connection with a weeklong event sponsored by the
British Marine Federation, PMY senior editor
Capt. Bill Pike recently spent a few days at the Royal
London Yacht Club in Cowes on England's Isle of Wight.
Upon checking in for his stay, Pike bumped up against
a rather large and formidable doorstop-a cannon (see
top photo) with a plate affixed proclaiming said cannon
to be the former property of one Lord Nelson, the
famous Brit who was killed during the Battle of Trafalgar.
"Is that thing authentic?" Pike exclaimed, a question
that promptly elicited a hearty affirmative from the
commodore, as well as the information that the Royal
London Yacht Club has been in existence since 1838.
Thenceforth, while snoozing in his upstairs room,
Pike was wont to wonder what prestigious personages
might have previously snoozed in the very same spot?
The Duke of Edinburgh? Winston Churchill? John Lennon?
and tradition aren't the only things the Royal London
Yacht Club has going for it, however. While Pike found
the rooms and public spaces to be both atmospheric
and comfy, he came across some fun-loving aspects
here and there. For example, there were the three
small cannons that are used to start maritime racing
events on the Solent. When a few years ago, the townsfolk
of Cowes began complaining about the loudness of the
cannons, James Grazebrook (see middle photo), British
Marine Federation president and managing director
of Halyard Limited-the company that manufactures exhaust
systems for powerboat builders like Sunseeker, Fairline,
and Princess-was called in for a consultation. Halyard
subsequently designed a system of sound deflectors
on the roof of the yacht club into which the starting
guns could be fired. This system of deflectors "more
keenly and usefully directs the noise of the guns
offshore," Grazebrook told Pike, while showing him
a few of the cannons on the roof. "And this has quite
nicely solved the problem, you see. No towns folk
keeling over from fright and that sort of thing on
second fun feature of the club was the wheelhouse-like
Observation Room (see bottom photo) at its very top.
Pike spent a few moments there, imagining himself
back working aboard ships, a pleasant interlude enhanced
not only by the presence of a numerous items of nautical
paraphernalia, but also by the view of the Solent
and the ferries that traverse Cowes Harbor.
This article originally appeared in the July 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.