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RYS Fleet Review


In full colours.


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Practicing the salute.

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Little steam boat.

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The 2015 Fleet Review took place last weekend with 1st June 2015 seeing the bicentenary of the Royal Yacht Squadron commemorating the inaugural meeting at the Thatched Tavern.

Cowes was full of activity with delicious lobster and crab hampers carried down from the castle to the waiting yachts. On board, elegant gentlemen and old sea dogs were adorned in white trousers and blazers, their buttons and yachts perfectly polished.

The Yacht Club, as the Squadron was first known, was founded at the Thatched House Tavern in St James’s, London, on the 1st of June 1815. The qualification entitling a gentleman to become a member was the ownership of a vessel not under 10 tonnes. Today this is interpreted as a gentleman “actively interested in yachting”. A plain white burgee graced the masthead of members’ yachts; they also wore a plain white ensign with the union in the canton. In 1821 this was changed to a red burgee and ensign.

Only members of the Squadron (some 400) & Her Majesty’s Ships have the privilege of flying the white ensign.

The modern Squadron is doing some remarkable things on the island including providing scholarships to those keen to enter the yachting industry that, without this help, would not be able to.

As part of the celebrations, yachts from all over the world met at Cowes. Included in this were the Royal Yachts of Denmark and Finland. HMS Northumberland, who incidentally has a wonderful Lady Captain, was the largest of the Navy's ships present.

When the Royal Procession inspected each yacht, the crew were to give three ‘Hip Hip Hoorays’ with their uniform or white caps waved in the air. The strong wind earlier in the morning meant that some of the white caps had an early sea grave (and rumor has it that in some yachts plates became substitutes!). This was, to me, a wonderful example of what Britain does best - the glamour, the humor and the history.

Inspecting the fleet was HRH Duke of Edinburgh, who bares the title ‘Lord High Admiral’, with Princess Anne, Albert of Monaco & Prince Michael of Kent. Other Royals were also present including the Ex-King of Spain.

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