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Ballyholme Yacht Club

28th July 2009

In the late 19th century several attempts were made to start a second yacht club in Bangor. Royal Ulster Yacht Club had been founded in 1866, membership there limited to the wealthy upper class, many of whom came from outside Bangor. Local people of more limited means, desiring a club for local enthusiasts, set up Bangor Bay Sailing Club, then Bangor Corinthian Sailing Club and finally, in 1900 formed Ballyholme Sailing Club (BSC) and commenced racing in 1901. A Clubhouse was built which stands today as the Kingsland Tennis Pavilion. Sadly, the Club had to close when World War I began as members went to serve in the war, the Clubhouse and its grounds passing into the hands of the local Council.

In 1919, after a regatta at Ballyholme, members of the original BSC decided to revive their club and so it was, in 1920, Ballyholme Yacht Club evolved and thus it has been known to the present day. A wooden clubhouse measuring 18' x 5' was built, consisting of a locker room and battery, expanding in 1938 to include a lounge and basic galley the cost being £100. Membership in 1938 was approximately 170 and the subscription income £80. World War II interrupted further development but the Club still remained active, 1940 being the only year in which no racing was held.

The Club continued to flourish in the post-war years and in 1956 a new Clubhouse (now the Cadet Room) was built at a cost of £2,800 which was, for this era, a state of the art building. The old wooden Clubhouse was demolished in 1963 being replaced by the two-storey building that now includes the office, the lounge and ladies' toilets. In 1971, after long and controversial debate, a bar was opened for the first time, prior to this the Club was 'dry' except for rare occasions. Membership had by now passed the one thousand mark and there was further development for the Club when the North Dinghy Park and slip was completed in 1974/75; the single storey section which houses the Jubilee Room, galley, gents' changing room and showers was completed in 1977. The completion of the Rescue and Training Building in 1996 is the most recent stage in the development of the Club.

Initially racing took place in various handicap classes, then one-design classes appeared; the members built Lake class boats and acquired Waverleys from their original home in Whitehead. Seabirds, Snipes and others came and went, then in 1938 members aspiring to have their own individual one-design class, prompted the building of the Ballyholme One-Design Class. Nine boats were built in Scotland for £80 each and seven of this class are still racing today. The class officially changed its name to the Ballyholme Bay Class in 1948. 

Ballyholme Yacht Club, Seacliff Road, Bangor, Co. Down BT20 5HT. Tel:028 9145 4768. Email: [email protected]

(Details courtesy of Ballyholme Yacht Club)

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