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A Brief History of the Club

Hoo Ness Yacht Club

The club burgee depicting a Thames Sailing Barge is a constant reminder of the club's origins and its early history, After the second world war when the barge trade was declining, Geoffrey Dutson began converting barges into houseboats in Whitewall Creek. This activity subsequently moved to Hoo Ness and various people who had an interest in the barges gathered there in what was essentially a Thames Barge Skippers Club.

An association of friends was formed in 1948 and their activities were initially based on a few swinging moorings and the land now used as the western tender park adjacent to Wilsonian Sailing Club. As the number of boats in the area increased, the artificial harbour was formed using redundant concrete lighters and boats for working, living aboard and pleasure sailing gathered there.

A club known as "The Marina Yacht Club" was formed in 1956 with Harold Pinnel as Commodore and it acquired a lease on the building, which today forms the Club's bar area. At that time it looked like the picture displayed over the fireplace now in the club. The painted brick piers supporting the veranda are still there but are now visible within the main body of the present clubhouse. The building is thought to have been built around 1946 under the control of Tony Lapthorne.

The opportunity arose to purchase the freehold of the Club's premises from Mr W. Brice and at an historic EGM held in 1967 a motion was passed to that effect. The necessary money was raised and the purchase was completed in 1968. To mark the change of direction the club was renamed Hoo Ness Yacht Club.

By 1983 the finances of the Club were such that, on the advice of Mr. G. Raine a founder member who was then Treasurer, it was possible to repay all loans and debenture holders and deliver the club free of debt. For many years the bar served both the Yacht Club and the adjacent Social Club. At the insistence of the licensing authorities, the premises were divided about 1983 and the bars have operated separately ever since that time. During the 1960's the emphasis of sailing changed to dinghies and a substantial and active fleet developed. The standard of sailing was high and between 1968 and 1972 the Club had five National and International Champions amongst its members. These activities led to the founding of the prestigious "Hoo Freezer" which was started in 1971 by Bill Steele and has been run by the Club ever since.

The Club has grown and evolved steadily and the premises and facilities have been extended to their present level. These include about 100 deep water moorings, extensive slipways, scrubbing docks and associated facilities for the family cruisers, which now constitute the bulk of the membership.

Date Published 27th Jun 2011