The end of an era

Ocean Village Clubhouse, home for 30 years

The Royal Southampton Yacht Club has closed the doors on its prestigious base for 30 years in Southampton’s Ocean Village.

The Club has moved its principal operations to its out of town clubhouse, Gins on the Beaulieu River at St Leonards, near Bucklers Hard.

The move follows the sale of the clubhouse and its commanding position on the waterfront, along with the club’s holdings at Ocean Village to marina operator MDL, and follows a change in the pattern of the use of the clubhouse. The sale puts the Club, which has been debt free for many years, on a sound financial footing to meet changing demands.

Administrative operations are now based at Southampton Water Activity Centre, Floating Bridge Road, SO14 3FL.   Club activities on the water will be unaffected and its year-round full racing programme has already been drawn up for the next 12 months. The cruising programme will also continue.

But changes are anticipated in the Club’s social programme with most regular events switched to Gins.

Commodore Anthony Knight said: ‘We need to evolve as a Club to ensure that we can sustain ourselves into the future and be relevant to new generations of sailor.

‘These challenges are not exclusive to us and there have been consultations with other premier clubs to understand how they have responded to these challenges. There are no plans to merge with other clubs but we will look for opportunities to work more closely with like-minded ones both to reduce costs and to improve the offer to our members.’

The Club has occupied its prime position on the city’s waterfront at Ocean Village since 1988, a year after the foundation stone was laid by the Admiral, Prince Michael of Kent. It has held the rare privilege of enjoying two clubhouses, for more than 50 years, with its second clubhouse at Gins, long regarded as the Club’s ‘jewel in the crown.’

It is now set to become the Club’s prime base, on the banks of the Beaulieu River and part of the Beaulieu Estate, home of the Montagu family. It was the present Lord Montagu’s late father, the third Baron Montagu who was instrumental in making the land available and establishing the Gins clubhouse. He was a Commodore of the Club in the 1980s.

Gins Clubhouse, on the Beaulieu River