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An issue of perception.

scruff

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Joined
2 Mar 2007
Messages
1,070
Location
Over here
Back in the day, the RYS used to ban those who were "in trade"/"with trade" (?) from membership.
As a somewhat ironic anecdote I've only met one RYS member on our travels - he made such a performance to ensure sure all in the vicinity saw the wad of twenties in his hand when he was paying the harbour master it was cringeworthy and rather gauche. It brought to mind a cash-in-hand apprentice tradesman in the pub on his first payday!
 

mjcoon

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Joined
18 Jun 2011
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3,293
Location
Berkshire, UK
As mjcoon points out, Sir Thomas Lipton, a purveyor of tea, failing to be deemed a “gentleman” challenged for the America’s Cup under the auspices of the Royal Ulster YC.
Thanks for clarifying and adding detail; I'm not a tea drinker and could not remember his proper name!
 

dom

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Joined
17 Dec 2003
Messages
6,584
I think more specifically, the conceit was that it was a club for gentlemen. Back in them thar days, the term gentleman was specific to being a member of the landed gentry; being in trade was not considered the occupation of a gentleman (this was not specific to yacht clubs, but of society in general).

As mjcoon points out, Sir Thomas Lipton, a purveyor of tea, failing to be deemed a “gentleman” challenged for the America’s Cup under the auspices of the Royal Ulster YC.

One of the lesser discussed causes of the First World War was that the Kaiser, (who was desperate to join the squadron),was blackballed on more than one occasion on the basis that he wasn’t a gentleman (he was by all accounts a notorious cheat at racing). He was reportedly furious about it.

My late and much lamented Uncle, with whom I did much of my sailing in my youth, went in 1939 from a modest home in Yorkshire to Dartmouth, aged 13 (where his Yorshire accent was beaten and bullied out if him). Following a successful Naval career followed by an even more successful one in Law, he became a member of the RYS. For him it was a crowning glory, a validation of the success that he had made of his life.

Vanity, perhaps, but a fairly harmless one. His kids certainly took the piss out if him for it, but they weren’t the ones who had pulled themselves up by their own boot straps.

Great story and credit to your uncle!! We've moved office now but used to be located right opposite the Carlton Club on St James and went over for a drink one evening.

As the story goes, in 1975, Margaret Thatcher was made an honorary member of the Carlton Club when she became leader of the Conservatives, and as she was the only female full member, it fell to the Club Secretary to explain to her the remaining restrictions.

Which she promptly ignored! Club Secretary was subsequently hauled before the Committee or whatever and ask to explain himself and in particular, why he hadn't enforced the rules as required.

Whereupon the Secretary spluttered, Well you bloody tell her then!" and nobody mentioned the matter again :)
 

Gary Fox

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Joined
31 Oct 2020
Messages
718
What's the best way to approach a RYS member?
Genuine question, he has a vacant parking space to die for, perfect for my 1895 44 ton gaff cutter.
( Ihave seen him casting appreciative glances upon her lovely lines.)
Is there a secret handshake, or some codewords to slip into a casual conversation?
I researched the masonic code and it got me off a speeding fine, because I told the beak I was ''on the level'. Is it the same kind of routine, or do I risk being black balled for sheer effrontery?
 

Frogmogman

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Joined
26 Aug 2012
Messages
962
Great story and credit to your uncle!! We've moved office now but used to be located right opposite the Carlton Club on St James and went over for a drink one evening.

As the story goes, in 1975, Margaret Thatcher was made an honorary member of the Carlton Club when she became leader of the Conservatives, and as she was the only female full member, it fell to the Club Secretary to explain to her the remaining restrictions.

Which she promptly ignored! Club Secretary was subsequently hauled before the Committee or whatever and ask to explain himself and in particular, why he hadn't enforced the rules as required.

Whereupon the Secretary spluttered, Well you bloody tell her then!" and nobody mentioned the matter again :)
I can’t remember which London Club it was, but I remember a story about one of the previous Dukes of Westminster, on visiting a club, was asked by one of the members “do you belong to this club?”

He replied “I think you’ll find that it is this club that belongs to me”.
 

Poignard

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Joined
8 Oct 2018
Messages
15,204
Location
London and Brittany
Years ago I was anchored at Port Manec'h, Brittany, one summer's evening and a large yacht flying the RYS ensign came and anchored nearby.

The three middle-aged gentlemen from her went ashore in their dinghy and returned a couple of hours later. Their cabin lights were soon extinguised and silence reigned. Presumably they had dined well and 'looked upon the grape when it was red'.

A while later, approaching low water, I got up to check whether I had done my secondary port calculations properly. I had, and went on deck for a look round. The RYS yacht was aground and leaning over. Unable to sleep I continued watching until at low water she was at an alarming angle; the sort of angle that would have tipped anybody on the high side out of his bunk.

I watched for quite a while but no lights came on and there were no signs of movement on board. I went back to bed and when I got up next morning they had gone.

I was quite impressed by the sang-froid of her crew. Having realised they could do nothing, they didn't bother to try.
 

DJE

Well-known member
Joined
21 Jun 2004
Messages
7,109
Location
Fareham
What's the best way to approach a RYS member?
Genuine question, he has a vacant parking space to die for, perfect for my 1895 44 ton gaff cutter.
( Ihave seen him casting appreciative glances upon her lovely lines.)
Is there a secret handshake, or some codewords to slip into a casual conversation?
I researched the masonic code and it got me off a speeding fine, because I told the beak I was ''on the level'. Is it the same kind of routine, or do I risk being black balled for sheer effrontery?
Did quite a bit of racing on a RYS boat in Hong Kong a few years ago now. I believe that one must be invited to join the Squadron and apart from that I never heard of secret society nonsense.
(Sailing in Chinese waters under the white ensign showed a bit of chutzpah I think.)
 

Solent Sailor

Active member
Joined
9 Feb 2018
Messages
206
Rumour in my Royal club is that RYS membership is first and foremost for those who have served (forces, not below stairs). Personally, I have my doubts and think it is who you know, as if normally the way.
 

dom

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Joined
17 Dec 2003
Messages
6,584
The Torygraph is running a series on Chips Channon, an American author and diarist who moved to Paris in 1917, hobnobbed with the rich and famous, then moved to London to become a Conservative politician, author and diarist. He became more English than the English beginning to dislike American cultural and economics which he viewed as an affront to British and French civilisation.
The Chips Channon Diaries: ‘Saw Tallulah Bankhead. She was soon naked, I next’

Here's a wonderful extract from his diary:

1926
February 12

At eleven, sleep refusing to share my bed, and the fluids of life warming in my flesh, I arose, dressed and went out into the wet London night adventure-bound. My nose led me to the St Martin’s Theatre. By chance Tallulah Bankhead was disengaged. I sat in her dressing room and watched the lovely pink creature change, pink stays, pink flimsy garments, pink tummy, all the necessary ingredients for a young blood’s delight. A friend of hers was there and we played a game called ‘Stripping Words’. Tallulah was soon naked, I next, the friend last. Later, they watched interestedly as I dressed. Noticing this I delayed it, putting on first, my socks, shoes and suspenders. I am very attractive naked, as handsome as my face is dull.
It seems being a bit of a cad was always fine!
:)
 

Gary Fox

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Joined
31 Oct 2020
Messages
718
I wonder if 'Royal' extends to the Saudi Royal family, we train their sons to operate our tanks in Salisbury Plain, (presumably hoping they will buy a few);
I'm not remotely left-wing or resentful of people who were born with a silver spoon in their mouths, they are more a subject for humour, but can't help wondering what the RYS entry criteria are.
In the modern egalitarian social climate, is there a fairly representative % of ethnic minorities in the RYS?
To comply with modern laws, surely they must reserve some places on the board and comittee for the BAME community?
Also, the term 'blackballed' is openly racist, and could fall foul of equality regulations.
 

sgr143

Active member
Joined
26 Jul 2016
Messages
394
Location
Oxford & WicorMarine
These various tales about "being in trade" reminded me of the probably apocryphal tale about William Morris, Lord Nuffield, who despite giving immense amounts of money to Oxford University, and eventually funding a new College that still bears his name, was regarded in the more snobbish University circles as being a bit below the salt. After dining at High Table at one of the posher Colleges, on his way out he was handed his hat by the head Porter:
"Thank you, my man. How do you know this is my hat?"
"I don't sir, but it's the one you gave me when you arrived."
 

Jonny A

Active member
Joined
25 Jul 2018
Messages
109
Perhaps a reaction to the assumed elitism of all who sail for a hobby is the way so many British sailors never refer to their loved one as a yacht, it is merely 'the boat'.
 

pyrojames

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Joined
9 Aug 2002
Messages
2,626
Location
Cambridge
I'm more inclined to think that the reason more folk don't get into yachting is that it involves getting cold and wet and seasick. If your beach hut is doing that to you, something's gone very wrong. Them there's the skill and a degree of fitness needed for the yacht. Not much of either for that hut.
--
That's why I find it odd that so many people sail in the UK. Learning to sail in Oz was just another way to mess about in the water, with the advantage you didn't have to go home afterwards. It was most sunny, nearly always warm and always enjoyable!
 

pyrojames

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9 Aug 2002
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2,626
Location
Cambridge
Oh come on, sailing is largely a sport of the middle and upper classes, just like golf club memberships. Yes there are a lot of old small boats around but just go down to the solent and you will see few boats less than 36 feet and many over 50.
Drop down to your local gravel pit, or tidal creek with their sailing clubs. You'll see far more sailing dinghies and small old stuff out and about actually sailing than the on the Solent.
 

pyrojames

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Joined
9 Aug 2002
Messages
2,626
Location
Cambridge
What's the best way to approach a RYS member?
Genuine question, he has a vacant parking space to die for, perfect for my 1895 44 ton gaff cutter.
( Ihave seen him casting appreciative glances upon her lovely lines.)
Is there a secret handshake, or some codewords to slip into a casual conversation?
I researched the masonic code and it got me off a speeding fine, because I told the beak I was ''on the level'. Is it the same kind of routine, or do I risk being black balled for sheer effrontery?
Several of the members have big classic cutters....
 
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