Royal Perth Yacht Club

Coordinates: 31°59′7.39″S 115°49′27.82″E / 31.9853861°S 115.8243944°E / -31.9853861; 115.8243944
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Royal Perth Yacht Club
Short nameRPYC
LocationAustralia II Drive,
Pelican Point,
Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
CommodoreDr Janet Hornbuckle
WebsiteRoyal Perth Yacht Club

The Royal Perth Yacht Club (RPYC) is a yacht club in Perth, Western Australia.[1][2] It is the third oldest yacht club in Australia after the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.[3] It is based at the Crawley Marina on Pelican Point and at the Fremantle Annexe in Challenger Harbour.

Royal Perth Yacht Club is a member of the International Council of Yacht Clubs.

Since 2000, Royal Perth Yacht Club has hosted the Sailability WA program to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to engage in sailing activities.[4]

Early history[edit]

The original Royal Perth Yacht Club location on the right of the Perth City Baths, c. 1905

The Royal Perth Yacht Club can trace its origins to 1841, when a group of sailors staged a modest regatta to celebrate Foundation Day. A subsequent regatta was held in 1843, and then the First Perth Regatta was held on 18th June 1851. In 1865, this original group of pioneer sailors formalised the Perth Yacht Club.[5]

Early regattas at the club included yacht races and gig rowing races. Duck hunting was also popular at this time.

Map showing original location of Royal Perth Yacht Club on Perth Water near William Street

In 1865, WH Knight was elected as founding President of the Perth Yacht and Boat Club[6] and at meeting on 17th March 1870, the first sets of “Sailing Rules” [7] were framed. Royal Perth Yacht Club have an original copy of the Rule Book dated 1880 within the Club Archives. The earliest trophy, dated 1885, is displayed in the Club's Wardroom Trophy Cabinet. The first Ladies Committee to be associated with the Club was appointed by General Committee in 1885.[8] The first mention of Junior Members in Minutes from 1910 read – “Gentlemen over the age of 16 and under 21, not being the owner of a boat, may be accepted as a Junior Member”. There was no nomination fee and the annual subscription was One Guinea.[9]

In 1880, a jetty was built at the foot of William Street on Perth Water. In 1889, Talbot Hobbs submitted plans for a new Club House. The plans were drawn and the tender of two hundred and thirteen pounds was accepted. In the same year, the Governor of Western Australia, Sir Frederic Napier Broome, declared the Clubhouse open at a banquet to celebrate the occasion.[10]

In 1890, the Club received the Royal Charter from Queen Victoria[11] on the recommendation of Governor Sir Frederic Napier Broome. At a general meeting in 1891, the old blue Perth Yacht Cub burgee was replaced with white burgee, featuring a red triangular St George's Cross with a St Edward's Crown in the upper canton.[12]

In 1903, the Commissioners of the Board of Admiralty granted the Royal Perth Yacht Club a Royal Warrant for the Club and Members to fly The Plain Blue Ensign of His Majesty's Fleet.[13] The Blue Ensign was first raised at the Clubhouse by the Governor Admiral Sir Frederick Bedford KCB, on July 4th, 1903.[14]

In 1920, the clubhouse was extended and the club formed the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve in Western Australia. The club shifted to Crawley on Melville Water in 1953 when the William Street site, through siltation, became unusable.[15]

America's Cup[edit]

Australia II on display at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle.

RPYC fielded the yacht Southern Cross in the 1974 America's Cup, the first aluminium yacht to compete in the regatta, and the yacht Australia in the 1977 America's Cup and the 1980 America's Cup.

In 1983 an Australian syndicate representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club fielded the Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand, against defender Liberty, skippered by Dennis Conner. Australia II won the match races to win the America's Cup - the first winning challenge to the New York Yacht Club, which had successfully defended the cup over a period of 132 years.

Australia II innovative design by Ben Lexen, included features such as a reduced waterline length and a short chord winged keel.[16]

Prime Minister Bob Hawke was interviewed at the celebrations on the morning of September 27, 1983 at Royal Perth Yacht Club, where he made the famous statement to journalists that "Any boss who sacks a worker for not turning up today is a bum".[17]

RPYC hosted the 1987 defence off Fremantle Harbour at a newly established annex during the Australian summer months between October 1986 and February 1987.[3][18] The American challenger Stars & Stripes 87, sailed by Dennis Conner, beat the Australian defender Kookaburra III, sailed by Iain Murray, four wins to nil in the best of seven series. This regatta marked the last time that 12-metre class yachts were used in the America's Cup.

The entrance road to RPYC in Crawley was commemoratively renamed Australia II Drive. To mark the 30th anniversary of the America's Cup victory, the second mast of the Australia II was permanently installed by the foreshore outside the clubhouse from which the undefaced Blue ensign and Club burgee are flown.

View of the Crawley Marina, Royal Perth Yacht Club

Notable sailors and events[edit]

Olympic sailor Elise Rechichi

A number of sailors from RPYC have competed in the Summer Olympics and Paralympics. These include:


In 1979, the RPYC organised the 20,000 kilometre Parmelia Race from Plymouth, England to Perth in order to mark the 150th anniversary of Western Australia.[3][20] Competitors were invited to recreate the 1829 voyage of the merchant barque Parmelia bringing the first British settlers to the Swan River Colony.

Jon Sanders, AO OBE, was the first sailor to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, circling the continent twice from 1981 to 1982. Sanders is the record-holder for the longest distance ever sailed continuously by any vessel following his triple non-stop solo circumnavigation of the globe from 1986 to 1988.

RPYC hosted the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, a significant qualifying event for the 2012 Summer Olympics.


  1. ^ Riseley, Helen. (1999) Royal Perth Yacht Club. Maritime Heritage Association Journal, Vol. 10, no. 3, (Sept. 1999), p. 12-16
  2. ^ Seabrook, Jack M.(1987) Royal Perth Yacht Club history Early days (West Perth, W.A.), Vol. 9, Pt. 5 (1987), p.79-
  3. ^ a b c History & Timeline Royal Perth Yacht Club
  4. ^ "HOME - Sailability Western Australia". SportsTG. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Our History". Royal Perth Yacht Club. Royal Perth Yacht Club. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  6. ^ Uren, Malcolm. Sails on the Swan, W.A. Newspapers, 1965.
  7. ^ Uren, Malcolm. Sails on the Swan, W.A. Newspapers, 1965.
  8. ^ Uren, Malcolm. Sails on the Swan, W.A. Newspapers, 1965.
  9. ^ "Our History". Royal Perth Yacht Club. Royal Perth Yacht Club. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Our Timeline". Royal Perth Yacht Club. Royal Perth Yacht Club. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
  11. ^ "Royal Perth Yacht Club celebrates 150 years of sailing". 17 March 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Royal Perth Yacht Club". Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  13. ^ Sailing on the Swan, 150 Years of the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Western Australia. 2014.
  14. ^ Uren, Malcolm. Sails on the Swan, W.A. Newspapers, 1965.
  15. ^ Details from text of description to records collection in Battye Library
  16. ^ Anderson, Dave (5 May 1988). "SPORTS OF THE TIMES; Yachting's Crocodile Dundee (Published 1988)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  17. ^ "The story behind Bob Hawke's America's Cup Jacket". The West Australian. 9 October 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  18. ^ The RPYC Annex - Developed for Ocean-based Facility for the America's Cup - Fishing Boat Harbour Trailitem 5
  19. ^ "Our History | Royal Perth Yacht Club". Royal Perth Yacht Club. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  20. ^ Parmelia line honours to Endeavour Sydney Morning Herald 22 November 1979 page 8

Further reading[edit]

  • Uren, Malcolm (1966). Sails on the Swan: The History of the Royal Perth Yacht Club, 1865-1965. Crawley, WA: Royal Perth Yacht Club.
  • Sailing on the Swan : 150 years of the Royal Perth Yacht Club of Western Australia. Nedlands, WA: Royal Perth Yacht Club. 2014. ISBN 9780646926520.

31°59′7.39″S 115°49′27.82″E / 31.9853861°S 115.8243944°E / -31.9853861; 115.8243944