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Poole Yacht Club (United Kingdom)

Hamworthy and Bournemouth Yacht Club

Last modified: 2021-06-05 by rob raeside
Keywords: poole yacht club | hamworthy and bournemouth yacht club | bournemouth | fir cone | blue ensign |
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[Poole Yacht Club ensign] image by Clay Moss

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Flag of Poole Yacht Club

This flag (described as the ensign of the Hamworthy and Bournemouth Yacht Club) appears to be identical to that displayed and described in Graham Bartram's World Flag Database as the ensign of the Poole Yacht Club. The reason is explained at

The story begins back in the middle of the 19th Century when the first records can be traced. Poole Yacht Club, as it is now constituted, is really the result of three clubs all closely connected in various stages eventually becoming one Club as it is today. The original Poole Yacht Club is thought to have been founded in 1865 but was probably in existence in some form many years earlier. The centenary was actually celebrated in 1965 at Hamworthy.

In 1898 The Hamworthy Sailing Club was started and many years later in 1936 it became known as The Hamworthy and Bournemouth Sailing Club. Subsequently in 1948 it became the Poole Yacht Club having taken over the name of the original club which had become almost defunct. The old club had headquarters in Poole High Street and the last Commodore was a Commander Linklater, who was also a Member of the Hamworthy and Bournemouth Sailing Club. He offered the name and all records and trophies if the Hamworthy and Bournemouth Sailing Club would take over the name of the Poole Yacht Club in order to preserve it in perpetuity. This was agreed and the 'new' Poole Yacht Club was officially registered with Commander Norman Hibbs as Commodore................
..................One reason was to build up the total tonnage of yachts belonging to members in order to be able to apply for an Admiralty Warrant. This would give the Club the right to use the Blue Ensign which was a rare privilege amongst clubs in the U.K. The minimum Thames tonnage required was 2000 tons so it was extremely difficult to reach that figure. Only one other club locally had this distinction, the Royal Motor Yacht Club. For a while, Hamworthy and Bournemouth Sailing Club could only muster about 700 tons, a long way from the target. The Commodore had invited Tom Sopwith, that famous sailor to open the extension of the Club but he was unable to be present. The Commodore and Ken Morgan then had the brilliant idea of inviting Sopwith to accept honorary membership of the club and, being an old friend of Col. Pierce, he gladly accepted. It meant, of course, that his large yachts, including the famous Endeavour, brought the total tonnage to over the required 2000 tons.
Application was made to the Admiralty later in 1938 and the Warrant was granted.
It was undoubtedly a shock to some of the local yachting fraternity and other Clubs that the relatively small Hamworthy and Bournemouth Sailing Club should have the important Blue Ensign. The surprise and envy delighted the Commodore immensely.

The Ensign was defaced by a circle on the blue background containing the cross of the Club's burgee and a gold coloured fir cone in the centre. This fir cone represents the name 'Bournemouth' in the name. It is still our emblem but the ensign can only be flown on yachts that are registered and the owner a club member. It is also a requirement that the Ensign must be flown under the Club's burgee and only when the owner is on board or in the near vicinity. At all other times only the Red Ensign is allowed to be flown.
Peter Johnson, 31 May 2005


[Poole Yacht Club burgee] image by Clay Moss, 21 May 2007

A blue fimbriated red cross, as on the badge of the flag, but without the fir cone.
Clay Moss, 21 May 2007

The burgee of the original Poole Yacht Club, 1865 – 1948, was divided in two by a line from the centre of the burgee’s upper edge to the lower hoist corner. The triangle on the hoist side of this line contained a blue seahorse on a white background; the fly triangle was red.
I notice that the International Burgee Registry says that the club was founded 1852.
David Prothero, 12 November 2014

1939 Burgee

[Poole Yacht Club burgee] image located by Peter Edwards, 1 August 2018

Burgee: Pennant 2:3 (print image).

Red field superimposed by a blue seahorse (facing fly) on a white triangle with the apex at lower hoist and base (1.5 units wide) centred on upper fly edge.
Note: Some earlier images show a black seahorse.
Source: Lloyd’s Register of Yachts. London, 1939.
Peter Edwards, 1 August 2018

From the Lloyd’s Register of Yachts, 1866 (plate 27), the Poole is listed in the List Of Yacht Club Flags, but counter to most other entries, no club flag is shown for it.

In the 1901 edition, it's no longer in the List of Yacht Club Flags, but is moved to the List of Yacht and Sailing Club Flags, where it is shown with the 1939 burgee, but with the seahorse in black, and dating the club as Est. 1890.

The same information is repeated for 1902. For 1903, the date of establishment changed to 1873, which is repeated until 1905. In 1906, we're back at the 1865 date, which was kept until 1920. In 1921, the seahorse changes colour to blueish. In 1922 it's back to black, as it stayed until 1932. In 1933 in was blue again and stayed that way until 1939.

Starting with 1937, in the notes it lists the Hamworthy & Bournemouth Sailing Club, described as formerly being the Hamworthy Sailing Club, and being established in 1898. [Hamworthy is just on the other side of the Poole Lifting Bridge.]

After the war, in the 1946 supplement, there's an additions listing for the Hamworthy & Bournemouth Sailing Club. In 1947, in the first post-war complete volume, the Poole Yacht Club is no longer listed. However, there is an entry for the Hamworthy & Bournemouth Sailing Club, showing much the same as the current entry of the Poole, just with the emblem in the lower fly. The same for 1948.

In 1949, the index shows: Hamworthy & Bournemouth Sailing Club (now Poole Y.C.). Indeed in the listing is the entry Poole Yacht Club (Incorporating Hamworthy & Bournemouth Sailing Club.) Est. 1865. The entry for Hamworthy & Bournemouth Sailing Club still shows the same flags. In 1950, the listing is for Poole Yacht Club (Formerly Hamworthy & Bournemouth Sailing Club.) The flags are now for the Poole Yacht Club. This repeats until 1957. In 1858 its title became "The Poole Yacht Club, but otherwise the entry remained the same until 1960. Likewise, for the flag booklets after 1960. If the ensign was ever changed to raise the badge, it happened after the final 1971 booklet.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 May 2021

1865 Burgee

[Poole Yacht Club burgee] image located by Peter Edwards, 1 August 2018

Estb: 1865. Location: Poole. Dorset.
Burgee: Pennant 2.5: 4 (print image). Blue field superimposed by the shield of the then (black on yellow) heraldic arms of the city of Poole.
Source: Lloyd’s Register of Yachts. London, 1895.
"The Coat of arms of Poole were first recorded by Clarenceux King of Arms during the heraldic visitation of Dorset in 1563. . . The arms were confirmed by the College of Arms on 19 June 1948, [below] with colours officially recorded for the first time.”
Source: accessed 31 July 2018:
Peter Edwards, 1 August 2018