Welcome to AYC

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Introduction

Aldeburgh Yacht Club, situated on the Suffolk coast, is a large and thriving club catering for all aspects of sailing. Located between the sea and the River Alde one mile south of the town of Aldeburgh the Club is able to organise racing on the river and, for dinghy open meetings and certain other events, on the sea.

Founded in 1897, the Club now benefits from some 1,800 members and has a large modern purpose-built clubhouse constructed in 1992 and extended in 1996.

There is active racing at weekends from April to December with both keelboat and dinghy classes and a more frequent programme, particularly amongst the youth and junior classes, during August. There is also an active cruiser fleet with organised events both locally, in the Thames Estuary and further afield. Members also own a number of motor boats and RIBs/sports boats of various sizes.

The Club has an active social programme and new members are welcomed. Juniors are particularly encouraged with tuition available for both learning to sail and learning to race. Further detail is given below.

 

Racing

Racing is held on Saturdays and bank holidays from the beginning of April to mid December. The racing season begins each year with a Spring handicap series for the “early birds” which runs into May. There is a Club Regatta at the Spring Bank Holiday weekend followed by class racing from end May through to end September. Most classes also hold annual open meetings when “hot shots” from elsewhere come to challenge our members on their home ground. Evening racing on a Wednesday evening starts in mid May and continues to mid September.

In August the Club really thrives with an almost daily programme for the juniors as well as active weekday racing for several of the other classes. The annual Aldeburgh Regatta, held mid August, is typically attended by upwards of 350 boats (upwards of 700 sailors) and sees both close racing and a very active social programme, culminating in the annual regatta ball. Also in August there is a separate junior regatta.

The racing season draws towards its close with two major club handicap races – at the end of September for the Centenary Bowl and the Championship of the Alde, a fifteen mile race downriver, round Havergate Island and back to the Club sailed on a Saturday in mid October, during school half term. The season then concludes with a frostbite handicap series sailed on Sunday mornings from October to mid December.

Classes sailed at the Club are the Dragon and Swallow (three man keelboats) the Squib, Flying Fifteen and Loch Long (two man keelboats), K6, RS400 (fast asymmetric two man dinghy), Wayfarer and Lapwing (two man dinghies), Laser (single-handed dinghy) and Mirror, Topper, Junior Lapwing & Optimist (junior classes).

There is also racing for cruising yachts and Cornish Shrimpers/Norfolk Gypsies in the Regatta and on selected weekends during the season.

 

Sail training and learning to sail

The Club owns a fleet of around 20 boats which are used for sail training for juniors. Week long courses are run for both beginner and intermediate children at the start of the summer holidays in late July. The Club’s junior instructors are available throughout August to lead and advise the children as they progress from the training courses to joining in the racing. There is also an active programme of learning to race in Optimist dinghies on Sunday mornings from May to September which is led by volunteer parents.

Sailing lessons are also available at the Club from May to September for adults and youths.

 

Cruising yachts

In addition to the yacht racing referred to above there is a programme of local weekend cruises in company. Members of the Club regularly cruise long distances and, in a typical season, yachts carrying the Club’s burgee can be found as far afield as the Baltic and Southern Brittany. The Club has a well stocked chart room with charts corrected up to date covering a wide area so that members may plan their cruises.

 

Messing about on the river

In addition to the racing programme, the Alde’s safe and very attractive waters, located on Suffolk’s heritage coast, offer many opportunities for simply enjoying the sport of sailing. Throughout the season club members will typically be found afloat either heading down river where Orford, the Butley River and the narrow shingle spit opposite Havergate Island are favourite destinations or upriver to the sandy beaches of Iken and “Little Japan”. At high water, it is possible to sail right up river to Snape where the Concert Hall, the Maltings shopping area and several public houses await the intrepid sailor.

 

Facilities, membership and social events

The present clubhouse, constructed in 1992, offers members every facility. In addition to good-sized changing rooms and showers (with plenty of hot water), there is a well stocked bar, a kitchen and dining room as well as offices for the secretary and his assistant. The Clubhouse is open daily from April to October with the bar open and lunches and teas available at weekends and bank holidays and on a daily basis during the school summer holidays. Dinners are held on Saturday evenings regularly during the season, frequently to coincide with open meetings.

Membership is open to all and is available following proposal and seconding by two existing full members of the Club. Temporary membership is open for a year to anyone who does not know two existing members. Membership rates are detailed on the membership page of the site. There are additional charges for boat storage, use of the slipways, slipping etc. – please contact the Secretary for further information.

Members benefit from the advice and support offered by the Club’s staff who are:

  • Secretary, David Keates and assistant, Amanda Hillier who run the office keep the club functioning on a daily basis. They also provide regular newsletters and other publications to keep members up to date on club activities. David also oversees the working and supply of the Club bar.
  • Chief boatman, Andy Bryenton assisted by Brian Tibbenham and the rest of the team who between them run the Club’s launch and rescue fleet ferrying members out to their yachts and keelboats, prior to racing and providing a rescue service for any members racing who may need assistance. They also willingly provide advice and help to those requiring it and keep the clubhouse, boats and dinghy park in top condition. Their busiest period is in August when they maintain a watchful eye from the rescue boats especially when the juniors are training or racing.

The Club catering provides everything ranging from simple snacks to full meals to meet members’ needs.