About Us


Not far from the M3 and M27, the Club is conveniently situated in Hamble village in its own extensive riverside setting. Being centrally located in the Solent, the River Hamble provides an ideal location for sailing inshore to the Isle of Wight, along the south coast or offshore to The Channel Islands, France and beyond.

We aim to have as much fun off the water as on. We pride ourselves in offering a relaxed, yet professional environment to support our members’ boating needs.

We offer our Members walk-ashore and mid-stream moorings, courtesy launches, active sailing and social programmes, dinghy and outboard storage, maintenance berths, laundry, showers, parking, full bar and catering. Through our affliation with Hamble River Sailing Club, our members are able to use the RYA Training offered by that club at member rates, see HRSC Training

Anyone is welcome to book our Clubhouse accommodation and enjoy our event facilities in our waterside grounds. Please browse our web pages, contact the office to arrange a visit to the club or watch this short video….

Our History

In the 1930’s Calshot, at the entrance to Southampton Water, was an RAF Flying Boat Unit. The officers sailed a few National 14 dinghies, and some yacht owners had moorings on Ower Creek. This loose gathering of enthusiastic sailors became the embryo of our club today. The Commander-In-Chief, Coastal Command agreed to formalise the sailing group, and the title Royal Air Force Yacht Club was granted.

At the inaugural meeting, Calshot Station Commander, Group Captain H R Nicholl CBE, was elected the first Commodore and the annual subscription was set at £1. A room in Calshot Castle was used as the headquarters. Subsequently, two wooden huts on the foreshore were acquired. The Club and members’ yachts were moored in the creek, and dinghies were ‘parked’ on a flying boat slipway. Members enjoyed many happy sailing adventures until the onset of WW2, when the club was, out of necessity, disbanded.

In 1947 at the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly, the few original surviving members met, and Air Marshal Sir Arthur Conningham was elected Commodore. The Air Ministry presented him with the contents of the ‘Wings Club”, which had been established for wartime airmen visiting London. The furniture was moved to the two huts on the foreshore at Calshot, reclaimed by the Club Secretary, now Group Captain AM Carey.

The Club was in business once again, and one of the first tasks was to bring back the Windfall yachts from Germany; these prizes of war, had been built, for use by the members of the Luftwaffe. The whole fleet was sailed back to the UK by the three services, with the RAFYC having responsibility for the RAF allocation to Calshot.

During the next few years, little thought was given to development of the Club, and membership was static until Group Captain E F Haylock (Retd), the editor of Yachting World, became Commodore in 1951. He persuaded the Committee that the Club would always struggle to develop at Calshot, and would need to move to a more accessible location to succeed. Many schemes were mooted but, by chance, he heard that Riverside House had been purchased by Port Hamble to enable it to increase its foreshore holdings.

The 100-year old building stood in 3 acres of ground, stretching down to the river. It was empty, in a bad state of repair and needed much attention. An approach was made to the directors of Port Hamble who were prepared to sell for £20,000. However, Group Captain Haylock was the essence of persuasion and he reached agreement to buy the whole property for £6000!

Further persuasion convinced Air Marshal Sir Leslie Hollingworth that the Royal Air Force should have a clubhouse and facilities to rival other Service Yacht Clubs. The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir John Slessor, agreed and authorised a long-term loan. Extra expenses and legal fees of £1000 arose; however, a generous RAFYC member, H S Whiteside, (who owned ‘Skaggerack’, a 100 ton yacht built for Goering) settled these bills.

On 10th of May 1952, Sir John Slessor opened Riverside House. It proved to be popular! Membership increased, and RAF Calshot donated one of the original huts to assist with providing much needed extra space. In later years Riverside House itself has been extended.

From these early days, the club now warmly welcomes non-service members who continue to support the Club’s development, most recently in 2015, with the development of walk-ashore moorings within the Prince Philip Yacht Haven. An early club handbook can be viewed here.

The club actively seeks records and pictures to help capture and build on the history of the Club. Please contact the office(I am sure you can figure out what goes here)rafyc.co.uk if you have items or information of interest to share.

Images above courtesy of Hampshire Airfields.

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Club Constitution & Protocols

We would like all members to feel comfortable knowing what they can expect. So, to help you, here you will find more detail about the Club’s Articles, Rules and Bylaws, etiquette and protocols observed by members of the Royal Air Force Yacht Club.

Royal Warrant, Club Burgee and Battle Flags

Abridged from the Club’s Byelaws:
As a privileged yacht club, the RAFYC has been authorised to fly a defaced Blue Ensign from its own premises and for those members who comply with the terms of our Royal Warrant. Those terms require that permits under the warrant may only be issued to full members who are boat owners and that boat is not operated commercially. The defaced ensign should be raised and lowered at the times specified by the warrant and may only be flown with the permit holder aboard.

A Club Burgee can be flown by full and temporary members. Club burgees must be flown when the Ensign is flown and are normally flown from the starboard cross tree or the highest part of the mast that is reasonable. Some Club Officer positions attract a unique burgee to signify their role.

A Battle Flag may be flown by members on rallies.

RAFYC Blue Ensign

Club Burgee

Battle Flag

The Admiral’s Flag is a rectangular light blue flag incorporating superimposed red, white and blue discs with, in gold, The Royal Air Force Eagle holding an anchor in its claw.

Commodore: Light blue swallow-tailed Pennant with red, white and blue discs superimposed.
Vice-Commodore: As Commodore’s Pennant, but with one white ball.
Rear Commodores: As Commodore’s Pennant, but with two white balls.
Past Commodores: As Commodore’s Pennant, but with a white cross in the first Canton.

Other Protocols

Dress Code

Dress code in the Club is normally clean, tidy, shore-going wear with tailored shorts being allowed 1st May to 30th September and in the winter during the day only before 1900 hrs. The rules also state no bare feet or oilskins, coats or sea boots in the bar, dining area or lounge. (these items can be secured in the locking racks outside the changing rooms).

For organised events, the dress code is normally signified by (C) Casual, (J&T) Jacket and Tie for gentlemen, (F) Formal wear.


Guests are welcome in the club and grounds, in your company and you must first sign them in the guest book.

Car Park

We do ask that your consideration is given to the proper use of the car park as outlined in Bylaw 1.8 (updated in 2021). Only members’ cars issued with the current permit may use the facility. Should you be absent for a long period, you may wish to leave your keys securely with the office in the event that your vehicle needs to be moved. Improper use of our car can cause a significant detriment to fellow members.

Guests aren’t entitled to use the parking facilities unless prior permission was granted. Please contact the office in advance for any such request to be considered.

From time to time, non-members for example, people who have booked our events facilities, may be granted use of a specific number of spaces, at times that the club is generally not busy.

Prince Philip Yacht Haven

To ensure the mutual convenience and enjoyment of our newly opened, walk-ashore facilities in the Price Philip Yacht Haven, access to and use of are subject to a set of rules, which can be found below.


Yacht Haven Berthing Rules 167.86 KB 306 downloads


Club Objectives

The Club has some long–standing and constant objectives, which are reviewed and discussed from time to time. The most recent full review yielded the below content. We review our activities and make our decisions in context of our objectives and we share that with members in forums such as the AGM and in the Half-Year review which generally takes place in April or May.

Charities & Trusts

List of RAFYC supported or recognised charities and trusts.

Reciprocal Clubs

The RAFYC has a number of clubs with which we reciprocate, this means that as a member of this Club you will be made welcome there. In most cases you should call ahead to confirm availability.


Hamble River Sailing Club
Royal Yachting Association

Reciprocal Arrangements

Cruising Association
Lymington Town Sailing Club
Parkstone Yacht Club – Poole
Royal Cornwall Yacht Club
Royal Dorset Yacht Club
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
Royal Naval & Royal Albert Yacht Club
RNVR Yacht Club
Royal Southampton Yacht Club
Royal Victoria Yacht Club
Royal Malta (Valetta) Yacht Club

Flag Officers (Executive Directors)

Commodore David Le Mare commodore(I am sure you can figure out what goes here)rafyc.co.uk
Vice-Commodore Gail Foster vicecomm(I am sure you can figure out what goes here)rafyc.co.uk
Rear-Commodore Premises John Watts rcpremises(I am sure you can figure out what goes here)rafyc.co.uk
Rear-Commodore Hospitality Jon Searle rchospitality(I am sure you can figure out what goes here)rafyc.co.uk
Rear-Commodore Sailing Marc Donoghue rcsailing(I am sure you can figure out what goes here)rafyc.co.uk
Honorary Treasurer Hilly Guerandel treasurer(I am sure you can figure out what goes here)rafyc.co.uk
Honorary Secretary David Jobson honsec(I am sure you can figure out what goes here)rafyc.co.uk

Non Executive Directors

Donna Anderson John Best
Rob Crighton Pauline Granaghan
Elaine Keywood Simon Mayer
Jean Millet

Property Company Directors

William Roche Chairman
Andy Valentine (to be ratified) Honorary Secretary
Anne Carty
Caroline Diffey
Andrew Lord Previous Commodore


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The Royal Air Force Yacht Club, Riverside House, Rope Walk
Hamble. SO31 4HD +44 (0)23 8045 2208
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