Bristol Channel Yacht Club
Founded 1875

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Post First World War

In Oct 1919, King Abdul Aziz’s third surviving son ‘the Emir Feisal’ visited Britain to congratulate King George V on the Allied victory W.W.I. Emir Feisal became King of Saudi Arabia in the 1960s and was assassinated in March 1975. During the visit to Britain, in 1919, he was accompanied by his cousin, Sheikh Abdullah al Thunaiyan, Sheikh Abdullah al Qusaibi, the son of a prominent Saudi merchant from the Eastern Province of Al Hasa, and three retainers. The party was escorted by Harry St John B Philby of the Indian Civil Service. Philby was a great Arabian explorer and friend of the Saudi King. He wrote several books about Saudi Arabia. As part of a tour of the provinces, the Emir Feisal came to Swansea, visiting the Bristol Channel Yacht Club on Saturday 8th November 1919. There was a photograph taken and Emir Feisal signed the visitor’s book.

From 1914 to 1921 there was little, or no local sailing. The 1921 regatta revived a pre-war spectacle, which up to that date had no place in post-war BCYC, activities. It was a reminder that things were getting back to normal. Yachting was still considered the sport of the few, with necessary nautical knowledge. In 1926, the BCYC boats Alarm and Alert were broken up and burnt.

In 1926 there were the major Jubilee races of the BCYC. On 26th June 1926 a vast crowd, estimated at 70-80,000 persons came from all parts to watch the regatta in Swansea Bay. Shamrock (the winner) Britannia, White Heather II and Westward competed in the main race for a gold cup presented by the Western Mail. (The Pathe news for 1926 includes a clip from the regatta and can be viewed following this link) A sea plane was in the bay.

In 1929 an estimated crowd of 50,000 witnessed the regatta held on 8th June. White Heather II won the main race (in 5 hours 7 minutes 50 secs) from Shamrock, Cambria and Lulworth. The Western Mail again provided a gold cup. The large regattas helped to enhance the status of the town, were enjoyed by the public and helped to publicise the amenities of the area and the attraction of Swansea Bay.

A major player in the 1926 and 1929 Swansea Bay and Bristol Channel Yacht Club regattas was Major J.P. Rose Richardson, of the Swansea shipping family. He became Commodore of the BCYC. (1930-1932). He was also a founder member and later Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. He finished 5th in the 1921 Fastnet Race, with his yacht Lexia. In 1928 he purchased the “classic yacht” Iolaire. It won the Maas Cup, in 1926 and the Heligoland Race, in 1931. Another of his yachts was Polaris.