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Upper Thames Motor Yacht Club
A Brief History of UTMYC

Formed in 1946 under the title of the 'Upper Thames Motor Boat Club', with the object of enabling a number of gentlemen owners of small river motor boats to enjoy the beauties and amenities of the River Thames in each other's company.

This was a purely social club. It had no specific headquarters; members kept their boats in various locations and would foregather from time to time, generally at each other's houses, or at some convenient hostelry. As their numbers grew and the members became well known on the river, the Club decided to rent a portion of the river bank below Phyllis Court for the duration of the Annual Henley Royal Regatta.

This became an instant success and from probably an initial 6-10 boats the number of moorings increased annually, so that by 1960 the number had increased to 29 or 30 extended downstream as far as Remenham Club, on the opposite bank.
As the number of members increased, so did the size and types of vessels. From pure river craft the fleet had expanded to include a number of sea-going boats.

>In 1964, some 6 or 8 of the intrepid owners decided to temporarily forsake the Upper Reaches of the River and venture down into the tidal waters. A cruise to Tilbury proved a great success and led to regular summer cruises of up to 20 or more boats as far afield as the Medway.

All this time members were investing in larger and larger yachts and voyages to foreign climes began to seem a possibility and more than mere dreams. As a result, in 1966 an Emergency General Meeting was held and it was agreed to alter the name of the Club to 'The Upper Thames Motor Yacht Club', as being more in keeping with the type of yachts and the expanding aspirations of the owners.

In the following years, Club and individual cruises were made to France, Belgium, and Holland, and a very successful Club cruise to the Solent in 1976 was celebrated by a dinner at the Island Sailing Club at Cowes. Meanwhile, on the river, the Club still had no permanent Headquarters. Rallies were held up and down the River at various rendezvous, Bushnell's Island, the Islands opposite the Hartslock Woods above Pangbourne, Cookham, The White Hart at Sonning, etc. In 1968, however, it was decided to build a permanent Headquarters and in that year, with the kind consent of Col. Phillimore, a clubhouse was erected on the Mill Island at Sonning. This was formally opened on 29th September 1968, by Mr. J.R. Pearce, OBE, Chairman of the Association of Thames Yacht Clubs.

All this time the skill of the crews was improving. This was well demonstrated by a series of successes in the Annual Association of Thames Yacht Clubs competition, both as a Club team and as individuals. During the 46 years of the Association of Thames Yacht Clubs rallies, the Club has been the Team winner of the Motor Boat & Yachting Trophy on 12 occasions, whilst members have won the trophy for individual winners on a number of occasions.

In 1975 the Committee felt that the Club were in a position to organise a major competition and, with the members agreement, a boat handling competition for Individual Skippers, to be known as the Yachtmaster Competition and open to nominations from all Clubs within the A.T.Y.C., was held at Sonning. This proved a success and has now become an annual event on the River.

As a founder Club of the Association of Thames Yacht Clubs, and the largest Club on the Upper Reaches of the Thames, the Committee considered it appropriate to assist other clubs and private owners in obtaining proficiency in handling their craft, and has arranged, under the auspices of the Royal Yachting Association, that our Clubhouse be set up as the Examination Centre for the R.Y.A. Certificates of Competency. It is also a base for Radiotelephone examinations under the Dept. of Trade.

Above all the Upper Thames Motor Yacht Club strives to provide those facilities so necessary for boating leisure, i.e. development of efficient and safe handling of craft, whether inland or coastal, and to promote friendship and sociability with all users of the River Thames.>

Page Last Modified :
21 September 2013
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