By Tony Segovia
Since 1829 the Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club has been organising sailing competitions in Gibraltar, with the Victory keelboat as the main class sailed out in the bay between May and September. Some members have also very successfully competed in other classes, such as Lasers J24, J80 and yachts. The club has for the last twenty-four years organised the Gibraltar Regatta, and for the last four years hosted one of the regattas in the Interclubs del Estrecho for cruisers.
The RGYC launched its Sailing School in May 2001. In 2004 the sailing school became a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) recognised Teaching Centre, with the aim of encouraging the development of sailing in Gibraltar. Sailing is a sport that is open to all; there is no need to be a member of the RGYC to learn. The school, initially run by volunteers, now has full-time instructor Miguel Galiano running most of the courses, and now has a good fleet of sailing dinghies, keelboats, a small yacht and powerboats. It runs a comprehensive range of RYA courses in sailing, powerboating and will shortly be introducing theoretical courses.
The RGYC has been in a state of transition since it moved from its old premises at 25 Queensway to its new location at 10 Coaling Island. The main club house was relocated in 2012, and the sailing facilities have still to date not been fully re-provided.
This summer’s Island Games Sailing Event was organised very successfully with the launching area, or slipway, completed five days before the start of the competition. The rest of the sailing infrastructure, victory sheds, crane and sailing school building will be completed in the near future.
The Island Games has been a catalyst, getting members and sailors to work together. The new world class slipway and the legacy of 10 new laser Olympic sailboats will permit sailing to grow in the future. The RGYC and Gibraltar will soon be marketed as a warm weather sailing training venue – some of the visiting islands of northern Europe were keen to sail here in winter.
Once the sailing complex is finished, the sport of sailing should flourish, providing a pay as you go sailing facility. Developing the:
- Learning of sailing and powerboating,
- Competitive sailing in different sailing classes and
- Recreational sailing.
For more information or to learn how to sail, contact Sydney Pilcher RGYC Secretary at +350 200 48847.