The new facility at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club was officially opened on 21 April by the club's patron, The Princess Royal.
There was cheering and flag waving as the patron of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club, The Princess Royal officially opened the club’s new pontoon complex on 21 April.
The Princess was welcomed to the club by the Commodore Dunlop Stewart, before she toured the pontoons. She met with many of the club’s sailors as well as local junior sailors representing Wednesday Junior Sailing. This scheme has been training children from local schools for over 30 years, and is supported by the club.
The new pontoons include many innovative features including a high pressure hose facility, Wifi, and security cameras which can be accessed by any approaching vessel to check space availability via a mobile phone app.
To celebrate the occasion there was a sail past of boats representing all areas from cruising and racing to the club’s workboats.
Vice Commodore, Royal Lymington Yacht Club, Clive Sparrow said: “The Royal Lymington Yacht Club was founded in 1922 and it is one of the largest yacht clubs in the UK with a number of very high profile successful sailors. The Princess Royal has been our patron since 1980 and is a keen sailor herself. We are delighted that she has been able to officially open our new pontoon complex today and meet many of our members who are representing the club’s seven dinghy classes, six keelboat classes, the cruising section and local young sailors.”
He continued: “HRH The Princess Royal has been our patron for 36 years and thoroughly enjoys sailing, especially on the West coast of Scotland where she and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence keep their Rustler 44, Ballochbuie. She is very supportive of the Club and its activities – in particular to promote youth sailing amongst the local community. Known to be a good sailor our Patron has enjoyed several opportunity to race on the Solent onboard a Club members’ boat.”
After talking with some of the many members present, Her Royal Highness unveiled a commemorative plaque.
The redesigned layout of the pontoons enables the club to maximise the use of the waterfront available to members, yacht and dinghy racing, training, junior sailing, cruising and visiting yachtsmen.
The project to replace the Royal Lymington Yacht Club’s pontoons have been two years in the planning.
According to the club’s website, work started on 4 January and was carried out by contractor Walcon Marine Ltd.
Initially, the gangway and remaining wooden piles were removed before the area was dredged.
Piling and installation of a new bridgehead, which the gangway is fitted to, was carried out before the new pontoons were brought in by barge. Once these were installed, the gangway and new mast derrick was craned into position.
The pontoons, which were funded by the club and its members, are equipped with new power and water feeds, new pedestals, LED lighting and data cabling for Wifi access and CCTV.
The Vice Commodore, Royal Lymington Yacht Club, Clive Sparrow said: “The previous structure was over 30 years old and beyond economic repair. The modern redesign, which is some 1,500 sq. m., is able to provide berthing for up to 10 yachts, 15 ribs and 75 dinghies. We have been able to maximise the waterfront space available which benefits not only our 2,400 Club members but offers more berthing space to visiting yachtsmen throughout the racing and cruising season. We have also set aside additional space on the new pontoon for local young people learning to sail with the Club’s community youth training programme, Wednesday Junior Sailing.”
Through the work, the site was off limits to club members, but they could view the progress of the project via a camera located on the upper balcony of the club. The live video feed was accessible via the Royal Lymington Yacht Club’s website. A full schedule of the work was also available.
Anne, the Princess Royal, who is a keen sailor, has been the club’s patron since 1980, taking part in the club’s annual regatta in July 1992. She also visited visited junior sailors in 2009 as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the club’s Wednesday junior sailing programme.
The Royal Lymington Yacht Club is one of the largest clubs in the UK with a membership of 2,400 that includes many high profile sailors including America’s Cup Challenger and Olympic medallist Sir Ben Ainslie, six times world match racing champion Ian Williams and Olympic gold medallist Pippa Wilson.
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