden cruising yacht. In 2003 I upgraded for a 60ft Laurent-Giles so I could cross the Atlantic, which I first did with two of my sons. It’s called Pazienza which is Italian for patience - you certainly need it to sail a wooden boat!


Do you walk or sail to the club each week?! Cycle actually. It‘s an electric bike to help me get back up the hill afterwards.


Hire the facilities of the Club


The Royal Dart Yacht Club has a number of unique spaces avail- able for hire and we are always happy to discuss your unique requirements. Our rooms, dining facilities and marquee provide a comfortable environment for a traditional lunch or dinner for up to 60 people, an intimate and elegant dining space for 12 to 40 diners or al fresco BBQ’s and suppers on the terrace. We are an ideal venue for small wedding celebrations (up to 80 guests) where much of the club can be exclusively booked. We can also host a modern business meeting or lecture with all the latest audio/ visual equipment and air conditioning. Contact the office to discuss your requirements.


Royal Dart Yacht Club Priory St, Kingswear, Dartmouth, TQ6 0AB Tel: 01803 752496 Email: office@royaldart.co.uk www.royaldart.co.uk


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