Despite high winds and atrocious conditions at sea, with all racing cancelled, and all Red Jet ferries to Southampton suspended, the annual Royal Yacht Squadron Cowes Week Ball took place at The Castle on Cowes seafront. It is always a very enjoyable and glamorous occasion, with Members and their guests catching up with friends and fellow sailors.
The Royal Yacht Squadron, founded as The Squadron in 1815, at the Thatched House Tavern in London St James's, is one of the most prestigious and exclusive yacht clubs in the world. Membership in 1815 required a gentleman to own a yacht of more than ten tons, nowadays the requisite is 'a gentleman or lady interested in salt-water yachting'. The first Commodore, the Earl of Yarborough, welcomed the Prince Regent in 1817, and in 1820 on becoming George IV, Royal was added to The Yacht Squadron.
The Club's association with the Navy began early, and Trafalgar's Admiral Sir Thomas Hardy, was one of the first Royal Navy members. In 1826 the Squadron organised the principal race at the Cowes Regatta. After World War II the ladies arrived, and the brass hot-water cans dating from 1539 in the Castle's bedrooms, were replaced with basins.
The Royal Yacht Squadron Patron the Queen, and former Squadron Commodore and keen sailor Prince Philip, continue to take an active interest in the Club. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge participated this year in the King's Cup, sailing off Cowes as a starter to Cowes Week, in aid of charities, including Child Bereavement UK, Centrepoint, Action on Addiction, Place2Be and Tusk. They hope that this trophy will be revived as an annual event.