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Hound Local History Society - Hamble River Sailing Club

At our January meeting Ian Underdown gave an illustrated talk on ‘Hamble River Sailing Club 1919-2019’. We heard that in the summer of 1919 nine men met on Hamble Village Green and agreed to form a sailing club ‘to encourage the racing of small yachts and boats’. Seven boats were in the first ever race on August 12th and weekly meetings were held until the end of the season. Famous sailor and author Captain Basil Lubbock MC was elected as Commodore, with Bert Luke as Hon Treasurer and Rev EV Roe as Hon Treasurer. The club’s HQ and meeting place was the Bugle Inn, with a wooden hut in the Bugle’s garden to store flags and equipment as well as sheltering race officials. Racing was held under Yacht Racing Association [RYA] rules, on a handicap basis with each boat having an identifying number.

By the end of the 1920 the club had 70 members and 294 boats had taken part in 22 Saturday races. Throughout the 1930s racing and club membership increased; the annual regatta grew into a big event with boats coming from all over the Solent, with most Hamble village residents involved in aquatic and shore events. During WW2 club activities were cancelled and public access to the Hamble River was restricted. The foreshore off the club had been filled with rubble from bomb damaged Southampton and became a car park. As time went on club racing changed, with more dinghies but fewer keelboats racing. By 1949 there had been a large increase in membership and the Firefly dinghy, built by Fairey Marine at Hamble Point, was regularly raced at the club.

The 21-year lease with the Bugle expired in 1949 and land was leased from the new owner of Mere House, Charles Nicholson, for a new clubhouse by the top of the Ferry Hard, for 1,000 years at one shilling per year. Over subsequent years the clubhouse has been enlarged and rebuilt; with the 1988 Improvement Scheme resulting in the existing layout of quay wall, walkway and dinghy park, HRSC members have the advantage of being able to sail at all states of the tide. Local waters provide a wide range of conditions: tides, rough and smooth water, confined room in which to manoeuvre, wind shifts and plenty of competition and variety of racing class - all result in experienced, versatile and successful sailors. Today HRSC has over 650 members and is one of the countries most successful sailing clubs. May it continue for the next 100 years!

The above was extracted from Ian Underdown’s talk and illustrated booklet ‘100 Years of Hamble River Sailing Club 1919-2019’ [£3 at Coronation Parade Post Office].

Upcoming talks (when restarted) will be about the story of New Zealander Private Thomas Hargreaves who died aged 22 in 1919 and is buried in Hound Cemetery. Later in the year we hope to hear from Stephen Hoadley about the Local Story of the Spitfire.

Talks are normally held every two months at 7.30pm on the last Friday of the month in St Edwards Church Hall, Netley Abbey. There is ample parking on site, and visitors and guests are welcome at £3 each. The History Room at Netley Station opens free of charge on the last Saturday of the month from 10am-2pm.

Margaret Lowe, Secretary, Hound LHS [023 8045 6996].

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