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The Club, in its new premises, introduced “amateur” fitted dinghy racing and was later recognized as a gentlemen’s luncheon club to include sailing, tennis, snooker and social events all rolled into one.
In 1883 H.R.H. Princess Louise, Marchioness of Lorne, and Wife of Canada’s Governor General, conferred the title “Royal” to the Club, whilst on a winter holiday. On becoming the ROYAL HAMILTON AMATEUR “DINGEY” CLUB, a white Flag, traditional style of the British Yacht Clubs of the time, was uniquely designed for the Club’s exclusive use.
William Whitney donated twenty pounds to purchase a Challenge Cup for the Club.
A silver Cup was presented to the Club by H.R.H. Princess Louise in 1887. This was to be raced to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, hence the Jubilee Cup.
In 1890 the procedure governing titles was changed and the privilege was given to reigning Monarchs only. Hence the Royal title was lost. The Membership decided to extend itself into a social Club and find a Clubhouse. In March 1890 rooms were taken over on the second floor of the house on the corner of Reid and Queen streets.
In 1896 the word Amateur was dropped and the name of Hamilton Dinghy Club held until 1953. Also, the red ensign of the Merchant service with foul gold anchor and letters HDC under the anchor, was adopted along with a corresponding Burgee.
25th September, 1899 saw a move to “Belvoir” J.E.Lightbourn’s house on Reid Street, to become “the Most Commodious Clubhouse in town”. A fire in 1916 destroyed many records.
The Championship (Jubilee) Cup Regatta was held for first time 1912.
1927 the Club purchased an imposing mansion on Church Street, Hamilton. This was opposite the site of the old Hamiltonian Hotel. Called an “Oasis in the City”, it had a front lawn with two Royal Poinciana trees. The Club became incorporated at that time.
The 1930’s were hard times. Rear property was sold and actions of staunch members saved the day.
In 1944 the Championship Cup competition was revived, thereby expanding the sport of Fitted Dinghy racing of old dinghies.
The position was investigated in 1946, and it was decided to apply to H.M. Queen Elizabeth II for her confirmation of the grant by H.R.H. Princess Louise in 1883. Confirmation was received in 1953. On Thursday, 4th June, 1953 at a ceremony at the Club premises in Hamilton, His Excellency the Governor, Lt. Gen. Sir Alexander Hood, G.B.E., (C.B.E.), K.C.B., (C.B.), K.C.V.O., officiated at the flag breaking ceremony, making this the only “Royal” dinghy club in the world.
The original flag, which is still in the Club premises, was traced to Messrs. Lanff & Neeve, 97 Leadenhall Street, London. They were bombed out during the 1939-1945 war and are now out of business. The original flag was recovered by Mr. Arthur Pitt and returned to the Club and presented by Mr. Edmund Gray to the then Commodore, the late William Frith. The new flag has been made in all respects similar to the original.
The 1927 Act altered by No. 7 of 1954 when the name was changed back from The Hamilton Dinghy Club to “The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club”.
From its origin on Reid Street, the Club moved to Church Street, and in 1964 acquired its present premises overlooking Hamilton Harbour.
In 1977, the Club became co-sponsors of a cruising race held on a biennial basis between Marion, Massachusetts and Bermuda. The arrangements between the Beverly Yacht Club, the Blue Water Sailing Club and the RHADC has proved to be a resounding success, the attraction of a cruising and family race encouraging a large number of enthusiastic participants.
In 1990 the Club carried out a major refurbishment and remodeling to its premises so continuing its status as Bermuda’s premier maritime club.
Junior and Adult Sailing now offers year round courses with a record number of Optimist sailors qualifying and competing in the IODA International Regattas.
Click here for more information on Elizabeth II.