Members have a range of sailing and motor yachts, from light displacement racers to traditional blue water cruisers.
At GYC we have both deep water and drying trot moorings. The drying moorings allow access three hours either side of high water and the deep water moorings are accessible at any state of the tide. None of our moorings have direct access from the shore so berth holders need to own a tender, though a trot boat is operational on club race days. We also have an all tide visitor pontoon connected to the main clubhouse that can be used by members for short periods.
The club also has a well-equipped yard with hardstanding for 20 boats and a brand new boat lift. Berth holders also have use of a workshop, engine shed, sail loft and storage lockers.
We can usually accommodate boats up to a maximum of 12 meters and ten tons. As we rely on our members volunteering for all aspects of our management and maintenance, we are able to keep the prices for moorings and yard very reasonable indeed!
The sailing area is restricted upstream by Tower Bridge but has no restrictions downstream. It is possible to sail to the Thames Estuary and beyond on a single tide.
Members who own cruisers are often in need of crew, with or without experience, and we maintain a list of these opportunities on the members portal.
The club organises yacht races about every two weeks in the summer and about every month during the winter. Racing is open to all classes under the Byron handicap system. We race locally around cans, usually downriver to Erith, Thurrock and Gravesend and even Sea Reach and around the Isle of Sheppey. See the Cruiser Calendar and our Standard Sailing Instruction for cruiser races. Skippers must also comply with COLREGS, PLA Directions for Navigation in the Port of London and check any PLA Notices to Mariners in force. We follow the Racing Rules of Sailing.
We have a friendly relationship with the other clubs on the Thames, and there are also inter-club racing events, regattas and open races at other clubs on the Thames and Medway.
Members of the club join a number of informal cruises in company over the season, such as day trips to Erith Yacht Club and back, enjoying the hospitality at Erith over lunch. Such events are very sociable as well as being excellent opportunities to gain experience on the river. The club organises an ever popular annual East Coast cruise - more detail below.
We do encourage active sailing members who will join in and participate in the club. If you live in London, and fancy a convenient place to base your boat, pay us a visit.
The club uses the Byron handicap system. The system is based on measurements taken from thousands of yachts along with race data - which is used to calculate a boats theoretical hull speed and a handicap which adjusts race finishes.
The Byron James website includes data for most yacht classes - but they also provide a calculator that works with the specific data from any particular boat. It is the responsability of the yacht owner to apply for a BJ handicap certiticate and you must re-apply if significant changes are made to the boat, such as adding a spinnaker.
The East Coast Cruise
The East Coast Cruise is an annual institution at GYC – a popular and enjoyable week long cruise in company to the Thames Estuary and beyond. Destinations migh include the Swale, Blackwater Orwell and Deben. Occassionally the cruise has taken the fleet even further afield, but sticks to a passage plan matched to the capability of the boats, skippers and crew taking part.
In recent years the itinery has included a mid week rest with hospitality from the Royal Harwich Yacht Club just upstream from Pin Mill on the Orwell. The estuary crossings are usually the longest day’s sail of the week and can be testing in strong winds but with careful passage planning and making best use of the tides we get there. Our changeable weather means plans for the week often have to change mid week to suit - but that’s part of the pleasure.
The cruise is an ideal way for those less confident in sailing further than the Thames itself to gain experience and benefit from the support of other club members and the fleet.
Individual skippers are responsible for their own passage plans and crews - but the overall itinerary, optimum start and expected arrival times are prepared by a voluntary organising committee before hand.