The Royal Yacht Squadron’s (RYS) in uential and pioneering history began in St. James’s, London, in 1815, when a group of like-minded owners of big yachts created the Yacht Club. Its association with British royalty began with George IV, who joined the club in 1817, when Prince Regent. On his coronation in 1820 “Royal” was added to the club’s name, and then in 1833 the club became the Royal Yacht Squadron by command of King William IV. The connection continues today with Queen Elizabeth II as patron. Prince Philip, a keen yachtsman and a former Commodore, is the Squadron’s Admiral. In 1826, the RYS took to organizing regular racing from its nautical base at Cowes.
By the 1830s it had created the rst ocean race, and, in the 1840s, the rst American member was admitted. In 1851, a race around the Isle of Wight for a Cup of One Hundred Sovereigns (£100) was opened to for- eign yachts. Known in the US as the Hundred Guinea Cup, the trophy was won by the New York Yacht Club’s yacht America and has since become the America’s Cup, one of the most renowned prizes in the sport. The Royal Yacht Squadron became Rolex’s second partner in yachting after the NYYC, in the 1980s. The Squadron is an exclusive, but active club. Its clubhouse since 1858, The Castle in Cowes, is a familiar sight for those approaching by sea, and a backdrop for the start of many of the world’s greatest yacht races, including the Rolex Fastnet Race.
LOCATED Cowes, Isle of Wight (UK)
ROLEX PARTNERSHIP since the 1980s