The authority to grant members the "privilege" of wearing a blue or white ensign was granted to a number of long established yacht clubs in recognition of the fact that their members made a hugely important contribution to the manning of the coastal forces in both world wars. Very large numbers of these yachtsmen lost their lives as a result of their service in both conflicts. Coastal Forces was a dangerous service.
Service yacht clubs such as RNSA and RAFSA have their own ensigns in recognition of their service connections.
Some other organisations, of which the Little Ship Club and the Cruising Association are examples, have the authority to grant warrents in recognition of their services to small craft seamanship.
If we can wear the red duster with pride in the achievements of those who sailed under it (which are, after all, not our personal achievements) why not the blue, the white or the RAF's light blue, with the same roundel on the fly, I presume, as the one that was painted on the wings of spitfires?
The "snobbery" associated with these ensigns is, in fact, an artificial, inverted snobbery that betrays a great deal more about the person who makes the accusation than about the accused.
This is another of those topics that makes me wonder why on earth it matters so much to people - especially when I see people going out of their way to mention the colour of an ensign when sneering at someone else's perceived misdeeds.
Sometimes it seems to me that there are parallel universes here. The one created on this forum and the the one in which I live and sail. Happily, there is more convergence between the two on the PBO and East Coast forums.
Last edited by Litotes; 14-04-12 at 10:06.
A british yacht (whether registered or by virtue of her ownership) is subject to the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/21/contents, even when she's abroad. (That is what being "a British ship" means!). For most, the MSA95 requires us to fly our national flag when entering or leaving a foreign port. Failing to do so is an offence under UK Law as well as under most foreign countries' laws, so you could get done for it twice.
For most of us, not flying it in British waters is not an offence.
- Up to £50k for flying foreign colours if tried in a magistrates court
- £unlimited and/or up to two years inside for flying foreign colours if it goes to crown court.
- £5k for flying the wrong British flag if tried in a magistrates court
- £unlimited for flying the wrong flag if it goes to crown court.
And you can be caught by any commissioned naval or military officer, a customs officer, or a British consular officer. It doesn't happen very often... but it's still law -- and relatively recent law, at that.
Last edited by timbartlett; 14-04-12 at 11:20.
Litotes. An excellent post, I couldn't have put it better myself.
I've always found it rather peculiar (as someone who predominantly reads these here forums, and contributes rarely), that it always seems to be those who claim to have no interest in affairs of ceremony, or flag-waving, who seem to get most pent up over this whole issue.
Yachtie 1, "I look down on him because I have a white ensign."
Yachtie 2, "I look up to him because he has a white ensign," (looking down) "but I look down to him because he has a red ensign." (looking straight) "I have a blue ensign."
Yachtie 3, "I know my place."
Yachtie 1, (looking down) "I get a feeling of superiority over them."
Yachtie 2, (looking up) "I get a feeling of inferiority from him but a (looking down) feeling of superiority over him."
Yachtie 3, (looking up) "I get a pain in the back of my neck."
Many apologies to Cleese, Barker and Corbett
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