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Starcross Yacht Club celebrating 250 years

by Ian Purvis 29 Jun 2022 19:46 BST
The first Friday Evening Junior Sailing of 2022 at Starcross © Andrew Paley

Starcross Yacht Club was the first sailing club to be founded in England, and is celebrating its 250th Anniversary in July.

Situated at Powderham Point on the River Exe, in the grounds of Powderham Castle, it was founded by the then Lord Courtenay in 1772 with others of the nobility. Sailing activities called 'FĂȘtes Marines' or regattas were organised which were regularly documented in the "Exeter Flying Post". These 'FĂȘte Marines were held every few years, evolving into the Starcross Regatta and eventually the Exe Regatta now held annually.

SYC resided in the Courtenay Arms in Starcross for many years before moving to its current location at Powderham Point, site of the estate's former watermen's cottages in 1957.

The Club will mark its 250th Anniversary with three days of sailing events and an evening of food and entertainment at Powderham Castle in July

Today SYC flourishes, with over 600 members including the present Earl, Charlie Courtenay, who is a Patron and keen family sailor. Activities include varied aspects of boating: dinghy racing with many Class boats, racing catamarans with the largest Hurricane fleet in the country. Dinghy cruising, canoeing, windsurfing and paddle boarding are all popular activities. The larger cruising boats of which there are now 40 moored off the foreshore in summer, regularly sail the South Coast and to the Channel Islands, often in the company of other boats.

SYC today not only offers racing and pleasure sailing for its Members but also Royal Yachting Association sail training courses for juniors and adults. This year the Club received an award form the John Merricks Sailing Trust which enabled the purchase of 6 state of the art sail training boats for the junior sailors. The all-important power boat training for safety boat crews and those of other clubs on the river is organised and run from the Club's premises.

Members come from a wide area of Devon to enjoy the events and camaraderie at SYC. Open events draw competitors from all over the country, and new Members are always welcome.

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