Oldest model yacht club in the world??? - RC Groups
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Apr 11, 2007, 09:15 AM
rcminiman's Avatar

Oldest model yacht club in the world???

Hi guys.

I have been wondering where model yachting as a sport first originated. I have always been led to believe that my club was one of, if not the first club in the world to be sailing competitively.
The sailing of models in competition here has been documented to go back to 1903, and a cup dating from then is still sailed for. It is still in spectacular condition, and is THE cup to sail for in the year.
The local fishermen from here used to sail models of their fishing boats for fun, and then began racing competitively. There are stories about racing models on an island called Stroma, just a few miles north of John O Groats in the 1800's, but no paper evidence exists as far as Im aware.
I would like to hear about the originating clubs and sailors from around the world.
Over to you guys.......

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Apr 11, 2007, 09:59 AM
Mmm, tugs...
patmat2350's Avatar
SFMYC was founded 1898.


Apr 11, 2007, 10:21 AM
rcminiman's Avatar
Nice one Patmat. Looks like im going to have to search for the older evidence after all!!
I know there are still surviving yachts from the mid/late 1800's around here, and they are faithful copies of the local fishing boats dating to the same era, with lug sails and false keel strips. I will visit the local museum for pics of them.
Apr 11, 2007, 10:33 AM
Registered User

Early Clubs

An article in "Model Yachting" Issue 146 titled "The History of Model Yachting" mentioned "The earliest documentary records we have of organized model yachting come from Brooklyn, New York, where a club formed to sail on the lake in Prospect Park in 1872."

The article is from an American prospective. It wouldnt surprise me if there were earlier records of British races twenty years before this.
Apr 11, 2007, 09:22 PM
Silly Old Fart
CaptainBit's Avatar
The Christchurch Model Yacht Club in New Zealand was founded in 1898 and has been in continous operation ever since.
Apr 27, 2007, 09:59 PM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
craig_c's Avatar
Originally Posted by rcminiman
I have been wondering where model yachting as a sport first originated. I have always been led to believe that my club was one of, if not the first club in the world to be sailing competitively. . .<clip>
Barry . . .

Although the Central Park Model Yacht Club site shows their founding as 1916; at the San Francisco Model Yacht Club, a club tradition in years past held that the SFMYC was the second oldest yacht club in the US. The Central Park club supposedly having been founded two years previous in 1896 though it seems now that that was in error.

There was also a tradition of model yacht racing in San Francisco preceding 1898 according to the lore. It was reportedly regarded as a ‘rich man’s’ sport with sizable amounts of money wagered and the boats being polled along the shore by the ‘gentlemen’s gentleman.’

I would bet that the first models raced sometime soon right after someone learned how to hollow out logs. The oldest documented static model boat prize has to go to the Egyptians who were making model boats as grave goods as far back as 5000 years. It would indeed be quite interesting to find out when the modern model yachting / boating was started and organized.


(Course those bloody English have everybody tarred... their yacht clubs date back as far as 1720 (The Royal Cork Yacht Club of Cork, Ireland), though the Russians dispute this claiming the Neva Yacht Club of St. Petersburg dates back to April 12, 1718!!! ) But of course they're not MODEL yacht clubs...)
Last edited by craig_c; Aug 30, 2010 at 05:14 AM.
Apr 30, 2007, 11:40 PM
Registered User
I wouldn't be surprised if you went back beyond recorded history to the ancient Egyptian culture, you'd find boat clubs- and also model boat clubs.. They really loved their boats, and I'd be that they had clubs of sorts and did competitions of all kinds. Just not the radio-controlled kind.

That leads me to say that the original question could be re-phrased to the recent era of models either radio-controlled or free-sailing?

May 01, 2007, 11:05 AM
rcminiman's Avatar
Here is a video of model yacht racing here in the early 1930's

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