History of Saundersfoot Sailing Club

Before the foundation of the club there had been racing in the bay for some years, the various local history books have pictures of yachts racing in regattas at the turn of the century, and there was some informal competition between local dinghies. These activities formed the nucleus around which the club was formed.

1949: Club formed, by the end of the first year there were 42 members paying 5 shillings each and the club had a balance of £11-4-10. Few records survive from the first few years but the founder members were Vic Morris, Alna Rees, Dr John Talbot, Harold Thomas, Guy de Warren and Eddie Phillips. Racing took place in a variety of open dinghies of around 14 – 16 feet.

1952: Membership increased to 70, the club held its first regatta, competition to design burgee, meetings held in the billiard room of Cambrian Hotel then owned by T Robin, club champion Vic Morris, Lord Merthyr made Redwing no. 6 available for sail training by members, Eddie Phillips was starter and Alna Rees mark layer. Race signals were kept simple with just a 5 min gun and the race flag being lowered to indicate shorten course, races started at 1900 and lasted a max of 2 hours. Problems caused by building of eight Redwings that did not measure these boats were to be called Pembrokeshire Redwings and whilst allowed to race did cause problems for the class.

1953: Club hosts County Regatta, the whole of the harbour area was made available and the car park income used to offset the costs of the regatta, races were run from a double deck bus, red cross girls sold programmes and loud speakers erected to provide commentary of the racing and long shore sports, the Cambrian was renamed as Saundersfoot Sailing Club for the event and toilet facilities for competitors made available at Kelpie Boats. Discussion on the use of spinnakers and on the changes need to handicaps in the case of increasing sail areas the race officer had to be notified in advance if a spinnaker was to be used, drifting races were to be abandoned, class races were considered but racing to remain as one mixed fleet,

1954: Whilst the R.Y.A. rules were considered useful it was decided not to join yet but to reconsider later, starters for the season would be Tom Williams assisted by Bertie Howells and Dai Evans and a starting gun purchased, staggered starts were to be continued for the season in what we would now call a pursuit race style. Motion passed to prohibit the use of spinnakers in club races. Interclub races were held with Tenby 9 dinghies being towed back and for to compete. Objections raised to the creation of a restricted area in the bay for the Pendine range.

1955: Membership now 93, balance £131-16-11,Thought difficult to insist on the wearing of lifejackets or presence of rescue boats, but Alna Rees would act as rescue in his motor boat if it were too rough for him to race. The R.Y.A. were to be asked if there were any recommended race flags that should be used to control races. Concern was expressed over the sandbanks in the harbour. Use of spinnaker accepted and if flown the handicap would be adjusted accordingly.

1956: Up until now racing had taken place on weekday evenings it was suggested that some Sunday races be tried as well, but no points were to be awarded. Notice posted advising that as the club had no rescue boat life jackets should be worn, classes raced included Osprey Redwing Jolly Boat and Merlin Rocket. Discussion took place with Lord Merthyr on creation of dinghy park. Sub committee formed to look into the provision of a clubhouse comprised Ivor Hughes, Cliff Hitchings, Lloyd Edwards, Lawrence Davies and Stanley Edwards.

1957: Building fund set up and after fund raising dances and sale of programmes totalled £661, stone shelter built on pierhead for starters and dinghy park established alongside sluice on area of open land, 231 members, Vic Morris elected Chairman of P.Y.A. Design for club burgee was selected from shortlist after competition unfortunately the name of the winner was not recorded. Problems with non members boats in dinghy park also litter and disused trailers, looked into purchase of club rescue boat, until the Alna Rees would man his boat Silverspray for the season and be paid £20. Good idea to hold club nights. Planning permission refused for the erection of clubhouse in the dinghy park

1958: Inaugural Osprey Championships held at club with around twenty boats and was won by our own Tony Phillips sailing Stardust, he is still the only National Champion we have produced. The boats designer Ian Proctor finished in second place, Saundersfoot Trophy still raced for on the Friday of the championships today.

1959: 346 club members and 189 entries in regatta, Mr W Richards was engaged to provide rescue cover for the year in M.V.Victoria for the sum of £30 to include laying and recovery of marks the Portsmouth Yardstick Scheme was to be used for the first time to establish handicaps and a catamaran presented for the use of junior members in races. No objection was raised to the introduction of trapezes on Ospreys. The club H.Q. was moved to the Argosy

1960: Lord Merthyr elected as clubs first President. Club osprey sold to buy a Mirror to enable juniors to train and join in races

1961: Vagabond Nationals, 237 entries at regatta, 53 boats in dinghy park.

1961: Graduate Nationals paid the club a total of £50 for event

1963: Considered buying the Barbecue but A.G.M. voted in favour of new building or buying The Moorings instead, building committee formed the only surviving members of which are Reg Pyatt, Roger Thomas and Dr. John Parry, by then £2,500 in building fund.

1964: 150 boats at Graduate nationals. Grant aid and loans from members enabled works on clubhouse to start, builders were Veal and Walters and cost estimated at £10,000.

1965: Clubhouse opened and £384 left in bank.

1969: Osprey nationals returned with 99 boats