Babbacombe Corinthian Sailing Club was founded on Saturday 22nd June 1935 at a meeting held on Oddicombe Beach attended by some twelve gentlemen. The founder officers of the club were:
President – Mr H Thomas, who held this post until his death in 1950, Commodore – Mr W Terry, affectionately known to all as “The Admiral”, Hon Secretary – Mr S W Francis, Hon Treasurer – Mr G D L White and Captain – Mr F T C Stoneman.
The Club’s headquarters were established in an old fisherman’s hut on Oddicombe Beach, the stone walls of which now form the bottom storey of the present Club House. The Club’s first race was sailed on 6th July 1935 in which six boats competed – the race being won by ‘Bumble Bee’ sailed by Mr S W Francis.
In February 1936 the Club became affiliated to the Yacht Racing Association – later to be re-named the Royal Yachting Association. The Club also was accepted as a member of the West of England Association, and became recognised as a major sailing club in Torbay. The first fleet of around a dozen racing dinghies included Snipes, Sharpies,12ft Nationals and 14ft Internationals. Races were originally run afloat from an old 37ft naval whaler, using a 12-bore shotgun as the starting signal.
Later the races were started from a new Club House on Oddicombe Beach. This Club House, still in full use today, was erected in 1937 and opened by the Mayoress of Torquay on 26th June 1937, the year of the International Coronation Regatta in Torbay. The Club held regular races up to 1939 until all activities were suspended for the war period. The beach headquarters was taken over by the Royal Air Force and Home Guard.
The Club reformed in 1945 and in 1947 adopted Redwings as its main class. The members felt that some form of winter headquarters should be provided to enable lectures to be given and social contact maintained, so in October 1947, the top Club House and licensed premises at Fore Street, St Marychurch was opened. The St Marychurch Club House used to be a sales office for locally mined marble – hence the elaborate stonemason’s crest over the main doors.
In 1948 Torbay hosted the Olympic sailing events, and the Club was proud to assist in staffing of the Olympic Race Committee and to provide hospitality to overseas competitors.
In 1950 the Redwing Nationals were hosted by BCSC, and shortly after that the Sprog class emerged as the main fleet. Many Sprog National Championships were held at Babbacombe in the following years. 1956 saw the formation of our first cadet squadron. Many owners built their own dinghies at that time, and home-made Fireballs and Moths emerged to race alongside Finns and a growing Sprog fleet which remained strong until the 1980’s.
The single-handed Laser became popular during the 1980’s until the Club adopted the Tasar as the fleet dinghy as it remains today. Tasar sailors from BCSC have represented the UK in six recent World Championships and the Club held the National Champions title in 2007.
In 1997, Babbacombe Corinthian Cadet Club was formed as part of BCSC in for sailing training purposes and has trained over 1,500 young sailors to date. Three of the Club’s instructors have earned RYA awards for their efforts in voluntary training. The club was honoured by a visit from HRH The Princess Royal in her capacity as Patron of the RYA “Sailability” scheme. The Princess Royal attended a reception for all the pupils undergoing training during the year to present RYA certificates and to thank the volunteers.
Today BCSC remains an active sailing and social club. We are proud of our history, engaged in the present and we look forward to welcoming new members to share in our future. If you are interested in joining please check out our membership page or otherwise pop in at the clubhouse for a chat. Information about leaning to dinghy sail can be found here