The Republic of Singapore Yacht Club (RSYC), the oldest yacht club in Asia, recently constructed a 5-storey vertical dry stack, a central part of its ongoing S$9 million expansion project.
After operating from its modern yacht club premises for 12 years, the RSYC decided to upgrade its services and facilities to meet the discerning needs of Singapore's upcoming new generation of boaters and marina-going club members.
The new dry stack, one of the largest of its kind in Singapore more than doubles the capacity from 110 to about 230 boats. This will be in addition to RSYC's 127 existing wet berths at the present West Coast Ferry Road location.
The 5-storey vertical dry stack will accommodate 230 boats up to 35 ft in length. It is expected that there will be high demand for dry berths among boat owners in Singapore, as they appreciate the advantages of keeping smaller size boats of below 35ft out of the water when not in use.
As well as upgrading the berthing facilities, the plan also calls for the doubling of the RSYC's accommodation from the current 32 suites and rooms, to around 60, in a four-storey adjoining new wing that will also provide members with additional facilities.
Founded in 1826, the RSYC moved to its current premises in August 1999, its third home since 1920. Its dry berths have been running at full capacity in recent years. In June 2010, the membership gave its Main Committee the mandate to expand, a plan conceived some two years ago by the RSYC Committee. Besides the two new buildings, there are also plans to upgrade the existing Clubhouse.
The RSYC has numerous advantages as both a boating and a leisure facility, such as its rich heritage as Singapore's first and original yacht club, its familyfriendly, unpretentious and relaxing ambience and its connection to 101 reciprocal clubs worldwide. It's also convenient yacht club location for boaters with its competitive fuel rates and strategic location close to popular destinations in Singapore's waters.
The Republic of Singapore Yacht Club (RSYC) is a maritime recreational society and club for yachting enthusiasts. It was established in 1826 and is the oldest recreational or social club of any theme in Singapore. It is also the first yacht club in Asia. It was known as the Royal Singapore Yacht Club till 1967, when it changed its name to the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club to coincide with the country's independence two years earlier.
The Club has its founding roots with men who were part of Sir Stamford Raffles' initial voyage to the island. William Montgomerie served as the first president of the Club from 1826. It was initially known as just the Singapore Yacht Club, but changed its name to the Royal Singapore Yacht Club in 1922 after it came under the Patronage of the then Prince of Wales and later King Edward VIII. This variation of the name remained till 1967.
Apart from the Prince of Wales, other prominent Patrons of the Club have been King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. Singapore's first President, Yusof bin Ishak, became the first local Patron of the Club in 1967 and the name of the Club was subsequently changed to reflect the shift in patronage and the independence of the country.
Singapore's former President, Ong Teng Cheong, was chosen as the club's Patron in 1997. He was the Guest-of-Honour at the Club's 174th anniversary celebrations in June 17, 2000 and opened the club's current clubhouse and marina.
His Excellency, President SR Nathan, is the current Patron of the RSYC and has been so since 2004, while Balakrishnan B. is the Commodore. The Club also has four serving Honorary Members, namely His Royal Highness Tunku Ibrahim Ismail Sultan of Johor, Rear Admiral Teo Chee Hean, Professor S. Jayakumar and Dr. Tan Cheng Bock.
In 1920, the RSYC opened its original clubhouse at Trafalgar Street in Tanjong Pagar. It was opened by His Excellency the Governor, Sir Laurence Guillemard, who was then the Governor of the Straits Settlements. He also served as the Club's Commodore from 1922 to 1927.
After independence, the Club had to relinquish its clubhouse premise location to the Port of Singapore Authority to make way for a container terminal. As a result, the RSYC, with the help of the British Army, reclaimed five acres of mangrove swamp along Sungei Pandan to build a new clubhouse. President Yusof bin Ishak officially opened the new clubhouse on October 8 1966, upon invitation from the Club.
The RSYC made a third relocation when it moved to its current premise at West Coast Ferry Road in August 1999. Its official opening ceremony was held a year later, graced by the then President Ong Teng Cheong. The state-of-the-art clubhouse, designed by Edward Wong of Alfred Wong Partnership Pte Ltd, is an award winner in its own right. In July 2001, the building was the recipient of a Singapore Institute of Architects' (SIA) Architectural Design Award in the recreational category at the 2001 SIA Architectural Design Awards. The new building was cited by the judges as the following: "The nautical theme of the Yacht Club is projected as a strong architectural statement, wellchoreographed entrance sequence to the complex, as well as the expressive roof form, the construction of which is expressed in the interior."
Despite the RSYC's legacy and motive, owning a boat is not a prerequisite to joining the club. Approximately 20 percent of club members are owners of yachts or other types of sea-faring vessels. The RSYC also functions as a regular social club with emphasis on a maritime lifestyle.
The RSYC has also been instrumental in several sea sports, both recreationally and competitively, over the decades. In 1923, famed yachting enthusiast and renowned tea merchant, Sir Thomas Lipton, of Lipton Tea brand legacy, donated the Lipton Cup to the RSYC. Since 1987, the Lipton Cup has been used as the centerpiece for the winner of the Perpetual Cup Series, a combination of three regional regattas, the Singapore Straits Regatta, Raja Muda International Regatta, and the Phuket King's Cup.
Independently, the RSYC most notably holds the annual RSYC Regatta, a premier local club yachting event open to all local clubs and marinas. The RSYC Regatta is the oldest regatta held in Singapore and traces its origins to as far back as the early 1920s. Apart from the traditional race formats, the regatta has also added the Round-the-Island Challenge and the Passage Race to Tioman to its competition schedule in recent years. The Regatta is held over a two weekend period in July.
Apart from competitive events, the RSYC is also active in organizing recreational activities and holding courses and sailing lessons for its members. It also offers short-distance trips to locations along Singapore's southern coast and offshore locations such as Pulau Pawai, Indonesia's Bintan and Batam as well as Malaysia's Tioman.
(Source: Bhaskaran Kunju)